Feeding Meat Birds 18% layer mash


In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 20, 2010
The kind lady at our local feed mill told me that she feeds her meaties on 18% layer mash and reports that they grew very well. I'd much rather patronize the local mill than TSC, and the $13.00/100 lb price tag is nice as well. Has anyone else tried this?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Aug 15, 2009
im feeding my meaties the same,from 8wks till now.They are 12-13 weeks and doing great,havnt lost one of only seven,but they get to run round with the brown shavers I have.
The meat birds are called "Cobbs" here in new zealand,and most growers are contracted to KFC.
I have noticed they seem less intrested in the feed when I break it out,cause when I throw out some 28% stuff they go into chicken overdrive!!!


In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 20, 2010
Thanks for the thoughts. I'm not too worried about feeding a week or two longer to compensate for the protein, though I was a little worried about the calcium in the layer mash but we'll see... If the experiment works out I'll be able to support the local feed store and 100 lbs/$13.00 is doing well.

Kiwi, the "Cobbs" sound more akin to the freedom rangers some folks raise on these boards. I wonder what they are exactly, because they sound more like real chickens than the cornish X's we raise for our KFC restaurants.


10 Years
Nov 10, 2009
West/Central IL
I'm feeding 17% grower to mine , and only what they eat in about 6 hours , to slow growth for a breeding project . I add a vitamin mix to their water and give them wild lettuce , dandelions , grass , etc. to browse on . They appear to be quite healthy but naturally a little smaller than if fed on 21% on a 12/12 schedule . I'm not sure how the extra calcium in your mix will affect the CX , but perhaps their heavy bone structure will absorb it .
The meat birds are called "Cobbs" here in new zealand

Cobb developed some of the CX strains here in the U.S. and they were marketed as White Rocks initially [ not to be confused with White Plymouth Rocks though they were used in developement of the hybrids ] . I believe Tyson Foods now owns Cobb , Ross , Vantress , Avian , Hybro , Arbor and probably more .​


10 Years
Oct 18, 2009
Google layer feed formulation and read about layer feeds then Google broiler feed formulation. There is are BIG differences that make a world of difference in the health and proper growth of broilers.

I have 5 children that are PhD holders in different fields of Veterinary Medicines and Nutritional health, and both my Spouse and I have PhDs in Biochemistry specializing in nutrition. We have developed a broiler blend that when feed as instructed produces 7-8 pound (live weight) cornish x in 5 weeks. If you’re into the “game hen” we process cornish x at less than 2 weeks of age. Can’t do that on layer!

There are so many advances in broiler feeds nearly on yearly basics. They are now replacing many of the old additives (of which most are left over’s from processed human foods) and now are using additives that are specifically formulated to provide consistent levels of enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics, Co Q-10, boron…the list goes on and on.

If you use that layer be aware that you many be setting your birds up for future problems.

Here is a link that elaborates about the most important supplement in broiler feeds today. It prevents many common problems in the cornish x.


There is a liquid form of this that can be added to drinking water each day for the first 2-3 weeks—it is worth the extra cost in weight gain and faster development. Here is a link for it. Only ¼ teaspoon (one eye droper--provided) a day in their drinking water (an amount of water they will drink up in a day) will fulfill the daily need for 40 cornish x. Again, you will be amazed.



In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 13, 2009
middle TN
We had a lot of flooding where I live, and roads were wiped out. Where I usually go for feed now takes about 3 times as long to get there due to detours. So my last batch of Cornish X was fed different than last years due to feed store limitations. I started them on 20% chick starter / grower. All I could get was medicated. The last 2 weeks I switched to an unmediated 16 % layer ration. I also added a little corn as I like the extra fat, and threw in some sunflower seeds. I did use vitamin and electrolyte supplements in their water as well. While these birds didn't grow quite as fast as what I had in the past, they were not that far behind. They were also more active and free ranged better. My total weights were more varied and not as consistent as before, but not by a lot. Most were in the 4.5 to 5.5 lb dressed weight, with a few higher and lower. I processed at 7 weeks. I had 33 birds and no losses. All but 4 were roosters.

the simple life

11 Years
May 2, 2008
Weymouth, Massachusetts
That is still better than 18, I have never seen 18 percent recommended anywhere for raising meatbirds.
The op is asking if anyone has ever done the 18 percent for the duration and so far no one has.
They may do "well" but take alot longer to grow out or never really fill out like they should.
Like the poster that said he fed a lower protein but had to supplement with corn and sunflower seeds to get them to weight.
I imagine that would be needed if someone kept them on the 18 percent for the entire time.
I start all of mine on the higher protein game bird feed before lowering it to the fat and finish or a similar broiler feed and have had excellent results.
The one time I started and finished them on the lower protein because I got a good deal at the mill I did not have great results, they took longer and did not get as big even though I had them go a couple of extra weeks to make it worth my while to process them.
They also had leg problems which I never had in all the others. I felt like their needs were not met with the lower protein.
I am not saying you can't raise meatbirds on other types of feed but I wouldn't expect them to do as well in the same time frame as the hatcheries give you for growing them out.
I guess it also depends on what your expectations are, I would be disappointed if I got anything less than 6 pounds for a finished bird and prefer 8lbs. and I don't want to have to go to 12 weeks to get that.
There is a good reason the broiler feed was designed for them and the layer feed was designed for layers.
They have different nutritional requirements thus different feeds to meet their needs.
You could try the 18 since its available to you and see how they are doing, there are plenty of comparison charts online to use as a guideline. If they are not thriving then you could switch them to a higher protein or at least supplement them.

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