gamefowl feed instead of grower feed for chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by asteria01, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. asteria01

    asteria01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My mom went to the feed store today looking for grower feed, and the feed store employee gave her gamefowl feed instead, saying that it works as grower feed for chickens, and that their customers get that as grower feed.... it didnt sound quite right to me, and so my mom went back again to check and clarify if that is the right feed. We got a response "well i work here everyday so i know thats right" .... Ive always gotten grower feed for our pullets and never gotten gamefowl feed. It just sounded wierd to me that they would give us gamefowl feed instead since theres grower feed specifically formulated for chickens... Anyways, just wanted to check if its okay or not before we rip open the 50 pound bag.. [​IMG]
     
  2. CalgaryFarmer

    CalgaryFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    That is what I feed my young chickens. If they are still chicks then you may want something different.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Personally I’d return it and get the grower, depending on the age of your chicks.

    We all do a lot of different things and there are differences in how you feed meat birds and chicks that will become a laying flock. I think yours will be a laying flock so I’ll go that route.

    The basic difference in these feeds is percent protein. That can vary by brand but I’ll give some neighborhoods. Any of these could be a bit higher or lower. Layer is different because it has higher calcium.

    Starter = 20% protein
    Gamebird Starter = 24% protein
    Grower = 16% protein
    Finisher/Developer = 15% protein.

    A standard method of feeding chicks that will become layers is to start them off with a pretty high-powered feed, Starter, the first few weeks, generally at least four weeks but keep feeding it until the bag is empty. No need to waste it. That protein rich feed gets them off to a good start and helps them feather out faster. But after they are feathered out they don’t need as much protein, that’s where Grower comes in. It should be less expensive and it slows their growth rate to a level where the skeleton development and organ maturity is better matched to actual growth. After about 13 weeks some people even switch to a Finisher/Developer to even further slow growth so the skeleton and organ maturity can keep up.

    They don’t need the higher protein but you can feed it if you wish. I have no problem feeding them the 24% for the first few weeks, especially when I’m raising turkey’s with them. They grow fast and feather out really well. But after that I limit it to a maximum of 20% protein, going lower if I don’t have turkeys with them. If you are raising a flock that is mixed where some are going to be layers and some will be for meat, feeding everyone a 20% protein feed is pretty standard. I know I’m making it sound bad to feed higher protein feed but as long as you don’t go above 20% long-term it’s fine. Their development can keep up with their growth.

    There are a few “if’s” involved. If you have the commercial egg laying hybrids which some of the red sex links are (not all but some), they will grow really fast and start laying pretty young on a higher protein feed. They lay some really big eggs to start with and have a fairly small body. A lot of what they eat goes to egg production. The commercial operations want to delay them starting laying a bit so their body can mature before they start to lay. They get larger eggs which are more valuable that way plus they avoid some potential health problems if their bodies aren’t quite ready to lay.

    Those hybrids are fine-tuned to be egg producing machines. Many of our dual purpose and other chickens are not. They generally have larger bodies relative to the number and size of eggs they lay and with their larger bodies they need more protein to maintain that extra body weight. They don’t need the higher protein feeds but they can handle it.

    Another “if” is how they are fed. If yours free range or forage for a lot of their food, what you feed them is less important. They will balance out the higher proteins in the feed by eating lower protein forage. Or if you feed them lower protein treats that reduces the amount of overall protein they eat. It’s not how much protein is in one bite. It’s the total grams of protein they eat all day, and even that is not just one day. It is how much protein they eat over a period of days.

    You can feed that higher 24% protein feed if you wish. They will grow faster and overall bigger. From the studies I’ve found you’d have to get in the 28% to 30% protein range before you start hurting growing chicks’ or adult hens’ internal organs. I just don’t need larger birds that will require more feed throughout their life to maintain that larger body. For some people having larger birds is important.
     
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  4. CalgaryFarmer

    CalgaryFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
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  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Strange, it won’t let me quote your entire post. Anyway cut and paste works.

    Who were these specs developed for? The commercial operations whose primary concern is profit, not just the cost side. As anyone who deals with animals for a profit knows sick underfed animals do not produce very well. I do not treat my chickens the same as the commercial operations in many ways, but I do not assume they are keeping their animals poorly fed. That would not be profitable. They have developed a feeding regimen that keeps their flocks healthy and productive while watching the cost side. They’ve also developed specific feeding techniques we don’t use.

    The big commercial laying operations use hybrid pullets as specialized in converting feed into eggs as the hybrid broilers are specialized in converting feed to meat. You can cause problems in broilers by overfeeding them. You can cause problems in the highly specialized hybrid layers by overfeeding them. That’s why I specifically mentioned the commercial operations and their chickens in my other post. Just because our chickens can generally handle more protein does not mean theirs can.

    But too much of a good thing is often not a good thing. You might want to read up on avian gout, caused by too much protein in chickens. Excess protein has been shown to cause a hen to release more than one yolk a day to form an egg. If those yolks are released at the same time you might get a huge double yolked egg. If they are released separately you might get a deformed egg since two eggs have to share the shell gland at the same time. Often there is not enough shell material in the shell gland for two eggs in one day so the second egg is soft-shelled or very thin-shelled. Those eggs can easily be broken in the nest.

    Higher protein levels mean the eggs will be bigger. Nice, right? My wife gave natural birth to a 10-1/2 pound baby. She also had two at other times that were in the 8 pound range. She admitted the process was a little easier with the smaller babies. Increase in egg size due to higher protein foods may not be that dramatic but I avoid feeding in the really high protein levels and mine forage for a fair amount of their food. I’ve never had one of my hatchery hens or hens bred from them prolapse, internal lay, or become egg bound. Coincidence? If you want to think so.

    We all do things differently. We have different goals and different management techniques. I personally choose to not feed high levels of protein to my flock for my own reasons, except for young chicks. A lot of people do it and are very happy with the results.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
  6. asteria01

    asteria01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our birds are point of lay pullets. They are mostly grown at this point. What would u guys reccomend?
     
  7. CalgaryFarmer

    CalgaryFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ridgerunner, I do not know how to respond other than to suggest that you do a search engine search on 'battery hens' including images and ask youself if people that keep chickens in that manner are interested in anything other than doing the bear minimum to keep their chickens alive while producing the most eggs possible for the least cost possible.
     
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Game fowl or BIRD is usually a PHEASANT or QUAIL of some kind, and not a chicken, not even a game chicken.

    Game fowl, and game birds in other words are generally not the same species as domestic chickens. There has always been a lot of confusion about that. Unfortunately many people who work in farm stores today have to be trained NOT to say, "Would you like fries with your order of chicken feed?"

    In the past I have fed Game Bird Feed to game chickens as PART of their normal ration. Usually during the molt when a little extra protein was called for.

    Excess protein in chicken food, (anything over about 18% - 20% is eliminated in the birds droppings. (Cornish X or meat birds are not an exception) This is why on a hot and humid afternoon a broiler feeding operation has a distinct odor as the Nitrogen in the birds feces is converted into Ammonia.

    I doubt that there will be enough chickens eating out of a 50 pound bag of Game Fowl food to produce enough ammonia to harm your birds but in a concentrated feeding operation there is the likely hood that there is enough Ammonia in the broiler litter to cause lung and other respiratory system damage, even t death.

    I am with Ridgerunner on this one because he is spot on, Dead layers and deceased broiler-fryers don't lay many eggs, produce many chicken fingers, or keep the bank and tax collector from auctioning your home, your furniture, and your wife's clothes off to the highest bidder on the court house lawn.

    It is my firm opinion that everyone should be forced to earn their sole income by farming for 5 years before they can peruse any other line of work or attend college. Then I think that we will see a more mature discussion about farming.
     
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  9. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    Point of lay? They're plenty ready for adult feed. Pullets should be switched to a layer feed at 16-18 weeks of age.
     
  10. asteria01

    asteria01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I see. Its just Ive heard that they should be kept on grower until they lay their first egg. but i guess they are pretty close anyways. Probably within 1-2 months they should start laying. Thanks!
     

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