How do I increase my chicken's protein?

misidawnrn

In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 19, 2011
33
0
37
My chickens are apparantly picking each other's tail feathers due to low protein. I thought it was molting. Someone on here suggested mites which I checked for and they are all clear. So that leaves picking. How do I increase their intake so they quit that picking? Thanks!
 

DebHinman

Hatching
9 Years
Jul 12, 2010
5
0
6
Northern California
I increase the protein content in my hens' feed during the winter and particularly after molting, since feathers are principally comprised of a protein called keratin. I mix game bird food 1:1 with my laying crumbles. The game bird food has more protein than laying rations, so when mixed, you get an increase in overall protein content without overloading on protein. Also, I save eggs throughout the year and hard-boil them and mash them up, shell and all and freeze them for future use. When the girls need extra protein, I thaw a large bag and mix with raw oatmeal and some flax oil. They love it and it gives them extra nutrition in addition to their daily scratch and layer crumble. I also increase protein in the hens' diet when I plan to incubate eggs for hatching.
 

kari_dawn

Songster
10 Years
Nov 2, 2009
2,402
65
246
North Texas
there are lots of ways to increase protien...people raise mealworms, feed animal protiens, feed foods like black oil sunflower seeds, game bird feed also has more protien. That may help too. Oh! Mine love scrambled eggs and boiled eggs mashed up!
 

vclark321

Chirping
8 Years
Jul 30, 2011
204
5
91
Bonney Lake
I have given my gals wet cat food, beans and rice, mealworms, and scrambled eggs to name a few. There are some really great suggestions in this thread and I plan on trying a few myself. I currently have a mealworm farm about 2/3 of the way to producing more mealies. The girls just love the mealies!
 

Chris09

Circle (M) Ranch
10 Years
Jun 1, 2009
10,999
523
328
Ohio
My chickens are apparantly picking each other's tail feathers due to low protein. I thought it was molting. Someone on here suggested mites which I checked for and they are all clear. So that leaves picking. How do I increase their intake so they quit that picking? Thanks!
Did you dust your bird or just check for mite also what type of feed are you feeding?

If you just checked and didn't dust I would dust them anyways, some mites can be hard to see.
Also check and see if your feed contains animal protein, a lot of people have problems with feather picking/eating when there birds are feed a vegetarian based feed.

Chris
 

misidawnrn

In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 19, 2011
33
0
37
I feed them approximately an equal mix of layer crumbles, hard winter wheat from our farm and scratch grains (the scratch grains because it is winter and cold and I thought they need extra corn for heat). They also get table scraps about every other day or so. I picked through their feathers at night with a flash light and also rubbed the bottom of their roosts with a white towel like I read to do to find blood...nothing. I think it is a picker. They are molting because they all look like the have new feathers growing in but some of them have very bald butts. Thanks for the suggestions. I will try that.
 

Smiles-N-Sunshine

Songster
11 Years
Oct 19, 2008
797
18
158
Palominas, Arizona
My thought is to reduce the amount of scratch grains. Scratch is maybe 8% protein, so if they fill up on that, they won't eat as much higher-protein layer pellets. I think I've read that scratch grains should be no more than 10% of the diet, but I can't swear it. (We give about two cups at the end of the day for 20 chickens and 5 turkeys.)
 

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