how much is to much?


12 Years
Aug 21, 2009
Belding Michigan
Protein, can you give a feed that has too much protein? and what is to much protein? I can get a grain feed from my grainery it is a duck, game feed and has 28% protein and she thought that was to much for hens. I wanted to try it this fall and winter when bugs are scares . is there a reason hens should not have hight protein?
You will get a lot of people on here that disagree with me, but I don't feed high protein because the chickens don't need it. They have different amounts they need depending on what is going on in their lives. A fully grown rooster does not need a lot of protein unless he is molting and growing new feathers. You'll notice that roosters don't eat nearly as much as a hen that is laying eggs. A hen that is laying eggs is losing about 2% to 3% of her body weight every time she lays an egg, so she needs a certain amount of protein. And when a hen is not laying but is molting she needs enough to grow new feathers.

We always talk about percent protein in the feed. That's about all we can go by, but it is not really about percent protein, it is how much actual protein do they eat in a day. The research has shown that if all they eat is their Layer feed, then 16% protein in the Layer will give them about the right total volume of protein so they can lay eggs. It works for growing new feathers when they are molting. If you feed them other stuff that is high in protein, say boiled egg yolks, then the 16% layer may give them more than they need. If you feed them a lot of stuff low in protein like scratch, then the 16% layer may not give them enough protein.

If they eat a whole lot of protein, the eggs may be a little bigger. If they don't get enough protein the eggs may be a little smaller. The commercial operations have determined that the 16% (if it is all they are eating) is the best amount to get the large size eggs which is the size they get the most money for.

Back to your basic question. Their body can only use so much protein a day. It is not a firm fixed number but their liver has to work to clean any excess protein out of their body. I don't see a good reason to feed them so much protein that their liver has to work overtime to clean it out. Why flirt with causing liver damage?

As I said, my opinion only. There are plenty of people on here that stuff as much protein as they can down their chickens. I choose a more balanced diet for mine.
Thanks ridgerunner I am hoping to get the the grainery today, I just read a thread on wheat don't know what all to mix but there mix is too high in protein then. Your thoughts make since.
While Ridgerunner certainly has a point, commercial operations use 16%, because it is the cheapest amount of protein that will give them the large eggs. Many of us like to feed healthy treats of lower protein, so we feed a higher protein feed. I try to feed 18-20%, because I feed lower protein treats like greens & such. Just mixed my whole grain feed yesterday & the protein should be between 17.5 & 18.5%. I will be mixing with their no soy mash for the next few weeks & then it's whole grain full time.
Feeding too high protein really isnt good for your birds... I feed a 15% from a good feed.... Keep in mind that feeding protein isnt the only thing. I was feeding and 18% but the feed was horrible, I switched to a different brand and by far a better feed.

28% protien really is too much. Try to stay between 15% and 20% and make sure its a good quality feed. Your birds will do better on it.

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