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How much protein and carbs is too much?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by snikrs11, May 4, 2017.

  1. snikrs11

    snikrs11 Just Hatched

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    Morning,
    I hope whoever is reading this is having a good day so far. I am a two week old chicken mumma to six 1 and 2 year old Barred Rocks and I just love them (pic below). As of right now I only have them in the run, I would like to have them free range when I'm outside/home but am scared.

    So I have a couple questions.

    1. I am wondering how much is too much protein and carbs? They have layer pellets daily and each day I give them a different human food (prior owner rarely gave them any [​IMG])

    a. Protein - they have had plain yogurt, canned salmon, canned tuna, and canned sardines (all in water). Should they have something like this each day? Should I do this 2 or 3 times a week? I don't want to give them too much but not too little either.
    b. Carbs - I have given them softened Wheaties, 100% whole grain bread, cooked rice and whole wheat pasta. Should they have something like this each day? Should I do this 2 or 3 times a week? I don't want to give them too much but not too little either.


    2. Free Ranging - We have a very open field with a pond and I know we have many different types of predators (fox, hawks, porcupines, neighbors dogs) this is why I want to be outside with them. After these two weeks with them they know me and are not scared anymore. I think they like me and know my voice, plus I give them goodies everyday.
    a. How do I know they'll come back to the coop?
    b. How did you start free ranging?


    Thank you and have a good day!

    This I about 3/4 of the field I think they'll roam in. Their house is just to the left of the overgrown garden.
    [​IMG]

    This is the first night we brought them home. New mumma and daddy gave them strawberries :)

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome! Chickens are fun and entertaining, and fresh eggs are great. Layer feed is usually 16% protein, and totally balanced for laying hens, with nothing added. I feed Flock Raiser, 20% protein, and have oyster shell in a separate dish, and few extras, and the flock free ranges nearly every day. I think you are overdoing the extra stuff,; consider anything else as treats, and bread and pasta will lower the protein % in their diet, and why canned fish? Now that they know where home is, you could start them ranging. Over time, free ranging chickens do meet predators; it's always a risk. Worse case, all dead in one day. On the other hand, chickens having fun foraging on their own. Electric poultry netting (see premier1supplies.com) is great for land predators; look it up. I would keep them away from pond edges no matter what, and have shade and hiding places for them when they are out. Mary
     
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  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    New to coop birds should be kept contained in run or coop for three or more days so they consider it home. After that they will always come back to coop in evening and wont stray too far away until they are very accustomed to their surroundings. If they are in a run you likely will have to pick them up at dusk and place in coop for night. Always close coop door every night to keep out predators. It can take a week for all of them to go into coop on their own each evening. Your mileage will vary as bird behavior is individual bird specific. Everything is in generality as each bird has it's own way of doing things and can take longer to adjust then others.

    Feed: You don't need to give them anything other than the feed purchased at store. Free ranging is great and will give you bright yolk color and even turn them orange. Kitchen scraps are great. There is no need to supply anything else. Wheaties is vitamins and wheat. Not at all more beneficial than the feed your supplying and not worth the costs or trouble. Feeding fish is fine but again, not needed and certainly not at the cost of sardines and salmon unless your a commercial fisherman. Don't underestimate the quality of feed your purchasing for them.

    Layer feed is for actively laying birds. If these birds have yet to start laying, did you mention age?, then a grower or non medicated starter is better for them. Even if they are laying you can feed any poultry feed to them as long as you supplement a calcium source. Many of us feed non layer blends and supply oyster shell in a side dish for the laying birds to take at their own discretion. My thought on layer feed is it's usually too low in protein. I've seen some as low as 15%. That's a bare minimum and if feeding scratch or breads as treats will be even lower protein intake. My preference for this reason and more is to supply 18% protein feed as a minimum. There are layer feeds that high. Non layer feeds range 18-22% and even more. If you decide to go the route of oyster shells on the side then pick a feed your local store sells a lot of so it's fresh and go with it. I use 20% protein and would use 22% if it was available to me.

    With oyster shell supplied separately for layers to eat we use non medicated starter when we need crumble form for young birds. Entire flock is on same feed. When the youngest birds are large enough, around 10-12 weeks, we move entire flock over to turkey gamebird finisher as it's in pellet form and have less waste using that form. Both feeds are 20% protein.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree with Folly's Place. Too many additions. The layer feed (if they're laying eggs) is a complete feed nutritionally so they don't NEED anything else.
    As nutritious as that fish is, anything you add will alter the perfect balance that is in the feed. Most fish is around 60% protein. A bit occasionally is OK but not on a regular basis.
    I'd especially lay off the cereal, bread, pasta and rice. The feed has the appropriate amount of energy. Those carbs are very low in protein. Most are about 8%. Worse yet, that 8% is crude protein and not a complete array of amino acids. Likely deficient in lysine and methionine. They are likely too high in salt and sugar. Second ingredient in Wheaties is sugar, third is salt and fourth is corn syrup. Not good.
    100+ years of poultry nutrition research has identified the correct ratios of amino acids and other nutrients.

    I tend to disagree with others on protein level. The difference between 16% and 20/22% is huge. 16% is adequate for laying and if breeding birds, I go up to about 17 or 18%. More than that unless they're molting is excessive, processed by the liver and excreted in the feces, contributing to ammonia in the bedding.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2017
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  5. PattyAnnie

    PattyAnnie Out Of The Brooder

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    It looks like they have a very nice home:) Ditto what was said about food above. I also feed some leftovers from the kitchen. One thing I learned if you feed them too many treats they can get spoiled real quick.

    I try to let mine free range every day. They have a couple acres fenced off. They come back to their coops/pens at night and they learn that pretty quick. They follow each other. We have an automatic light in the larger coop and they know to go inside and roost at 7:30. They will come back to their coop because that is where the food and water is. We do keep water outside their area but keep it closer their pens so they know that is where to go.

    Mine follow me around and they will come if I call them, "teep, teep, teep when I have food for them." It is helpful if you can get them to come to you or follow you.

    We lock up coops and pen by 8 p.m. to protect them from predators.

    They need a good amount of light for laying and letting them out early in the morning helps so they get lots of sun. You just have to be careful not to do it before the sun comes up because of predators. Predators can go over even very tall fences.

    Good luck!
     
  6. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    You might want to look at some of the research that @ozexpat did. From what I remember he determined that for adult chickens, protein content above 16% just contributed to a higher ammonia content in the waste.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2017
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  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I'll take a look at that link but my point on protein and feed is 15% is a minimum and if people are liberal with treats that are low in protein it's much less of a daily/weekly intake of 15%. How much scratch, bread and the like is given is a large variable.

    Reading what ozeopat does and I assume is part of what your referencing: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/961881/informal-survey-what-do-you-feed-and-why

    Note they do not feed any scratch or other foods other than the self mixed feed. And in that the target protein is 20% for chicks, 18% for growing birds and 16% protein for layers. This sounds perfect to me and is right in line of what I was saying. 15% is a minimum for layers and a person usually feeds treats that lower total intake.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2017
  8. R2elk

    R2elk Overrun With Chickens

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    The problem is more with the quality of the feed. There are many more things that get left out of the cheap 15% and lower protein feeds that make them worse than what the protein level is.

    The treats are a real problem. So many of the treats have a high fat content that is really harmful to poultry.

    All treats together should never exceed 10% of the total diet. Among other things, high fat treats can cause fatty ovaries which can be prone to blood vessel ruptures causing death.

    Most of the information I read by @ozexpat was posted in the Getting the Flock Out of Here thread. It might be helpful to use the advanced search features.
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:
    You both make excellent points. IMHO, the problem is, you can't teach enough nutrition and requirements here to people to the point that they can analyze how the things they add are affecting amino acid intake, vitamins, minerals, fats and energy. It is worse with people that don't pay attention to their own nutrition or read food labels.
    It's like we're speaking Greek to them if they don't already know the various amino acids and other nutrients and their value.
     
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  10. snikrs11

    snikrs11 Just Hatched

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    Thank you very much to everyone that responded. I appreciate your time and info. I will stop with the excessive treats, I didn't know I shouldn't be doing so much. I do incorporate Oyster Shells in their feed so that should be good for calcium. Have a nice weekend.
     

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