1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

How much protein do hens need?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by crabby chickens, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. crabby chickens

    crabby chickens Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    32
    Jul 21, 2012
    Paso Robles, CA
    Our hens have been plucking feathers out of each other and eating them. Do they need more protein in their diet? They look healthy otherwise. We free feed 18% pellets and they get some carrots, fresh grass and scratch too. Too many treats? Not enough regular food? We could use the help of the long time chicken owners, Thank you.
     
  2. Do you have a food scource availible to them at all times? if not you may want one. Oh and I saw your location! I live near Pasorobles CA I live like 20 minuts away! I live in SLO!
    Good Luck!
     
  3. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    3,495
    544
    318
    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    Cut back on the scratch, eliminate the carrots. Try mixing half gamebird crumbles/pellets with your lay ration and toss in a handful of crimped oats. The hulls are good for feather sheen and they usually consist of 9-11% protein. Take a Tablespoon of Red Cell per pound of feed, mix it up, and give it once or twice a week. If you are giving apple cider vinegar in the water more than once a week, stop. Apple cider vinegar given on a regular basis drains calcium out of the bird. Make sure they aren't too confined and have plenty of room to range.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    4,833
    580
    268
    Dec 25, 2012
    2 x on what Michael said. The only thing that I could add is keep a 20% laying ration with 10% Calf Manna and 10% of a good quility small chunk dry dog or cat food in front of your hens at all times. Hens that pull and eat roosters' hackle and saddle feathers are usually displaying a protein shortage or else they need minerals.
     
  5. feltingfrenzy

    feltingfrenzy Out Of The Brooder

    24
    1
    34
    Aug 6, 2012
    I'm experiencing a similar situation where all the tail feathers have picked off of two of the hens (2 out of 14). I checked for mites and feel that they have enough coop and day yard room (realizing that the hens have not read any of the chicken help books and decide for themselves how much room they need). Almost daily they get fresh weeds and leaves while clearing our large garden, and free-choice 17% protein, organic soy-free feed.

    Another poster on this forum suggested they might not be getting enough animal protein. Right now I have a Cooper's Hawk problem, so have not be letting the chickens out of their day yard to eat bugs. However, being winter in Virginia there are not many bugs around yet. So, I've been giving them three scrambled or hardboiled eggs a day (three eggs for the flock of 14 hens).

    I also put some of the blue antiseptic on their tails to help hide the raw skin.

    These two actions are starting to help as the skin is looking less raw (the blue wears off in a day or two).

    Good luck.
     
  6. Cknldy

    Cknldy Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,489
    86
    158
    Nov 6, 2012
    Appalachian mtns
    Boss is a good source of protein too. I started giving a handful or two of boss to everyone a couple of days b4 putting roo in with girls. All winter I would get 2 eggs a day from 3 rir pullets. I pinpointed the girl that wasn't laying. A few days after adding roo all the girls were laying. At 1st I thought my particular girl just wanted the roo around to jumpstart her laying again! Then I realized WHEN I started giving boss and she probably just needed more protein than the others to keep up production:) She's the biggest plump pullet.
     
  7. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,947
    121
    228
    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    BOSS is 16% protein & doesn't really up the protein except if you give it instead of corn etc.
     
  8. Cknldy

    Cknldy Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,489
    86
    158
    Nov 6, 2012
    Appalachian mtns
    Their laying feed has 16% protein so when boss is given too it ups the protein level. It's like adding meat, scratch or yolks for added protein in winter:)
     
  9. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,947
    121
    228
    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    16% feed plus 16% BOSS equals 16%.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. crabby chickens

    crabby chickens Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    32
    Jul 21, 2012
    Paso Robles, CA
    Hi to my new SLO friend. Thank you for answering my thread. Yes the girls are free feed. They seem healthy and we average about 11 eggs a day from 15 hens. Today I had 13 eggs, they just have the feather thing going on. Thanks for the adivce.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by