Is 16% or 20% protein better? Scratch, BOSS, grit question also

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mammachick, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. mammachick

    mammachick In the Brooder

    Oct 15, 2009
    My chickens are 17-18weeks old. The feed store has Purina and also Farmers Warehouse feed. The Farmers Warehouse has a 16% and also a 20% lay pellet. Is there one that is better then the other? Also, what is the difference between pellet and crumble, if they have been on crumble will it be hard to switch to pellet?

    Is scratch, BOSS, grit and oyster shell a necessity?

    My chickens are in there run everyday and we let them free range on our 1/4 acre twice a week.

  2. Heidi

    Heidi Songster

    Mar 18, 2007
    Northwest Michigan
    I use 16% protein for my hens unless I am selling hatching eggs then I switch them to 20%. I use both the crumble and the pelleted. The crumble occupies them longer while feeding where the pellets they can just swallow whole - with crumble there seems to be a bit more waste then with the pelleted. I free range my hens during the spring - fall, but not winter as they won't walk thru 2 feet of snow so I always provide them grit and oyster shell. During the spring - fall they still eat the grit, but not as much. Oyster shell is a must otherwise your egg shells become fragile. I feed BOSS to my girls 4 times a week during the winter and a bit less during the spring - fall. It's extra protein and the oil keeps the vents lubed so they won't have a hard time laying - this is what I've read here on BYC many times. I've never had a problem w/ egg bounds or anything..... Hope that answers your questions.
  3. cybercat

    cybercat Songster

    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    Alot depends on size of chickens 16% is good for light weights 20% is good for duel purpose chickens or heavy weights. Pellet food means less waste than crumbles. I feed 20% to my Rocks that is all they have had from day 1. Protien is used to make muscle, feather and eggs. So it is up to use what you wish to use But If you notice egg laying goes down and you are feeding the 16% then change to the 20% it should pick it up again.

    Scratch is not needed it is junk food and a waste of money unless you need extra weight on your chickens. Boss(black oil sunflower seed) is a better treat. Grit is nessasry if you do not free range(more than a few hours on dirt with small stone or gravel in it) and give other thing like veggies and such. Oyster shell might and might not be needed depending on how much calcium is in layer. I just use egg shells once in awhile but I free range and our soil is good for calcium.
  4. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    I like to use scratch as it keeps them busy and happy all day. But I use a scratch that has BOSS, wheat, cracked peas, and other grains besides corn so it is very nutritious. Using a higher protein layer feed gives you the ability to give them treats like that and not worry so much about getting enough protein in their diet. If switching to pellet, I would keep a close eye on them, make sure they are eating enough at this critical development time--many dislike the pellet and won't eat it. You may want to offer both layer and starter (crumble?) for a while. If you leave the oyster shell out in a separate dish, they can eat what they need, when they need it.

  5. felidaet

    felidaet Songster

    Dec 10, 2008
    Vancouver, Wa.
    I feed mine Layena pellets. They have been on it since 18 weeks old. I had no problem switching them from starter crumbles to layer pellets. I sprinkled some on the ground for a couple of days. They thought it was a treat! [​IMG] They ate is very well when they started finding it in their feed bin.

    I feed scratch about 2 or 3 times a week this time of year. I only give them about 2 cups for 15 pullets. I will pretty much eliminate it in the spring when there is lots of weeds, grass clippings, etc. to give them.

    I am giving them about two cups of BOSS on the days I don't give them scratch. In the late summer and fall I will cut seed heads of BOSS from the garden and give them one or two heads a day (depending upon the head size). BOSS is very easy to grow. Last year I grew for rows that were 20 or 30 feet long. I will grow more this year because I am more than doubling the size of the flock. I have to take pictures this year of the BOSS when it is in full bloom. It really brightens up the garden.

    I have both grit (#2 size) and oyster shell available to them 24 x 7 in their coop. I don't mix it with feed. Each has it's own dispenser in the coop.

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