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Is too much protein bad for adult Chickens ?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by staggerlee, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. staggerlee

    staggerlee Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 30, 2009
    Bear Creek NC
    From what i have seen the starter food and grower are 19 -20% protein. Layer pellets for adult chickens is 17 %. Turkey and gamebird food is 22-24% . If the price is the same why not feed the higher % food to your adult chickens ? Or does it cause a problem?
  2. G Wiz Ranch

    G Wiz Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 20, 2009
    Lompoc, CA
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  3. lisahaschickens

    lisahaschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    I'm not sure about the exact details, but I do know that in general, higher protein food is more expensive than lower protein food (this holds true for what I buy and also other places I've seen). I know I've read things about how you're "wasting" protein on roosters because they only need like 9-12% and laying hens need 15-17% and growing chicks/broilers need 19-22%.

    Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens is a very detailed book and it goes into great depth about the nutritional needs of various kinda of chickens at various stages of life and how to create the perfect diet, etc. That may have some good info in there for you. I read it all but didn't retain every detail...
  4. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
  5. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    I think too much protein can be hard on their organs after a while.It's really not needed over a long time period. Will
  6. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    Too high of protein is stressful on all animals even growing animals. Their bodies have to process and dispose of all the excess. Another problem is too much of one nutrient tends to cause deficiencies in others. Things must stay balanced for animals (and humans) to absorb the right amounts to remain healthy. In growing animals it can cause uneven or too fast of growth leading to skeletal problems and more injuries.

    However I don't know if 22% is really too high for chickens in the first place. Since protein is expensive we tend to feed the lowest protein we can get away with unless we're growing an animal quickly for food and not feeding it for long. The only exception I've seen are grazing animals like horses where the animals need very little protein but feed is often formulated with higher protein to make the animals look better for shows. With omnivores and carnivores people tend to cut corners.
  7. luvmygirlsinAK

    luvmygirlsinAK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    North Pole, Ak
    There's a person that gives his chickens 1/3 game bird feed, 1/3 layer pellets, and 1/3 chicken crumbles who claims his chickens give him 2 eggs a day from each hen even in winter time because of the higher protein content. Personally, I don't consider this too much protein. Just look at what a free range chicken will eat, all in a day's work: worms, bugs, mice, etc, etc. Older hens (I have 2 that are 4 years old) on a higher protein diet (I also give them a lot of other things in their diet) give just as many eggs as the younger chickens. I don't think we as humans realize the amounts of protein a chicken will eat if given free choice. I am a firm believer in free choice food whether for my dog, cat, or chickens, they know how much they need of what kinds of food to stay healthy. Ever put too many leftover kitchen scraps in the coop? They'll eat until they don't need anymore, and leave the rest for the next day. Sometimes they will eat a lot of a certain food, but leave it alone another day and eat something else. Your body knows what it needs, and will often crave what it needs.

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2008
    Quote:Here's the problem with that claim-it typically takes a hen about 26 hours to form an egg. If adding 1/3 high protein food to a hen's diet caused them all to lay 2 eggs a day you can bet all the commercial farms would be feeding that way.
    1 person likes this.
  9. lisahaschickens

    lisahaschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    I agree. I have read in detail about the egg-production cycle in hens. It is a 25-26 hours process. I honestly don't believe it's possible to get two eggs per day from a single hen... though I have read many claims to that effect, so I'm not sure what to make of it.
  10. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    am a firm believer in free choice food whether for my dog, cat, or chickens, they know how much they need of what kinds of food to stay healthy

    This seems to work fine for chickens but only works for some dogs and cats. Some will just eat and eat and eat until they turn into fat blobs. My sister's cats for example and I've had her try several very good diets. If left free choice these guys turn into pudgy balls. Our aussie shep was like that too. If food was down he had to try and finish it no matter how much he'd eaten already. He'd make himself sick trying to eat that last bite and he was always at risk of being overweight. Some animals it does work fine on though. My akita and the 2 cats I have now barely eat enough to maintain their weight. I have to add things to my akita's food to keep her from starving herself even when using a grain free nearly all meat based kibble. I have heard of a few people with fat chickens but usually they are really confined and fed lots of table scraps and treats.​

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