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low protien in diet?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by fishnet1971, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. My girls are starting to look stragely and their feathers are looking freyed. [​IMG] I feed Purina Layena, they get scratch, lots of goodies like lettuce, grass, broccoli, stale breads from the store, some marshmallows for bribery, and they love peanuts (unsalted of course)

    I have done some searching on here for protien and am wondering if too much protien will cause the freyed feathers? I have one that i think is picking others feathers, but i dont see how she could pick that much. the back feathers are freyed as well!

    Can peanuts give them to much protien? I am confused now that i have read all the other threads on it!!!!

    the new 8 month olds look fine and shiney and fluffy, its four or 5 of my 1 1/2 year old RSL's that have lost feathers on their backs ( I am assuming from 'Bird and his manlyness...lol). It doesnt look like they are growing any feathers back as well!

  2. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    I would suspect too little protein in the diet if the molting chickens aren't growing their feathers back quickly. If I were you, I would cut back on the empty calories from bread and marshmallows, and offer extra protein in the form of hard boiled eggs.

    If the rooster is overmating the hens and pulling out feathers, you might think about getting saddles for those hens.
  3. will do that. They get a lot more of the peanuts than the marshmallows (that's only once in awhile, maybe a handful of minimarshmallows once a week or two). You dont think the peanuts would make them have to much protien so that it hurt their feathers? or is there no such thing as to much protien?
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    It's exactly the opposite.
    Too little protein can cause lots of problems and the fact that your birds are picking at feathers tells me they aren't getting enough.
    Feathers are mostly protein and if they're not getting enough they'll pick.

    Protein in growing birds need their entire intake to be at least 18% protein. In grown birds, at least 16%. Excessive protein will be processed by the liver and discarded as waste.
    As was stated, I would not feed much bread, if at all. And marshmallows shouldn't be eaten by people much less chickens. Marshmallows are simply junk, empty calories.

    Layena (if you read the label) is a complete ration and shouldn't be supplemented with anything including scratch.
    If you add anything to the diet - other than high protein things like tuna, mealworms, yogurt, scrambled eggs, etc.. You'll need to feed a higher protein feed.

    Bread is about 10% protein or less, same with scratch grains, broccoli and lettuce about 2%, marshmallows zero nutrition.

    Layena will only supply the minimum protein layers need if they eat nothing else. If you give treats, they have to be high protein or boost the protein some other way, like with a higher protein feed.

    When my birds are moulting, I up the protein to 20% or more and don't cut back until their feathers look glorious.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  5. awesome!!! thank you SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much!!!! they do a lot of free range time, and now with the bugs and stuff gone, i bet that is exactly what it is. I am gonna hit TSC today for flock raiser, flock block, and make some hard boiled eggs.

    I knew i could depend on you guys on here.
    "Bird will thank you!
  6. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    There are a few things that will cause poultry to eat feathers,
    There feed is lacking in Protein,
    There feed is lacking in Animal based Protein,
    Mites/ Lice,
    Stress (to meany birds in a small space)

    As for frayed feathers there are a few things that will course that also,
    Mites/ Lice,
    Proteins /lacking in animal proteins
    A definition of some Vitamins and Minerals
    Feed lacking in fats
    Going int molt

    If I was you I would take out all treats and give them a good dusting with Sevin Dust then offer them some good Puppy food or Bil Jac refrigerated dog food as a treat( The Bil Jac can be found in the coolers at any good grocery store). If your birds are laying age you can continue to feed the Purina Layena, I don't see a problem with it other that it does not contain animal proteins and fats. Unless your hens are in a molt or your feeding a ton of treats and scraps you really don't need a feed that is over 18% protein.

    You wont see any improvements on the feathers condition until there next molt.

    Your 8 month old birds should be on a Grower feed most good grower feed is about 15 to 18 percent protein. If your hens and you growing birds are together you can feed them all a 18 percent protein grower and supplement oyster shells for the hens and also offer them the Puppy food or Bil Jac refrigerated dog food as a treat.

    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  7. i purchased a bag of Purina flock raiser a bag of meal worms, and some BOSS and some vitamix stuff for their water. They really chowed down on the Flock raiser food and left the layer food. ????? liked it better. DOnt know why. I checked them over for mites real well and found nothing. i will probably dust them anyway this weekend just to be sure. i hope this helps.

    My four 8 month olds are house with my eight 1 1/2 year olds. I think some have gone through a slow molt this fall.

    They do get a lot of scraps. Not a lot of not-good-for you scraps really. Marshmallows only once in awhile as bribery for coming inside or whatever. they get more treats of a pumpkin pie (left over at the bakery for like .50) a pancake left over here and there, the rest of the squash from the garden, a lot of brussel sprouts from the garden still growing in the snow, birdseed ( I wonder if they are eating TOO much of that and not eating enough feed?) and leftover bread. (no more.)
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011

  8. LaDonna

    LaDonna Hatching

    Jun 7, 2010
    I found the 16% protien in most layer feed isn't enough for most non-commercial (standard breed) of chickens. I feed an 18% protien All Flock by Nutrina and have a seperate feeder for oyster shell (buy a 50 lb bag at the feed store). Many folks who show chickens supplement with dry cat food or canned tuna (both very high in protien) to get good feathers - this may give you funny tasting eggs if you give to much. If you have poor looking feathers I would:

    check for mites, etc. as the previous poster said
    check the last molting date - they may be due/starting again
    until the new feather come in the chickens will look ratty - feathers don't heal themselves
    increase protien in diet
    increase heat if you live in a cold climate - the energy is going to stay alive rather than grow feathers
    increase light if you are in winter - birds don't eat when it is dark
  9. the coop doesnt go below 42 degrees. it has a heat lamp, insulation, no drafts, storm door etc. they have a 'night light' in the summer realy dim, but they can see. They have a 150 watt bulb when it is 40 - 32 degrees out (includes at night) and a 250 watt bulb if its below freezing (including on at night). I can up the amount of heat if needed at any time. daytime temps are pretty good now. around 50 degrees and they can come and go as they wish. Think i should up the temp at all at night? I can do so if needed no problems.

    dont think it's a molt. they did some light feather loss in October and early november, but nothing like my full hen molt in the early fall. I am really thinking the protein from what you all have said.
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Here's the reason I don't add heat of any kind, ever except the heated waterer.
    It's expensive and how would they feel if you had a power outage after they were used to 45+ and it immediately hit zero.
    Birds need to acclimate to the cold.

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