Lower Protein layers pellets for less grass damage

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by brummie, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most layers pellets are atleast around 16% protein, but I've seen some being sold by a reputable company as "lower protein" where the protein is only 14%, and they state

    "A layers pellet with lower protein levels which helps to prevent damage to grass from droppings in restricted areas."

    Less grass damage would be awesome, but how much would lower protein affect egg production and would it possible to go even lower in protein, say to about 12% without problems?
     
  2. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    There is a catch 22 when feeding a low protein layer feed like the ones that are around 14% protein.

    Yes there will be less damage to the "restricted area" since there is less nitrogen in the dropping because there eating a low protein feed, but these feeds are usually also a low energy diet and since chickens eat to fill a caloric need unless your restricted area is prime pasture with good vegetative growth, seed heads and lots of insects your chickens are going to eat more feed than ones on the same restricted area on a higher protein feed.

    Now if chickens are on a less than ideal pasture (average backyard) and on a low protein, low energy layer feed there will be some egg production loss and or a increase in feed intake.
     
  3. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    I have no idea about what kind of chickens, grass, or chicken feed most of you use or even the median size of your runs etc.

    I can assure you this. Most of the damage chickens do to grass, sod, or pasture is not the direct result of your chickens eating the grass or defecating on same but rather as a direct result of the chickens scratching in a feverish attempt to reach dirt. Depending on the type of turf grass, the chickens involved, how well they are fed, and the amount of time these chickens daily spend foraging on the turf, nothing much less than 200 square foot per bird will long stand up to the attack of a flock of hens.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks guys, points taken on board.
     
  5. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    x2 on chickengeorgeto.

    That is why the run is always bare. After years of trial and error, I derived to an equilibrium btn my lawn size, number of chickens and free range time.
    With free ranging, it is difficult to quantify the percentage of actual protein intake in the chicken's diet that will skew the percentage from the feed.


    As a hobbyist, as long as I get some and the birds are happy, we are in harmony.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
  6. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ecw could you give the figures you boiled it down to? How many chickens, for what size lawn and amount of free range time?
     
  7. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have an acre of woods, 50x100 lawn. This year, I have 5 chickens. Free range in evenings and longer on weekends. With the amount of precipitation (I do not water or chemically fertilize my lawn), I mow about every 3 weeks. There is no bare spot except where they decide to create bust bath. I think that is a good balance, although mow every 4 weeks would be even better.

    I have gone up to 11 birds. The rainfall was less that year and the lawn showed signs of distress.

    Keep in mind, with all of the variables (some out of our control), constant watch is the key.
     
  8. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So you have 5000 sq ft of lawn for 5 chickens? But why do you mow the lawn, why not let the chickens do the mowing? If you kept 10 chickens you would probably not need to mow? I would have thought that much lawn would have been able to support 10 chickens full time without any real damage to the lawn. From what I read, about 70 chickens on an acre are fine without damaging lawn badly and without any rotation.
     
  9. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You are right, in theory, I should not have to mow at all. If only they would pluck evenly. They are lousy landscapers and this patch of grass is a lawn, not a prairie.

    Another thing, Our winter is severe too, but my lawn stayed green but with little or no growth. The birds would still free range but obviously for less time. No mowing necessary then.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014

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