More Protein

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chickensforkids, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. chickensforkids

    chickensforkids Out Of The Brooder

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    I have one hen, a barred rock, that has been pulling feathers out of three of her flock mates and eating them. I have 18 hens and it seems as though she is the only one doing this. I currently have her separated from the other chickens (in a crate located inside the chicken coop), and I would like to integrate her back in.

    What are my chances that this isn't a behavioral problem, but more likely a protein issue? I currently have all of the chickens on a 16% protein layer feed. Should I offer more protein, and if I should what is the most cost and time effective way to do that?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Most time and cost effective would be meat or fish scraps from your meals. If not available, a can of mackerel dished out a bit each day. That is the cheapest canned fish in the market yet still good quality animal protein.
    A more long term solution would be to switch to an 18% grower or all flock feed.
    Are you feeding anything other than the layer feed?
    Are all your chickens laying?
     
  3. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Scrambled eggs work well too. And I'm betting the OP already has the eggs.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Eggs - while a high quality animal protein - aren't as high in protein as fish or meat. Not even as high as chicken feed.

    Egg powder is about 80% but a raw egg is about 13%. Scrambled is a bit higher.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  5. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    An easy and economical way to 'test' to see if this is protein issue is to get some dry cat food and mix it 1:3 or 1:4 with your chicken food, even cheap dry cat food is about 30% protein, a good dry cat food or kitten food can be 40% or higher protein...

    If you mix 1 part 30% protein cat food with 3 parts 16% layer feed you end up with about 19.5% protein...

    If you mix 1 part 30% protein cat food with 2 parts 16% layer feed you end up with about 21% protein...

    If you mix 1 part 30% protein cat food with 1 part 16% layer feed you end up with about 23% protein...

    Or if you are lazy just mix in a 20lb bag of dry cat food to a 50lb bag of 16% layer feed, end result should be around 20% feed...

    If that solves your problem, I would look into switching over to a game bird or turkey feed or possibly a higher protein all flock feed as sourcing cheap protein supplements is generally more costly then buying the higher protein feeds...
     
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  6. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    This is incorrect, you have to evaluate them on a 1:1 basis aka the "Dry Matter Basis"... Eggs contain a significant amount of water while chicken feed or powdered animal protein is 'dry' you are comparing apples to oranges comparing protein content this way... The better way it to standardize them both to zero water content, this gets you a 1:1 evaluation of protein levels...

    If you do a Google search for 'dry matter basis' you will find several good articles about protein comparison... The FDA even has a few pages dedicated to this dry matter comparison...

    http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/ucm047120.htm
    http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/ucm047113.htm

    Eggs are about 47% protein when you remove the water content...

    FYI 'dry' feeds are still have about 7-10% moisture content so even that llsited protein should be adjusted for the comparison...

    AKA 16% dry layter feed is actually about 17.5% protein if you assume 8% moisture content...
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree with you but who feeds powdered eggs?

    By the way, for the OP, if they have sufficient space, it isn't likely a behavioral problem and more likely nutritional.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    The most effective way to give them more protein is to feed grower feed instead of layer.
     
  9. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    Who feeds their chickens dry feed and no water?

    You are either mixing the water into the feed (aka moist food) before they eat it or mixing water in after they eat it, birds like all animals need to consume a certain volume of water each day to properly digest their food, if they are fed moist food their volume of water intake will be less than if they are fed dry food... It all balances out in the end...

    At the end of the day, chickens are going to drink/eat their required volume of water do they can digest the food they eat so it should not be figure into feed analysis...

    It's like saying people on here that ferment their feed are not providing enough protein since fermented feed once water is added has a very low (about 5%) protein content if you now include the added water weight...

    When you hear that chickens need 16% protein in their feed, that percentage is based on a dry analysis of the feed...
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  10. chickensforkids

    chickensforkids Out Of The Brooder

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    Is there any harm in feeding them grower feed? Would they be missing other things that they need that way?
     

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