Nutritional Requirements? Parrot Pellets?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MitziAndMe, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. MitziAndMe

    MitziAndMe Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello!

    I am hoping some of you knowledgeable people could help me out figure out a solution to feeding my hen. Mitzi is a 2 year old Silkie, not currently laying and living as an indoor pet. (yes I know, many of you don't agree with this, but please keep that debate aside for now - if you are curious about it please check out my site http://diaperedchickens.moonfruit.com)

    Until recently I have been feeding egg layer to Mitzi but have a very hard time finding quality feed, especially because it is only sold in 50 pound bags and I cannot possibly get through the bag without it getting stale or have bugs fester in it. Not to mention Mitzi doesn't really like the feed.

    Mitzi was at her vet last week and the vet was telling me how commercial chicken feed is packed with extra protein, calcium, etc. And that chickens cannot possibly intake it properly anyway. He said that egg layer, for instance, Is simply to produce as many eggs as possible, and that it's unnecessary. He said that egg layer is too high in protein for a chicken like Mitzi who isn't laying. He recommended a maintenance feed like Zupreem Fruit Blend pellets. A parrot feed I had been feeding as a treat. He says its great quality and better suited for her nutritionally. What do you all think? It is definitely easier for me to buy it seeing as I am in the city. Extremely expensive however at about 50 dollars for a 20 pound bag.

    here are the ingredients: FruitBlendTM With Natural Fruit Flavors
    Ground corn, Soybean meal, Ground wheat, Wheat
    germ meal, Sugar, Vegetable oil (preserved with mixed
    tocopherols), Calcium carbonate, Dicalcium
    phosphate, Iodized salt, DL-Methionine, Dried
    bananas, Dried oranges, Dried apples, Dried grapes,
    Choline chloride, Natural fruit flavors, Vitamins
    (Vitamin E supplement, Niacin, Calcium
    pantothenate, Vitamin A supplement, Biotin,
    Riboflavin, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Thiamine
    mononitrate, Menadione sodium bisulfite complex
    (source of Vitamin K activity), Vitamin B12
    supplement, Vitamin D3 supplement, Folic acid), LLysine, Artificial colors, preserved with Mixed
    tocopherols and Citric acid, L-ascorbyl- 2-
    polyphosphate (a source of Vitamin C), Minerals
    (Manganous oxide, Zinc oxide, Copper sulfate,
    Sodium selenite, Calcium iodate), Rosemary extract


    and the percentages;

    Crude Protein (min.) 14.0%
    Crude Fat (min.) 4.0%
    Crude Fiber (max) 3.5%
    Moisture (max) 10.0%



    However, I ran out of food today and went to pick some up but the pet store was out, so I found another pellet with the most suitable sounding ingredients called Tropican Lifetime Formula Granules


    here's the specs

    Ingredients: Ground corn, soybean meal, ground wheat, ground dehulled peanuts, ground brown rice, dehulled sunflower seed, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and rosemary extract), calcium carbonate, sugar, tomato powder, oat groats, ground flaxseed, alfalfa nutrient concentrate, L-lysine, yeast extract, DL-methionine, salt, choline chloride, carotene, biotin, vitamin E supplement, niacin, calcium L-ascorbyl-2-monophosphate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin B12 supplement, beta-carotene, copper sulfate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, inositol, folic acid, vitamin A supplement, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, vitamin D3 supplement.

    Guaranteed Analysis: Crude protein 21.0% (min), Crude fat 11.0% (min), Crude fibre 3.5% (max), Moisture 9.0% (max), Salt 0.20% (min), Salt 0.30% (max), Calcium 1.1% (min), Phosphorus 0.7% (min), Vitamin A 6,500 IU/lb (min), Vitamin D3 225 IU/lb (min), Vitamin E 80 IU/lb (min), Vitamin K 0.9 mg/lb (min)



    What do you guys think? is this OK for her? I have calcium grit for her to peck at as well as I don't think this has enough calcium. And I am not sure if I should add protein at all? Or do you think I need to stay away from the parrot food all together?

    Thanks for reading this super long post :p

    Christina
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  2. Avianman

    Avianman Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2012
    As a former parrot trainer/breeder I would caution against it. That being said, I am not a vet.

    Psittacines are primarily frugivorous or nut eaters, whereas chickens eat large quantities of high protein insects as well as greens when left to their own devices. Hook bills WILL eat the occasional insect, but not as a rule.

    Commercial layer feed may not be the way to go, but you may find more appropriate feed in a pheasant or game bird blend, or even a chick feed, which can often be found in smaller quantities. As a serama chicken breeder, I catell you we tend to use more game bird food than layer, as they seem to do better on it. I have also been able to get it in smaller quantities.

    You may want to consider resealable plastic containers or even vacuum bags. It means more work, but dividing it up when you get it will result in fresher food for longer periods.


    And I am all for indoor chickens as pets....nothing better than a tiny serama rooster strutting around the living room....
     
  3. MitziAndMe

    MitziAndMe Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 27, 2012
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    Thank you very much for your reply :)

    I will check and see what options the co-ops in the area have in chick and game bird feed [​IMG] hopefully they carry smaller bags.

    I have an airtight feed container I just bought, but only holds 30 pounds. I hope that is enough space!
     
  4. MitziAndMe

    MitziAndMe Out Of The Brooder

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    Does any body else have an opinion? If I do find an alternate feed is it OK to feed this for now?
     
  5. Achickenwrangler#1

    Achickenwrangler#1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not qualified to contradict the veternarian who offered his advise on the best nutritional food for your pampered chicken. Price out the item listed in the first bag, and see what it would cost at the grocery store. Remember this is dry weight and designed to store for long times. They may have been sold out of it because it is a good feed. Also I tend to stay away from corn and soy...just me. You might take those ingredients (minus the corn and soy) pick them up fresh and supplement your chicken with that. Jmo
     
  6. MitziAndMe

    MitziAndMe Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for your response :) I would love to try that but the problem is I don't know how to portion it? I wonder if it would matter
     
  7. Achickenwrangler#1

    Achickenwrangler#1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, look at a bag and guess.... :) but even both list corn and soy first, the bulk of it...the rest are powdered supplements and vitamins. You may find it's an accurate price for those ingredients. Why not buy a bag of the good stuff and see how long it lasts? You do want the best for your pet don't you? The only way to come out on top is to buy bulk or grow it yourself, the you have to figure processing costs....ever dehydrate fruit? Lots of time and energy. It all costs money. You can research the items and come up with a solution...but it will take time. The other thing is, the manufacturer doesn't want to put out a product that isn't eaten or recommended...that's how you go out of business. The second most popular cheeper one....is skimping on the more expensive items. Chickens are natural foragers, they instinctively find the nutrients they need...in captivity they eat whatever you give them. You may find your chicken eating less because the variety appetite is satisfied, and is not eating just to fill a nutritional gap. Cost? You have to decide if that's worth it. If your chicken doesn't spend a large amount of time preening and or napping, it's not nutritiously satisfied. Jmo
     
  8. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    My Coop
    As a keeper of parrots, I can say that the Zupreem fruit blend isn't even all that good for parrots because of the artificial dyes and flavorings. Tropican is even worse, sadly. Most parrot pellets contain corn, soy, and wheat as the first three ingredients, which isn't any better than commercial chicken feeds and costs much more.

    I see you are in canada, which sadly limits your options on a pre-made food somewhat. There are some producers of a high quality soy-free (if that is important to you) chicken feed that will ship small quantities, but I suspect that they wouldn't be able to ship to you (might be worth exploring the 'where to buy organic feed' thread just in case though).

    A high quality game bird feed might be just the ticket for your silkie!

    I feed my parrots the following mash, with the disclaimer that my parrots are species that do NOT need much protein (and in fact have gout problems if they get too much). Thus, if I had an indoor and cherished pet chicken, I'd feed them this as well but modify it to include some insect protein such as mealworms, and calcium if if my bird started to lay. http://parrot-chow.livejournal.com/24403.html

    I hope this helps you somewhat! The good news is that there has been a lot more research into chicken diet over the years than parrot diet. The bad news is that the research has, of course, been focused primarily on production (of meat and/or eggs) and not necessarily longevity. The two are not mutually exclusive of course, but research often follows money (that funds it).
     
  9. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    MitziAndMe,

    There are a few things I have to disagree with your vet about, one being that he/she told you that a layer feed is to produce as many eggs as possible. This is somewhat untrue in that the egg laying ability and the amount of egg a hen will lay is mostly determined by genetics the feed only "helps" the hen buy having the nutrition the hen need to produce the egg.
    The second thing I disagree with your vet on is he/she told you that a layer feed is to high in protein for your bird. Most layer feed range from 16 to 20 percent protein and if your chicken is healthy a feed with in 16 to 18 would be just fine. Thirdly I disagree with your vet when he/she says that you should feed a parrot feed and that it is better nutritionally suited for your chicken, the reason I disagree being that chickens are different than parrots and have different nutrition needs. Chickens need different vitamins, minerals and proteins than a parrot also chickens are Omnivores and need animal protein in there diet, the feed that he is recommending is a Herbivore diet and also not a very good feed for poultry.

    Now if your hen is laying you can put her on a lower protein died that is meant for poultry, either a layer that has add calcium or a starter/grower feed and supplement oyster shells. Either way is ok and a lot better than giving her a parrot feed.
    Now if she is not laying for some reason then you can just give her a starter/grower.

    Chris
     
  10. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

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    To add to what Chris said feed companies formulate their various feed mixes based on a great deal of research. They don't just randomly throw ingredients together & hope for the best. Poultry feeds are formulated to meet the nutritional needs of poultry. parrot feed is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of Parrots.
    From my own experience I have to disagree with your Vet concerning protein requirements. I used to feed a 16% protein layer like most people. A few years ago I switched to a 22% protein grower as my basic feed. The birds do better on the higher protein in every respect. The grow faster, feather faster, lay better & are generally healthier.
     

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