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Pros & cons of high protein feed for chicks

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by kathyinmo, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    I have been reading that some people feed their chicks (Buckeyes in particular), high protein feed ... such as Game Bird Starter (30%) exclusively the first 8 weeks -- Purina Game Bird Chow, specifically.

    Is this only recommended for Buckeyes? What are the pros and cons of feeding increased protein? I hear alot of talk about using both plant and animal products, or fat in the diet. Please comment ...
     
  2. SPRING CREEK FARM

    SPRING CREEK FARM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] You will have different people telling you different things, but I feed all my stock the higher protein gamebird feed and I get it from my local farmers co-op. We raise peafowl, yellow golden pheasants, and various different breeds of chickens, from Booted Begian mille fleur to Jap bantams and OEG to Silkies. I noticed when I started feeding them all the higher protein feed that they just seemed to thrive and grow better with it and not as prone to sickness, for whatever reason. I know it is quite a bit higher in price but it seems to be worth it to me. I hatched out over 100 chicks of all the above breeds over the summer (that was some real work) and at the time I gave all the chicks the medicated gamebird starter and kept them on it until they were 4-6 months old. I decided that the mamas could do a much better job at hatching and brooding chicks, so when other little ones came along, they eat what everyone else eats, and that it the gamebird flight conditioner. Like I said, they all seem to do exceptionally well on it. [​IMG]
     
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    I hear it's hard on their kidneys.
     
  4. jenjscott

    jenjscott Mosquito Beach Poultry

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    The reason you hear about it specifically in Buckeyes, is that the American Livestock Breed Conservancy did their study with Buckeyes. Their recommendation for the 30 % was for free ranged chickens. In another place I am still trying to re- find, they recommended 21% minimum. They were recommending it for all heritage breeds. Fat will not increase protein in the diet. Some say soy protein is incomplete and had natural estrogens that can reduce fertility (temporarily?)
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
  5. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    I hear it's hard on their kidneys.

    Myth​
     
  6. SPRING CREEK FARM

    SPRING CREEK FARM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's what I mean, you will have different folks with different ideas; I have heard that it can be hard on their kidneys as well. I do supplement with a good gamebird scratch and various other little goodies, and in the extreme cold that we have had here in Tennessee the past couple of weeks (thank goodness now it has warmed up!) I also supplemented their rations with about 50% cracked corn mixed in to keep their body heat up.
    I read somewhere on the BYC site where someone had asked a similar question and a person replied that had previously been a poultry judge for 20 years or so. This person had seem what he said were some of the best conditioned chickens ever and asked about their feed and was told that they were fed a gamebird diet and he started doing the same with his chickens. I thought it might work for me as well and so far it has with no problems. [​IMG]
     
  7. greathorse

    greathorse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will be the first to say I know very little about animal nutrition, but I beleive that one of the reasons you hear so many variations in terms of diet has everything to do with one's goals. If your goal is to have suberbly conditioned birds you might feed one way. If your goal is to cost effectively produce eggs it might be another diet. some folks have a goal of the darkest yokes they will feed another way, so I dont think there is a one way for any of this.
     
  8. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    Quote:But, wait .... I have read (several places) that feeding extra corn does NOT add heat. That is all a myth. Also, I don't know what % protein corn is (guessing maybe 10%?) ... but, if you give 50% corn and 50% high protein feed .... that would really kinda take away the benifit of the high protein feed, wouldn't it?
     
  9. SPRING CREEK FARM

    SPRING CREEK FARM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:But, wait .... I have read (several places) that feeding extra corn does NOT add heat. That is all a myth. Also, I don't know what % protein corn is (guessing maybe 10%?) ... but, if you give 50% corn and 50% high protein feed .... that would really kinda take away the benifit of the high protein feed, wouldn't it?

    [​IMG] The extra carbs that the cracked corn adds will help them to retain that body heat, and you are right, mixing it would effectively reduce the percent of protein at any given point, but feeding them in this way is not the norm for me. The cold that we experienced down here was unseasonably so and I decided that it would be worth it in the end. In the mornings when I got up to get ready to go to work, I would go outside (6 degrees, mind you) and I put out cracked corn for them. When I came home in the evening, I put them out their regular rations of gamebird feed. Sometimes I might even mix the two together. On the weekends, I even scramble eggs for them to eat (yes, they love scrambled eggs!) Anything I can give them to get them thru the cold. Yes, it costs me more, but I have very healthy and happy chickens and other birds.
    As for the whole corn idea and being a myth, I don't believe that to be the case. We also raise black registered Angus cattle and most of your feedlots up north where it is so much colder thru the winter months, when the cattle are put on feed, corn is choice in their diet, helps to maintain the heat and fattens them up at the same time, making you some nice tender and grade prime beef! [​IMG]
     
  10. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    Extra kcals, fats, and carbs will help provide the energy needed to produce heat. Corn is high in those but it's very poorly balanced nutritionally and it's rather hard to digest. A well balanced feed is probably more beneficial and personally I use black oil sunflower seeds in place of scratch. It has more kcals and provides even more energy than corn while being better balanced and more nutritionally complete. Corn is mostly useful when you are trying to be cost effective since it's about the cheapest thing you can feed any animal.

    Excess protein does put stress on the body and can lead to growth problems in most animals. I don't think I'd go up to 30% without seeing more research but I do use 22% game bird feed. Protein is the most expensive part of feed so it tends to be the first thing cut when cutting costs. That's why I doubt the standard 18% protein chick starter is anywhere near too much if even ideal for most. It's somewhat difficult to find research on the ideal protein though. Mostly it's done on the minimum or maximum amount of protein that a species tolerates.
     

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