Protein amounts lower in feeds as chickens mature, why?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by huppfarm, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. huppfarm

    huppfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    i made contact with Purena poultry foods, asking why starter feed for chicks contains 20% protein and the layena for mature chickens only has 16% protein.
    they have not replied as of yet.

    why not maintain the 20% during their adult life too, is there a health factor here?

    an inquiring mind wants to know!
    thank you for your time and knowledge
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Cost and need.

    Protein most expensive component of any feed as a percentage of total formulation cost. Cost a major factor buyer consider when making purchase.

    Early lifestages of just about any type of critter are all about putting on mass (bone, muscle, feathering) which not only requires new material for increase but also for replacement. Young animals have a higher rate of tearing down and replacing existing tissue. Thee changing of body shape figures heavily into turnover of body components, especially protein. Adults are more about maintenance which requires less protein turnover. Upticks in protein requirments are to be noted with egg production and molt, both have lots of protein in them.

    Adults, especially during winter have higher need for energy to keep body temperature and sometimes for increased mobility if they have to get food by foraging.

    Then you need to start thinking more about ratio of protein to energy. Latter is required to process former. Protein can be an energy source but other components of diet such as carbohydrates and fats are much cheaper and just as good if not better as energy sources.
  3. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    They need more when they are young because they are growing rapidly. The need for protein is the highest when they hit peak production. After they peak, they have generally quit growing so rapidly and as egg production starts to drop off less protein is needed by the hen for growth and production.

    Excess protein leads to a number of problems:

    The cost involved.
    Excessive egg size that can lead to binding and prolapse.
    The excess is excreted and can be hard on the kidneys.
    The excess protein in the manure leads to higher ammonia levels.
  4. catdaddy66

    catdaddy66 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 18, 2009
    Lugoff, SC
    There are drawbacks to a higher protein level but in my humble estimation they are quite manageable ones. I have continued with 20-22% protein from day old to now at 8 months old. The hens are doing very well and laying as expected. I know that they will need higher protein levels during their molt for feather production. As long as oyster shell is available I have had no problem with eggshell quality or production. I DID use 100#'s of layer crumbles recently since I found it on sale, but will go back to starter feed ASAP. Keep reading up on nutrition and keep searching out threads on nutrition, specifically on protein levels. There is a wealth of info (though not all agree) on this topic. Good luck!!
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Short version. It takes protein to create muscle mass, somewhat less to maintain it.
  6. huppfarm

    huppfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    thank you all for the information! my appreciation to everyone!

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