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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by rsweet, Mar 4, 2016.
Is 16% or 22% better for layers?
Personal opinion as they sell layer feed with protein content from 16 - 22%. I pick one right in the middle, 18%. That being said I did find this article very helpful:
It depends. Do you feed lots of treats and extras? Are they molting? Are they breeding birds? If yes to any of those questions then get the higher protein feed.
If you don't feed treats or extras, and they are laying eggs for eating only, then get the lower protein feed.
Thanks for answering junebuggena! I always chose middle of the road because I really didn't know for sure. Mine free range all day every day too. I probably can reduce my protein amount? I throw about 2 cups worth of scratch everyday for them (11 chickens).
Free ranging and scratch qualify as extras. Keep them on the higher protein feed. 2 cups of scratch is way too much for 11. It's a treat or boredom buster, not a feed.
Is there any down side to the higher protein? Other than cost.
No, no downsides to more protein. With a higher protein feed, you reduce your chances for feather picking, and egg eating, the molting process goes faster, you have more wiggle room in terms of feeding treats, and you get better overall production rates.
It's worth the few more dollars, in my opinion.
There is no downside unless you get ridiculous. As with anything too much of a good thing is not necessarily a good thing. I’ve seen where feeding hens over 30% protein can lead to avian gout. 30% is really high. Of course, it’s not what is in one bite, it’s how many grams of protein they eat in the entire day, and even that is over several days.
What nutrients yours get from foraging will depend on the quality of the forage. They will get some benefit if their only forage is a manicured lawn all of the same type of grass, but if they can get to an area with various weeds and different grasses, some of which go to seed, now you are talking!
I think mine have a forage smorgasbord. We live in a forest area. They are always digging through the forest leaves and finding gobs of sprouts and worms galore. Plus there's lawn area. My feed consumption has gone WAY done since our weather has changed. They forage from 8am-5pm daily. They are only consuming about 5 cups of feed per 11 chickens per day. (My guess, I haven't measured it.)
Why would this make a difference?