Protein Content

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by rsweet, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Scratch is mainly intended to be a boredom buster for contained flocks. It's something you toss a few handfuls of into the run for them to scratch at to keep them busy. It's not a complete, balanced feed. It's a treat.
    A nutritionally complete and balanced feed should be available. My flock free ranges, but I always have a feeder with flock raiser available to them. Some days they barely touch it, other days I have to refill it; but it's always there. Crushed oyster shell also needs to be available.
    I have a flock with cockerels, roosters, and immature pullets; so I don't bother with layer feed at all.
  2. tonyschicks

    tonyschicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2015
    Homestead Florida
    Would you also offer flock raiser to penned birds as well?
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    No worries, Tony, you aren't doing anything wrong. My grandma free ranged her flock and fed them nothing but field corn as their only ration and they did just fine, laid well and produced chicks just fine...the chicks got cornmeal only when in the brooder with mama but were out on range after that. Healthy, productive and all that.

    I don't ever offer oyster shell and I feed layer to all the flock, from young to old, male or female and my flocks never have illnesses...extremely healthy, never use meds of any kind to keep them that way. Not for 40 yrs now and the chicks all healthy and turn into healthy, productive birds.

    If your birds are healthy and producing, you just keep on keepin' on. [​IMG]
  4. rsweet

    rsweet Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 24, 2014
    Tijeras, New Mexico
    BeeKissed...What you feed your birds from young to old makes sense too me. Kind of like using synthetic oil is better for your cars it though? All these different blends of feed seems a bit much. Maybe not but...makes sense to me.
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Folks on this forum will try to tell you all kinds of things that WILL happen to your chickens if you do this or that with feed, but they don't know any of that with any certainty...they were just told by someone else or read it in a book or such. There are so many variances between flock types, how they are kept, what kind of feed or forage is available to them, what kind of exercise they may get that helps them utilize that food, etc. that no one can tell any other person just what they should or should not feed. Not really.

    For me and from what I've seen in my own flocks, simple works best. If you find it's not working for you, change it up...and that's how we learn what's best for our own flocks.
  6. tonyschicks

    tonyschicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2015
    Homestead Florida
    I come in with doubt and questions and always leave with answers.
    Im going to stick to what's been working for me, until it doesn't. Thank you all for your help!
  7. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    There have been numerous and extensive studies on poultry feed over the last 100 years and new studies continue to roll out... There is a lot of factual data that has been gathered about chicken nutrition and what is bad and good for them and what they require to perform... The poultry industry has spend billions on nutritional studies for poultry, so they can optimize their bottom line, no reason to not take advantage of their findings...

    With the exception of layer feed the only real difference between the other types of feeds is the protein content, and chickens bodies have no problem ridding themselves of excess protein within reason, thus the little extra protein won't harm them and can also be beneficial for show birds where feather quality is desired, meat birds that are growing at an exponential rate, or highly active birds where they burn more calories daily as all those things require sufficient protein to achieve... With that said your average chicken that is in a confined area and doesn't do much while being restricted to a commercial feed generally only needs a 16% protein diet, but 18% or even 20% won't hurt but it could be wasteful if they don't need it resulting in it just being pooped out... If the birds are feds 'treats' regularly or allowed to range and eat greens, or are very active a food with a little higher protein content might benefit as it will help compensate for the lower protein snacks they are getting or provide additional energy...

    Layer food has extra calcium added, this is really only beneficial to laying hens that need the extra calcium for egg production... Unlike protein that the chicken body can easily pass, chickens don't have the ability to pass excess calcium very well, thus it can build up in their body and cause health issues... There have been multiple studies showing excess calcium negative effects on young growing birds and lesser studies showing it's effects on roosters... You might not see these effects and maybe it won't effect your bird as it's not an absolute thing or exact science, but there are numerous studies that show negative effects of excess calcium in young birds and male birds... The reason there are limited studies in regards to roosters, is that the poultry industry has little use for roosters beyond fast growing broilers that are butchered at an early age, they have little interest in the long term effects of calcium in roosters as it's not part of their business model to keep rooster for years...

    Of course there will always be people that use anecdotal evidence to discredit scientific study like "My grandpa smoked until he was 95 and didn't have cancer, thus those studies are wrong, smoking is not harmful to your health and it doesn't cause cancer..." and those that simply choose to ignore the studies...

    I'm personally not one to place anecdotal evidence above scientific study, nor one to ignore the studies until there are other studies that show otherwise...
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Let's just say I disagree with your assessment and way of gathering "proof" of what chickens should or should not eat and you disagree with my methods of doing the same and leave it at that. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  9. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    The original question, I thought was a simple one, "Is 16% or 22% better for layers?"

    Is there no short answer to this? I'm not sure I have spent much time thinking about this. My chickens free range and eat so many bugs and greens that I really didn't think I had to worry about anything.
  10. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Handy, no but 5 minutes on Google yielded these, and by my count this exceeds two... Note there might be repeats, I only spent 5 minutes gathering this list...

    Here is a link to a 2008 study, if you read the introduction you will find links to 6 other studies...

    Here is another from 1981

    Here is another from 1987, again links to multiple other studies some repeats but some unique...

    And another, that links egg production and feed intake to calcium levels...

    This one touches on the Calcium / Phosphorus balance, not 100% relevant but lots of resources listed...

    And another...

    And another with several references...

    And I'm sure if I cared to invest more than 5 minutes I could continue to dig up other studies and reports as I'm sure there are some not indexed in the first 2 pages of a Google search...

    As for you discrediting them for this or that reason, like I said above some will simply ignore or discredit the scientific studies in favor of their anecdotal observations, just as you are doing..

    To each their own...
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016

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