Protein % in feed and my confusion

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ChickBond 007, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. ChickBond 007

    ChickBond 007 Licensed to Cull

    Feb 26, 2009
    Madison County, Iowa
    I went to the co-op yesterday to purchase feed/supplies and asked to purchase food for my new chickens. They are currently just into their first bag of poultry starter and they are a week old. However, 15 of the birds are Cornish X and I believed from reading here that I needed to buy "Broiler booster" for leg support. The feed store clerk told me that he had:
    * 18% protein typically for layers
    * 20% protein that he thought was the same as chick starter
    * 23% protein that he thought might be the same as Broiler booster
    * Scratch feed, a grain mix
    I have two "craigslist freebie" silkies (hens) giving me 1 egg per day between them, and I bought them the layer food and some oyster shell. I also bought some scratch.
    But I am confused about the broiler feed. Is it truly the 23% protein mix he refers to, or do I need to shop elsewhere?
    Can anyone clarify these protein percentages and uses for me?
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2009
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    The protein varies with higher protein in the starter or starter/grower. A plain grower has slightly lower protein to delay sexual maturity to prevent prolapses, etc. The main thing is to get the feed formulated for their age group. You dont need broiler feed for silkies, that's for meat birds to gain lots of weight.
    Layer is generally 15-18%, starter can be around 20%, more or less, and starter/grower combo is usually 18% and meant to be fed till laying age. You need layer feed if they are laying.
  3. ChickBond 007

    ChickBond 007 Licensed to Cull

    Feb 26, 2009
    Madison County, Iowa
    Sorry, I'm still a bit confused.

    Should I feel the Cornish X chicks the 23% feed for their legs?
    They are eating uncontrollably, and the 10 layer chicks are not growing nearly as fast as the "Meatie Monsters" (my hubby calls the Cornish X this name)
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    "Nutrient Requirements of Chickens and Turkeys"
    On the webpages of the Department of Animal Sciences, University of Missouri.

    Tables from Nutrient Requirements of Poultry

    Table 4, Nutrient requirements of broilers:
    23% protein, Weeks 0 to 3
    20% protein, Weeks 3 to 6
    18% protein, Weeks 6 to 8

    That would be doing it "by the book" for the broilers.

    Table 2, Nutrient requirements of leghorn-type chickens:
    18% protein, 0 to 6 weeks
    15% protein, 6 to 14 weeks
    12% protein, 14 to 20 weeks

    That would be doing it "by the book" for the layer chicks.

    These should be thought of as minimums. Personally, I would get everything on 20% protein and leave it at that. And, you really should separate the meaties from the layer chicks. No layer feed until after they start laying.

  5. ChickBond 007

    ChickBond 007 Licensed to Cull

    Feb 26, 2009
    Madison County, Iowa
    That made things really clear. Thanks Steve
  6. jhm47

    jhm47 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2008
    Another thing that you might want to try with your meaties is to give them a bit of their feed soaked in whole or 2% milk. The extra calcium will help them to develop their legs while growing. This has worked for me in the past, and I now routinely do it for cornish X birds. Give them all they can eat for about 5 minutes two or three times a week. Mix it till it's about the consistency of ketchup. They will love it when they get started. Sour milk is fine too.

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