Protein percentage

docdubz

Songster
Nov 24, 2016
167
93
121
Central Texas
I've read that generally you want to keep you feed protein percentage lower than 20% after grow out. But, the only low protein feeds that I've seen at the stores is way more expensive than the rest and very rarely in stock. So, if my research is correct that protein levels should be lower, what do you guys mix with high protein feeds to make them more appropriate? Especially with pellets the lowest protein. Pellet I've been able to find is 22%.
 

springvalley123

Songster
May 22, 2015
350
998
207
North of Phoenix
I've read that generally you want to keep you feed protein percentage lower than 20% after grow out. But, the only low protein feeds that I've seen at the stores is way more expensive than the rest and very rarely in stock. So, if my research is correct that protein levels should be lower, what do you guys mix with high protein feeds to make them more appropriate? Especially with pellets the lowest protein. Pellet I've been able to find is 22%.
For younger birds (chickens), I've just gone from 20% starter/grower to 18-20% all flock. Don't know your area, but I get them at cal-ranch or tractor supply (whatever your local feed store or chain is ). I've used the store brand, but others believe in using more expensive brands. I haven't had any bad experiences with the cheaper brands, if that helps.
 

docdubz

Songster
Nov 24, 2016
167
93
121
Central Texas
I have an Atwood's and two tractor supplies within driving distance and all of them have all flocks that are real high in protein. The lowest I've been able to reliably find is 22% but most are 27%. But at the same time I can get 20% starter/grower crumbles so I've been mixing them but I have no idea if my ratio is good. I kinda just wing it and it's usually 2 quarts 20% starter grower for every one quart 22% all flock. My birds seem to be doing good on that but I really have no idea.
 

Percheron chick

Crowing
Apr 12, 2013
4,274
2,222
351
Boulder, Colorado
Don't obcess about it. Do you offer low protein kitchen scraps (fruits and vegetables mostly) or scratch grain treats? Do they freerange (who knows what they snack on during the day)? Their overall daily intake will be significantly lower then the percentage on the feed tag. The disadvantages of feeding higher protein feed are increased water consumption, higher ammonia levels in their waste and cost ( protein is a costlier feed ingredient). They aren't going to keel over just because they are being fed a 27% grower. It's also molting season and all birds will benefit being fed a higher protein diet while they regrow feathers.
Your example of mixing feeds only drops the % 1.3. (20% +20% +22%=62. 62÷3=20.7%. Not much change.
 

kerbotx

Songster
Aug 29, 2016
124
199
151
Northeast Texas
Atwoods has a 16% all flock by their store brand, Ranch Pro: https://www.atwoods.com/department/farm-ranch/poultry/feeds/ranch-pro-complete-mixed-flock-feed.html I haven't bought it lately, cuz they're not doing curbside pickup, but my birds always liked it, and it had a consistent crumble size, not too dusty. Crumble only tho, don't think it came in a pellet. For Tractor Supply, there's Purina Flock Raiser at 18% protein, but also a crumble. Do you prefer pellets because of your feeders? Other options would be available at the local feed mill or grain elevator. (Elevator might not be the right word - maybe grain cooperative? Tryin' to remember a thread from a few weeks ago...)
 

docdubz

Songster
Nov 24, 2016
167
93
121
Central Texas
Atwoods has a 16% all flock by their store brand, Ranch Pro: https://www.atwoods.com/department/farm-ranch/poultry/feeds/ranch-pro-complete-mixed-flock-feed.html I haven't bought it lately, cuz they're not doing curbside pickup, but my birds always liked it, and it had a consistent crumble size, not too dusty. Crumble only tho, don't think it came in a pellet. For Tractor Supply, there's Purina Flock Raiser at 18% protein, but also a crumble. Do you prefer pellets because of your feeders? Other options would be available at the local feed mill or grain elevator. (Elevator might not be the right word - maybe grain cooperative? Tryin' to remember a thread from a few weeks ago...)
The Atwood's near me has been really unreliable with bird feed to the point where I only stop in there if I need something else.

Don't obcess about it. Do you offer low protein kitchen scraps (fruits and vegetables mostly) or scratch grain treats? Do they freerange (who knows what they snack on during the day)? Their overall daily intake will be significantly lower then the percentage on the feed tag.
I have them in a large run that I will be expanding further in a couple of days. I don't let them free range yet because my perimeter fence needs major attention and I have a neighbor that can't be bothered with keeping his flock, or cats, off my land. I don't feed them table scraps because we don't really have any to speak of, only way there are scraps to give is if I go out and buy an extra vegetable just for them. I've also laid off with the scratch significantly and have only been throwing some out about once a week because I had a good cockerel die from eating too much scratch.

I'm not driving myself crazy over their feed, what I'm doing seems to be working well. I was more wondering why all I can find is high protein feed when everything I see online says lower protein is more appropriate. There is one lower protein brand that I've been able to find but it is very expensive organic stuff. Iirc it was like $28 for a 40lb bag.
 

humblehillsfarm

Crowing
Mar 27, 2020
1,991
3,441
281
Southwestern Pennsylvania
I've read that generally you want to keep you feed protein percentage lower than 20% after grow out. But, the only low protein feeds that I've seen at the stores is way more expensive than the rest and very rarely in stock. So, if my research is correct that protein levels should be lower, what do you guys mix with high protein feeds to make them more appropriate? Especially with pellets the lowest protein. Pellet I've been able to find is 22%.
Can you not find any grower feed? It’s usually around 16-18% protein.
 

WindingRoad

Songster
Nov 21, 2018
1,348
2,433
243
Maine
I've read that generally you want to keep you feed protein percentage lower than 20% after grow out. But, the only low protein feeds that I've seen at the stores is way more expensive than the rest and very rarely in stock. So, if my research is correct that protein levels should be lower, what do you guys mix with high protein feeds to make them more appropriate? Especially with pellets the lowest protein. Pellet I've been able to find is 22%.
I feed 18% all year round. Protein in Protein out. I get it at TSC. Nutrena. Green and blue bag $14-15. I sell 20 dozen eggs a month at $2.50 each doz. So the pays for my feed.
 

Percheron chick

Crowing
Apr 12, 2013
4,274
2,222
351
Boulder, Colorado
What makes you believe the rooster died from too much scratch? Scratch is just the raw ingredients used in fortified feeds. Corn, oats milo and barley are perfectly safe for chickens. Wouldn't the hens of died as well?
 

Califas77

In the Brooder
Apr 9, 2020
5
10
21
Marble Mountains, Calif.
How much is too much kitchen scrap to give layer hens? I give mine collard greens or kale everyday...grow it specially for them. Is this affecting their laying??? did not know this would be an issue!! Thanks everyone!! great comments...
 

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