Protein percentages in layer pellets

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by CityGirlintheCountry, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    So last spring I was having trouble getting my eggs to hatch out. Someone on here suggested switching to game bird layer as it had a higher protein content. My co-op didn't have game bird layer, but they did have 21% protein chicken layer pellets. I have been feeding them that all summer. I'm starting to wonder now if it is bad for them to be on it full time. Should I switch back to the 16% layer pellets for winter? Is it okay to just keep them on the 21% pellets?

    They get mainly pellets, with a bit of scratch or sunflower seeds first thing in the morning. On the weekends they get to free range. They also get the random bit of produce from the house (grapes, lettuce, etc). Almost all of them have stopped laying, but most of them are in a molt at the moment. Any thoughts?
  2. barredrockmama

    barredrockmama Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 13, 2009
    Humboldt County, CA
    I have both chickens and ducks and feed both 20% protein multi-use pellets. I switched to a higher protein feed for the ducks when I found out their needs were different, but the chickens seem to do well on it to. I know during a molt extra protein is a good thing and I haven't heard any negatives on having too much. I'm curious what more knowledgeable members have to say about this.
  3. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    Mine are on 20% layer all the time, this way I dont have to worry about giving too much scratch, since that will lower the protein intake. Not that I worry about that, but if you want to justify it, that can help you make the argument. [​IMG]
  4. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Mine are on a 21% all year long..
    Just a thought.... I don't think it is all in the higher protein content for better hatching..
    Commercial Layer is meant for Layers and not Breeders.. That is why a lot of people use a Game Bird Breeder Feed or a Layer Breeder Feed.
    Having adequate vitamins in a breeding ration is important. Deficiencies of various trace elements and vitamins may lead to reduced hatchability and poor chick quality.
    A lack of B-12 and B-2 will cause a rapid decrease in hatchability.
    Biotin, choline, and manganese helps prevent slipped tendon.
    These Vit. and Min. should be in a Breeder's diet: riboflavin, pantothenic acid, B-12, niacin, folic acid, biotin, cholin, Vit A, Vit D-3, Vit.E, Vit. K, manganese, phosphorus,and zinc..

  5. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    Hmmm... wonder where I could get breeder pellets. The co-op only does the different percentages of layer pellets. They do have game bird rooster pellets, but it looked like it had a bunch of scratch and stuff in it. Don't need that!
    So how do I add the extra vitamins and minerals if I can't find the premixed food?

    Thanks for the help!
  6. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    If anything you want to raise protein in winter not lower it. They need more energy to keep warm. I feed 22% gamebird and then just give oyster shell free choice. There aren't many feed choices here so that comes out the best quality for all ages.
  7. rarebreedeggs4u

    rarebreedeggs4u Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2009
    Morrow, AR
    I'm actually feeding 28% Gamebird starter/breeder (all that's offered in my area) right now to all birds (newly hatched chicks to breeders) and offer oyster shell free choice to the breeding birds. So far, it's working well. I may decide to cut it a tiny bit with some scratch for the older birds, but it's a wait and see kind of thing. I am MUCH happier with the body condition of ALL of my birds at this time though. The new babies seem to eat less (and poop less) and are bigger, feathering faster (may just be winter babies over summer babies), but they are stronger and more fiesty [​IMG] I was worried about pasting in the babies, but so far the last two hatches have been fine, which is unusual. I usually have 1 or 2 pasty butts per hatch, but not the last 2.
  8. countrygirl57

    countrygirl57 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2009
    what do you mean "pasty butt"
  9. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    Pasty butt happens in chicks when the vent (where poop comes out) gets clogged with dried feces. It can happen for a number of reasons. If the chick cannot poop it will ultimately die. With tiny babies, you check their vents and wash off any dried stuff. I only do this with indoor babies. Interestingly enough, I've never had a problem with hen hatched chicks that stay with their mama.
    So... pasty butt is when their tushies paste over and don't work anymore. Gross, but true. If anyone had told me three years ago that I would happily be wiping the heinies of chicks and basting them with olive oil I would have laughed and laughed and laughed at them. Strange world we live in... [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by