Protein requirements for broilers....

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Brunty_Farms, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    What does people feed and why? Despite what you you heard about higher proteins, does it help? Neil.... I hope you're reading... would love your input.

    I've been doing some research and it seems many of us are over feeding protein. Doesn't really hurt the chicken but it does hurt the wallet. I've been reading that protein is not near as important as amino acid intake. From my research I'm getting a starter of 22% (0-3 weeks), then a grower of 20% (3-6 weeks), then lastly a finisher of 18% (6-8 weeks).

    Now, I don't know about you... but that last number 18% for the last two weeks would save me a substantial amount of money. With feed prices soaring the last few months it's only natural to look for ways to help keep the cost low. For instance this time last year I was paying $7.00 / 50 pound bag of layer feed and now it's up to $8.50. In a year it has went up about $1.00 / $3.00 / 100 pounds across the board.

    Last year I started the year out with feeding a 24% from start to finish.... this year I dropped that to a 20%. I didn't see any difference in weight gain over the course of 8 weeks, to be honest I actually had better weights on the 20%. Many people don't have the option to change their protein levels and I understand, however those of you that do I think it may be worth investigating.

    The protein levels were extremely low for slower growing breeds like the freedom rangers (17.5%) after 3 weeks of age. Saying that a higher energy bird requires a lower protein intake and vise versa for a cornish rock.

    For me if averaging 6 pounds of feed in the last two weeks that would be 2800 pounds / 400 birds. Which is about a $40.00 difference.... over the course of a summer.... well it would be a lot. Just curious if anyone as tried different protein intakes and what the results were. I believe the biggest requirement when lowering the protein is to make sure the correct levels of methionine and lysine are still what they need to be. With age and like protein they can be lowered in the same age classes. ex: 0-3 weeks.

  2. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    When I spoke with Dr so and so (forgot his name sorry), (who is not a vet but perhaps a Dr of something else?) at First State Vetrinary Supply; I mentioned the advsied high protien diets (such as feeding high pro game bird grower 24-28% and then adding meat scraps), he seemed very bothered by that for ANY breed. He had a long list of ailments that could, possibly arise from over feeding protien to non mammals, from liver problems to gout. If I remember correctly his reccomendation was no higher than 16%.

    Currently I am feeding Flockraiser (I believe that's 20%) from start to finish on all of my birds and having excellent results. Next spring I'm going to do a side by side comparison of four pens, 25 birds each, of CX cockerals with feed variations. One will be high protien,one medium and one corn only.

    What I have been readiing about is the actual harm done by feeding whole grains (wheat, barley, oats and I think the other was Rye) . . .
  3. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    17% Del's flock raiser from beginning to end on this batch. $9.99 a bag. On my second bag after 2 weeks with 48 new CX. They look to be progressing just fine, similar to my other birds. It will be interesting to see how these finish up. These are all Roos from Welp. Started out with 79, traded 30 away, lost one so far. They all look healthy and bright, but they are getting ugly now.

    My past 3 batches I used 24% starter for the beginning, then switched over to Purina Flock Raiser. They turned out fine, 5.5lb hens, 6.5lb roos. These were straight run from the feed store. Spendy birds, but good results at 8 weeks. Probably close to $8.50-9.00 a bird.

    With as few birds as I hatch, it doesn't make sense to buy 2,000 pounds of food to get a price break when I'll need 850-900lbs of food. Assuming my costs, with nothing added for electricity or water, just food and cost of feed, they "SHOULD" cost me $5.05-5.25 per bird. We'll see.
  4. Neil Grassbaugh

    Neil Grassbaugh Songster

    Sep 1, 2008
    Ha ha Jeff-

    Call me if you need my input. Be more than happy to help out a fellow poultry raiser that has to make bank payments before the money for living expenses is counted.
  5. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    Quote:[​IMG] Isn't that the truth.

    Seriously though... I'm a bit lost, I here anywhere from 15% to a 23%. I remember what you told me a while back that most commercial houses don't really bother with protein but more on the balance of the amino acids. However, I ... like most don't have access to that kind of feed. I'm stuck working with my feed mill to try and make up a good ration that's good and affordable. Which they seem to think is the 22% premix that they have on hand. I say, I'm wasting my money because it's too much protein, but what do I know. I'm not sure if you noticed but feed prices have shot through the roof, which they normally do right before the grain is harvested but we are a few weeks into harvesting and still no relief. I'm not going to lie, it's tough making that house payment from a poultry income which I have successfully done as I quite roofing last fall. However, money is tight until Thanksgiving and feeding turkeys is no joke.

    What I paid this week for feed:

    $456 for a ton of 28% for some 4 week old poults that I'm afraid that may not hit 10-12 pounds by Thanksgiving
    $386 for a ton of 20% which will give me about 10 days worth of food and my next processing date is three weeks away because the hatchery I'm using slipped up in August and I didn't get my chicks
    $295 for a ton of 16% grower for the big turkeys which will last about 12 days
    $275 for a ton of 16% layer that will last about 3 weeks

    Total in feed expense : $1,412.00

    So as you can see, if I can cut unneeded protein cost out of my bottom line, I save money and can add to my living expense.... and just maybe one day I can add to my fun fund. [​IMG]

    Oh well, I will have to give you a call here... the waters worked great this summer... the biggest issue was the hens wanting to roost / jump on them but other than that they worked good. The hen house is on slats so no bedding so I didn't have to worry about water leaking, even though it did not. I just took them down actually as I didn't want them to freeze..... as I have to heat my house first before the layer house.

  6. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Crowing

    Jun 19, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Posting because I want to follow this thread. I too have always wondered about protein levels.
  7. barrybro

    barrybro Songster

    May 22, 2009
    SW Michigan
    I am in Michigan and I am feeding 24%. My broilers are at 4.5 weeks. My big fear is the cold nights (40 degrees). I want to make sure they don't use all their energy to stay warm.

  8. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Songster

    Apr 29, 2007

    I understand the concept but more carbs would keep them warm. So I wonder if a lower protein (less soy) and more carbs (corn) would actually benefit them? From what I have read, higher protein is used when it's hot out and less when it's cooler.

    Something to think about.... but when I'm cold I don't eat a steak.... I go for soups with some kind of pasta. See I think the extra protein may actually hinder the growth rate to an extent.
  9. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    Hey! What happened to the pic of your "city girlfriend"?

  10. ourflockof4

    ourflockof4 Chirping

    Apr 9, 2010
    Northern Ohio
    Quote:It may. The only thing though is that if they get more carbs then they need they will store it as fat, so a fattier bird. Thats why some poeple push the corn to finish and have a fatty bird.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by