Protein %


In the Brooder
10 Years
Apr 1, 2009
I have some dual purpose chicks that I hatched and are raising. I will keep the pullets and butcher the cockrels. They are on 26% gamebird starter right now but I can get a 30% turkey starter what do you all recommend. Thanks
I would save yourself some $ and feed a 21%-23% feed. IMO, chickens can't utilize that much protein. If they could, it wouldn't be called gamebird or turkey feed, as they both require more protein.
Don't know if it is true or not, but a knowledgeable local told me that if you feed much higher than 20% protein free choice you will have chickens that have weak legs within a few weeks...their bodies are made to gain weight quick, but not so fast as the protein content you're saying would have happen. I give my 2 week old meaties free choice starter/grower that has 18% protein and they are already twice as big as the RIR and EEs I hatched at the same time...the RIRs are the smallest(?) for me so far...
Many of the hatcheries and feed stores recommend the higher protein feed.

We have used milled feed from 18 to 20% for these birds and they do fine about 8lbs in 8 weeks with light 23/7. Expect to use 16 to 20lbs of feed per bird.
Our feed store only has chick starter/grower (they say it's both) and it's only %16 :(. There is another feed store, but my Dad fell there in June, went to sleep and never woke up again. I can't bare to go there. There is a Tractor Supply about 40 minutes away. They have a chick starter/grower that it %20 at $19.00 a bag! Will mine be ok on 16%? They are 3 month old Silkies, 2 month old (size large) Polish, and 2(size large) Phoenix. The Polish and Phoenix are going on 2 months old. Thanks! Pamela Pittman.
Also, if there are some show prospects in the group, I want to start showing. Are they having a slow start on the 16% level that will affect their looks or proper development? - Pam
JMO, you should ask this question in another section, as most here in the meat bird section are feeding to get to a cull date, not to show condition. My opinion is that raising your protein from where it is now will not benefit you and may be detrimental. If you have chicks from a line of show quality stock, it might pay you go to a thread about that breed and ask for their advice. If they are not from a quality line and you intend to show chickens at a county fair or something, you can probably cut feed costs considerably by going to a standard grower with 18 to 22% protein and get the growth and plumage you need.

Was trying to hurry because I need to go get some work done. IMO the OP is already feeding too high of protein. I've never used or even heard of a 16% grower. I use 18% to 22% depending on how hard I want to push development, have switched meat birds [CX] to 16% layer crumbles at 6 to 8 weeks and grown them to healthy adulthood, and some breeds probably do not need or can't benefit from even 22%. I believe the quality and type of the protein is more important than the crude percentage levels also.
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