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Protien, Growth and Leg Issues

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by WrenAli, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. WrenAli

    WrenAli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 4, 2008
    Lebanon, OR
    Just getting ready to process my first batch and I had some questions about feeding for future batches.

    I fed my chicks on the following schedule:
    first 4 weeks - 20% non-medicated starter
    week 5 - 16% grower
    week 6 & 7 - Ran out of grower and couldn't find any more so they go switched to a 21% Meat Bird until I picked up another bag of grower and mixed them.

    They are huge, at least in my perspective, I am new at this.

    What I was wondering a few things.
    How does higher or lower protein affect the legs? I know this is a weakness in these birds.

    Also how does the protein affect the growth of these birds? The meat bird feed is terribly expensive vs the grower or even the starter. Would I do better to keep the on the starter the entire 7 or 8 weeks even though it says 4 weeks for broilers?

    The last question is if I tractor my birds can I expect to see a reduction in the amount of bagged feed they eat?

    Cheers!
    Ali
     
  2. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Quote:I've never used a grower and have never seen that recommended. Generally broilers are given the meat bird starter/finisher which is what they consume their entire (brief) life.

    Quote:I've never found anything conclusive regarding protein and the leg problems. The only thing I've found are references to calcium being important and that the general broiler/chicken ration is too low for the modern jumbo's. So, I usually toss some bone meal in the food for my meat birds.


    Quote:Broiler feed should be cheaper than chick starter and that's why I recommend and use broiler ration from start to finish.


    Quote:According to Joe Salatin, his birds eat 1/3 less because they're in tractors. I simply cannot believe it's that much, though. If they're truly tractored, I'd maybe honestly expect a 5-10% savings at most. They don't have the right digestive systems to consume grass and get nutrition out of it like he suggests.
     
  3. WrenAli

    WrenAli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 4, 2008
    Lebanon, OR
    Greyfields -
    Thanks! What broiler feed do you use and what is the protein % on it? While I have plenty of feed stores around here I am limited on types of chicken feed. But maybe I can get someone to order a few bags or if I have to I can have it custom milled.

    Coastal only has Meat Bird - $16+ a bag (21%)
    I can get Flock Grower for $12+ a bag but it's only 16%
    The chick starter is in between at $14/bag (20%)
     
  4. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    I currently use the Flock Raiser from Purina, but it's not my frist choice. The Nutrena brand broiler starter/finisher I think is the better formula for chickens. But, the Purina gets delivered to my farm free of charge so that's what I go with.

    I think with a ton discount the flock raiser comes in at $14.50 per bag. That's up from $11.89 this time last year.
     
  5. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

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    May 6, 2007
    Columbia Gorge, OR
    RIP OFF! [​IMG] I can't believe feed prices now. It is like they want us to eat crappy Safeway chickens the rest of our (brief) lives. [​IMG]
     
  6. chickabator

    chickabator Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 30, 2007
    ky
    what are you suppose to feed them if you can't get broiler feed/finisher? where I live they don't have it anywhere . I would probably have to drive over 100 miles one way to get it and gas is too high for that. right now I have mine on regular chick started(medicated) I can get game bird starter but not the game bird feed and the game bird starter is 28% protein. What can I feed them?
     
  7. WrenAli

    WrenAli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 4, 2008
    Lebanon, OR
    Ask your feed store if they can order you the feed you need. I have had to do this with my horses in the past. Darn picky mare who would only eat one brand of beet pulp.

    I agree that feed prices are a rip off.. I am seriously starting to think about mixing my own feed. I do it for my horses and it is MUCH cheaper.. I just have quite a bit of reading to do in my Nutrition book as we didn't cover chicken feeds in my nutrition class.
     
  8. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    Washington State
    Well a "rip off" implies that every single feed producer out there is conspiring to increase prices to gouge consumers. If you tracked grain prices (which are reported weekly in the Capital Press for example) you'd understand exactly why and when the feed prices jumped. Grain and corn crops are being squeezed by the high diesel and you are paying a very large portion if your #50 bag buying the diesel to bring the grain from the midwest to where you live.

    Similar to a grocery store, where the average item of food travels 1500 miles before reaching your store. A very large chunk of your food cost goes into diesel.

    It doesn't make any sense and it isn't sustainable. We need more regional producers of grains and foods, rather than relying in the cheap crap to be hauled out of the midwest. If you can at all producer your own grain, do it. You will be ahead of the game and be profiting at times when traditional producers are sucking, because they're too big or have been doing it too long to change their ways.

    Also, don't buy the crap about biofuels squeezing grain prices. When you look at the tonnage going to biofuels, it's insignificant. Then, maybe read some of Michael Pollan's books and find some very commical information about the ammount of corn grown in the US for no apparent reason other than to grow corn.
     
  9. WrenAli

    WrenAli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lebanon, OR
    It's not the feed producers I am worried about ripping me off. They don't make enough money off thier crops in my opinion. It is the middle men and marketers that I know are trying to turn a buck. I am only to aware of gas and diesel prices and the fluctuations in the grain market.

    While I am not sure about my local feed store, where I buy my bagged chicken feed, the local place I buy my grain from gets their grain from Eastern Oregon. Another local feed mill I know also gets their grain from Oregon/Washington. There is a lot of feed sold locally that is produced in mills in the NW and NW grains. As it is just not worth it to get grains shipped from the Midwest.

    One of the issues with Bio-fuels is that they are using grains that have been modified to produce more oil and be less nutritive. That is the reason that biofuel production has caused corn prices to rise.

    I do agree that we are producing corn just to produce corn. The reason behind that is that the farmers are guaranteed to get the money for the crop even if they can't sell it at market. The government will buy it at a preset price every time.
     
  10. chickabator

    chickabator Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 30, 2007
    ky
    Okay I went to virginia and bought some game bird starter medicated it is 28% protein and they had some stuff called flock raiser it is 20% protein it is in pellets that look like layer pellets I started them on the 28% protein yesterday after I got home when do I switch to the flock raiser it says on the bag lable to give it to them from hatch to finish so which one should I be giving them? I just have six because we have not tried to raise them before and it is so hot out here right now and we are afraid they might have a heart attack or stroke or something in the heat they are 3 days old now
     

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