Roosters need less protein, how to feed them?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by RenoHuskerDu, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. RenoHuskerDu

    RenoHuskerDu Songster

    Aug 8, 2018
    Central Texas
    Howdy. Other great threads in here about layers have mentioned that only layers need 16% or more protein and supplemented calcium. They've mentioned that roosters don't need all that schme.

    We feed all our birds from two big feeders, one in the coop and one outside but under a roof. Our lazy rooster eats out of those, as do all the birds. And they free range around about an acre.

    Will it hurt a rooster to eat high protein and calcium feed? Has anybody found an alternative? I can't imagine trying to chase him down and make him eat in a special place.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  2. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Conserve Heritage Breed Livestock

    Apr 11, 2016
    NW Missouri
    Roosters don't need less protein, they need less calcium.
  3. Amatsuhono

    Amatsuhono Chirping

    Oct 30, 2018
    San Benito, TX
    Protein is not the issue. Calcium is. Feed an all flock feed and offer oyster shell on the side.
  4. Dr.GarryTTucker

    Dr.GarryTTucker Songster

    May 1, 2018
    Southeast Texas
    For my studies the extra calcium will harm their processing organs. But those studies didn’t show issues for a couple of years. There are several schools of thought. 1) give all feed with no calcium and just offer egg shells and oyster shells in separate container. 2) feed layer rations and worry about health issues down the line. 3) feed layer rations and get rid of the rooster :lau. Jk
    But even if you have 2 separate bowls one with layer rations and one without, there is nothing keeping him from eating the layer ration one.
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  5. red horse ranch

    red horse ranch Crowing

    Jan 24, 2014
    Buffalo Wyoming
    My roosters have always eaten the 17% layer feed that the hens get. It hasn't caused problems that I have noticed. It's not uncommon for my roosters to live 6 to 9 years old. I have a 9 year old rooster now. ;)
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    When in maintenance mode, mature roosters have a similar requirement for protein that a hen has when not in lay. When the hen goes into lay she needs additional protein to sustain egg production. The amount of protein I use for hens in lay is at least 16%, usually a little more. When both sexes are in the more intensive part of molt, they may do better on more protein than required for maintenance. The amount of protein I use for molting adults is in the range of 18 to 20%, partly because some hens remain in lay. The apparent protein requirements may be impacted by caloric needs. When it is cold, they need more energy, but the protein needed remains roughly the same. When is gets really cold, you may be able to meet protein requirements with a lower protein diet because the birds eat more of it.

    My roosters, when not in molt, are kept on diets with protein levels ranging from 12% to 14%. That starts in December and ends in roughly May. My roosters and hens start replacing wing feathers in May and do not finish until all new tail feathers are completely in. The elevated protein diet for roosters start roughly in August as the tail feathers begin to drop out.

    When they are getting all nutrition from a quality forage diet, protein intake appears to be consistently higher than what I provide with feeds. Insects are and better parts of greens are hard to beat with respect to nutrient quality.

    Backwards way to explain things.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
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  7. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Conserve Heritage Breed Livestock

    Apr 11, 2016
    NW Missouri
    Until this past couple months I had fed all my breeder birds layer ration with no extra calcium provided. I had fed this way for many years. And in all this time 90% of my breeder roosters never live past 3 years old. Most die around 2.5 years. A few will live longer "5-8 years" but rarely. My hens however live totally normal ages. My roosters act totally normal, still breed and produce chicks, eat and drink normally. Then all of a sudden they just die. Sometimes with a couple days warning that they are doing poorly, sometime they just drop dead. I'm convinced it has to be the excess calcium in the feed.
  8. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    This has in general been my experience. Apparently liver damage is like that. The rooster is fine until the liver finally packs up.
  9. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Conserve Heritage Breed Livestock

    Apr 11, 2016
    NW Missouri
    I've heard liver and kidney damage.
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  10. HenOnAJuneBug

    HenOnAJuneBug Crowing

    May 20, 2015
    I feed my whole flock (includes 4 roosters) Dumor chick starter/grower feed (20% protein) because it's low in calcium and cheaper than Purina Flock Raiser (also 20%). I mix it a big bowl with water into a slush, and they all love it and look great. If I could find a low calcium feed with a lower % protein, and of course cheaper, I'd use that instead.

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