Since a lot of folks are interested in what their birds eat, I thought this might be informative.......especially to those who formulate your own rations. First.....a couple ration formulas from 100 years ago. Note that for the most part, they were feeding some variant of Leghorns, but remarkably, their production was still pretty good. And this is what they gave them........ Note the part about "scratch" and how that varied by season. Lesson to be learned here is that layer feed (LF) is not LF is not LF. There are conditions, and one of those is climate considerations. The switch in mix of the scratch took place in the dead of winter when the energy requirements of the hens to maintain body temp is greatest. So if a bird was eating nothing but layer feed that never changes, the only way they can boost their energy intake is to boost feed consumption.........except they get everything in the bag in the process. More protein, more Ca, more salt, more everything. Commercial facilities that mix their own feed can alter this as needed. With only one bag to buy, we can't, so all we can do is supplement it as we see fit, but that comes at a price. Do we really know enough about what we are doing to make an informed decision as to what and how much? A good reason to keep any treats and supplements on the short side..........like no more than 10%? I have no idea what "shorts or middlings" are. But dried beef scraps was the source of protein (soybeans had not entered the picture yet.....at least not large scale). So locally sourced meat scraps is what they used. Charcoal? Perhaps for the mineral content? Author never said. But an interesting summary of what folks used to feed their birds way back when. So on to page 2.........note the part about using grit and oyster shell, milk and wet mash and green food. On the green stuff, they let them graze for it in warmer seasons and provided it to them as sprouts in the winter. So lastly comes the nutritional information from Purina. I have included the bag tag, as it lists the ingredients they currently use: I didn't highlight them, but two key ingredients they list, in addition to % protein, is Lysine and Methionine, but of which are essential amino acids not typically found in soy based protein, which most feed is made from. They don't say, but I assume that is the case. Key point here is "protein" content in and of itself, is meaningless. What matters is the amount of essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of what we describe as "protein". Anyway, this is what the culmination of years of research and science has proven to be the best blend of nutrition to get optimal production from laying hens. When you think about what they used to use and what we have now, things have come a long way. Yet even today, some of the things they knew then are still applicable today. The trick is knowing what to keep and why.