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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by davecash, Sep 19, 2007.
what are good sources of protein for my chickens?
Hmm.....well...protein comes from meats...some on here give dry cat food...as a treat, not a main feed. Im sure dry dog food would work too, if its small enough pieces. Mine love leftover cooked chicken! I know, sounds terrible...but hey, they like it, and its protein.
The best source of protein is a commercial feed ration. They are formulated to meet the requirements of your birds and ensure the proper intake of essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein). I give mine some meat occasionally as a treat but am careful to not give them too many scraps as this will upset the nutritional balance provided by their feed ration. Try to limit treats to less than 10% of their feed intake. I feed about 50 lb of feed per week, so I try to not give them more than 5 lb of treats (scratch, bird seed, meat, veggies, etc).
Fish meal is a source of meat protein, top dressed on the feed if you're using one that is soy based.
I hate the soy based protein feeds. I knew that my birds weren't in the condition they should be and asked tons of questions about what the problem could be. The long time breeders kept coming back to the soy protein. I found a feed that has animal protein and it has made a dramatic difference in their feathers, how they tolerate weather extremes.
Free range birds don't have as much of an issue. My guys have a yard they can hang in during the day but it is not the same thing as being able to let them have all of the property to go hunt down the bugs that would supplement the lack of meat protein.
The best source of protein is a commercial feed ration
I respectfully disagree.....
Ever since the mad cow scare, it's increasingly difficult if not impossible to get meat protein feed. Based on my experience and speaking with many more experienced folks...I think soy protein has it's place, but not as the sole protein.
My chickens- besides free ranging and getting bugs, worms, and whatever else they can catch get protein from my dinner leftovers and they will surround DH and I when cleaning fish or any game we've brought home...yup...they get it raw...just like the wild critters they eat on their own are.
I haven't had any problems finding feed rations with meat protein...
My feed store has both types.
Does anyone feed game bird feed? It has higher protein...
I have some concerns on the very high protein levels in the game bird feed. For some reason I have it stored in my memory banks that too much protein can cause kidney problems. Guess I'll really have to research that to see if its true.
At the moment mine are on grower finisher with a 20% protein rate.
Quote:Robin there are a great deal of differences in the quality of soy and if something is lacking or goes wrong during the processing of it as well as storage problems of the finished feed (and you have had problems with that too) as well the formulation of the feed etc etc etc ... all these different hundreds of factors can affect the quality
(nutritional as well as "storage" factors such as antioxidative additives to keep the feed "fresh")
It is why I automatically give a general supplement with my feed . The NRC minimum requirements upon which the commercial formulations are based are also sadly out of date (this has been complained about for a few years now in the industry news and I have read many papers on nutritional mixes which are now "automatically" being added to the basic formulations to make up for this)...
Also, whenever there is any stress ... be that from weather or parasites or subclinical illness... there will always be to one extent or another malabsorption of nutrients to one degree or another which willl also require supplementation ....
Pay very close attention to the poultry feed you are feeding. Much of it now is certified vegetarian, meaning you are not feeding your chickens chicken meal. That eliminates any possibility of the 'mad cow' issues.
There are two main sources of protein in your chicken feed. The first is grain, which contains varying percentages of protein (corn is the lowest around 9%). The grain used will be whatever is cheapest at the time of milling. It can be wheat, barley, oats, corn, etc.
The second source is seed meal. This is what's leftover after seeds have been pressed for their oil. The bits of seed average around 40% protein. So as you can see, it's simply mass to multiply the protein percentage by weight to get your desired protein percentage.
The other source not mentioned is fish meal. It's great stuff. Chickens are omnivores, they do need some meat in their diet. I wouldn't hesitate to use fish meal; but I use it as a top dressing since their feed is a complete ration.
Other easy sources of protein for your birds:
1) If you are using pasture rotation, rototill a strip of ground in their 'pen' each week. They will feast on bugs, worms, etc, as well as fertilizing the ground.
2) Legumes. Take your over-ripe peas or beans and throw the whole stalks and pods into their pen. They will pick the peas/beans from the shells.
3) Grow a forage crop for your birds. I let the chickens loose in my field containing oats after I had let the pigs at it. They did a great job cleaning up.
4) Roadkill. Place it in a bucket and drill 1/8" holes in the bottom and a few inches up the side. As the maggots are formed, they fall on the ground where your birds will devour them. They are extremely hig in protein; and you can just harvest protein from thin air! Amazing. Not that I'd ever do it.