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Too much protein?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by SunnySideUpGUAM, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. SunnySideUpGUAM

    SunnySideUpGUAM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    GUAM True Paradise
    Is there such a thing as too much protein? I'm currently feeding 25% protein to my 6wk pullets, 14wk pullets, and 3 roosters. Will too much protein affect the development of growing pullets intended for egg production? Will too much protein affect laying hens negatively, by making them too fat? Will too much protein make chickens too fat?
     
  2. Jesusfreak101

    Jesusfreak101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feed an all flock raiser and it has i believe 20 % or more protien i also feed meat scrabs on a daily baises i have a flock of
    Twenty and all are happy and healthy thenalso lay extremely well. I get an egg all but on day from each hen that is laying. Protien is need for them to grow and for the production of the egg itself i cant imagine it would hurt them. Out of
    All twenty of my he s there is only one hen that is possibly fat but it could just be her build. She the biggest hen i have all the way around and she not my domient hen either. She a deleware, i am not exactly sure she fat she could just be extra feathered its hard to tell. But from mine also freerange so they get bugs, lizards, frogs and other protien sources from what we feed them. I also feed scrstch mixed in with the flock raiser its mostly grains. My flock is cery healthy and very active i havent had any health concerns expect for one foot that got cut. Outside of that they all have been healthy happy birds.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    You’ll probably get different opinions on this but yes, my opinion is that you can feed too much of anything, including protein. Sometimes my opinions are not real popular.

    If you look at the different feeds they normally list what birds they are intended for. You won’t find chickens listed on higher protein feeds. There is probably a reason. I’m only talking about chicks intended to be part of a laying flock. Chickens meant to be eaten or show chickens are different.

    When they first hatch chicks do best on a high protein diet. The protein range I normally see for Chick Starter is 20%, but I have no problems personally feeding them as high as 24% the first few weeks. I do that when raising turkeys with the chicks. The higher protein helps them feather out faster and get off to a good start. But after they are feathered out and have that great start, they don’t need that much protein. Commercial operations that want to maximize egg production feed a lower protein feed, usually around 16%, to slow growth and match their growth rate to skeleton growth rate and internal organ maturity after 4 weeks or so on a higher protein feed. They don’t want their chickens growing too fast or laying too soon. They even cut back to a 15% protein feed after about 13 weeks to slow them down some more. If they eat a higher protein feed they normally start laying earlier. Commercial operations don’t want those tiny pullet eggs. They want them to mature a bit so they lay bigger eggs to start with.

    The more protein they eat when growing, the bigger they grow, within limits of course. Since they grow bigger they need to eat a higher protein feed to maintain that bigger body. The higher the protein in the feed the more it generally cost.

    If they eat a high protein diet when laying the eggs get bigger. Some people think that’s great but think of a woman giving birth to a 10 pound baby as opposed to a 7 pound baby. Is bigger always better? Might they have more medical problems like prolapse, egg bound, or internal laying if the eggs are really huge?

    A high protein diet can also cause a hen to release more than one egg yolk a day. If they are released together you might get a huge double yolked egg. If they are released with a little time difference the hen may lay two eggs in the same day. Since a hen makes a limited amount of material for her eggs the second egg can be weird, like have a really thin or soft shell. If the two eggs share time in the shell gland you can get a deformed shell. Some people like these weird eggs, I don’t. An occasional weird egg is not a problem, the hen’s internal egg making factory is fairly complicated and an occasional glitch is not a problem, but I don’t want them on a regular basis.

    Someone on here (I think I know who but am not sure so I won’t mention names) shared a study that showed high protein level scan reduce a rooster’s fertility. (Correction: Excess calcium can cause rooster sterility, not excess protein) Avian gout can be caused by high protein levels but from what I’ve read that’s normally above 30% protein.

    You’ll notice I used a lot of weasel words in here. I’m not saying any of this will definitely without a shadow of a doubt each and every time happen. I’m saying these things “can” happen if you feed too high a protein feed, not that they always do. I just don’t see the benefit in spending extra money for higher protein feeds that can lead to problems. Other than in the first few weeks I personally limit the maximum amount of protein I feed them to 20% and generally use 16%.

    There is another side to this. It’s not about what is in one bite. What counts is the total grams of protein they eat in a day, and that is spread out over several days. If they eat a lot of lower protein stuff in addition to the higher protein feed, it balances out better.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  4. SunnySideUpGUAM

    SunnySideUpGUAM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @ jesusfreak good to know! I'm hoping to find a good all around feed for all my birds except the layer, that way i only need to get two types of feed.
     
  5. SunnySideUpGUAM

    SunnySideUpGUAM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @Ridgerunner i feel you on the spending extra money for higher protein, and this was a concern to me but my local feed store sells the high protein feed less than chick starter! so i thought why not give it a try. i just have to grind the pellets down for chicks and feed pullets and roosters all out of the same bag.
     
  6. Jesusfreak101

    Jesusfreak101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The flock raiser is great for all ages and i give oyster shells on the side 24/7 access to it. I give 3quarts of the flock raiser/scratch mix once a day and scrabs and whatever through out the day but with all twenty they barely finish the 3quarts we give.
     
  7. SunnySideUpGUAM

    SunnySideUpGUAM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i wanted to try an all flock feed also but none of the local feed stores carry it. do you have a mixed age flock? cuz i have from chicks to layers and roosters and i don't really like to switch feed if i don't really have to, but if its worth it ill ask the feed store to bring some in.
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Runs With Chickens Premium Member

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    I like what Ridgerunner had to say, I have always added scratch into my younger birds ration to slow down their growth and in effect slow down the onset of lay, I don't have very many troubles with my birds. I'd have to agree too much of anything can be bad, so maybe you're in a good situation to use scratch to cut your protein down. I believe in changing the ration to meet the nutritional needs during each season.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
  9. SunnySideUpGUAM

    SunnySideUpGUAM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    GUAM True Paradise
    thanks
     
  10. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    HI.

    They can't really have too much protein...

    Protein is easily eliminated by the birds body... not like some vitamins and minerals like calcium.. which can build up to harmful levels.

    The reason adult chicken feed in lower in protein is that the birds don't need such high levels as the chicks.

    Also adding more protein makes the feed more expensive.. and its just a waste of money.
     

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