Too much protein?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by lamlamfrizzle, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. lamlamfrizzle

    lamlamfrizzle Chirping

    Apr 5, 2013
    For those familiar with getting percentages when making your own chicken feed..... please help!

    My feed consists of:

    50 lbs Whole Oats

    25 lbs Spring Wheat

    15 lbs Black Oil Sunflower Seeds

    9 lbs Flaxseed

    I used a calculator to determine the protein percent and it gave me 28.85 total %. Is this right?! If so... what would be the CORRECT ratios (pounds of each for approx 100 total pounds) of these 4 ingredients for 16% protein? It has to be these four based on availability and price (in my area). THANK YOU!!!!!!!!
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Do you know for sure what your what protein % your ingredients actually are? They can vary quite a bit in some cases, ie the type of whole/unhulled oats usually sold for livestock feed are often fairly low (the ones at the local feed mill are around 10% protein) and whole BOSS (16%) etc. Using 10, 12, 16, 23% I'm getting 12.6/10/7 protein/fat ?
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I'm assuming the bulk of your food will be oats and wheat.
    Wheat can range from 12-14% and oats slightly higher.
    If you're using whole sunflower seeds, the protein percentage is quite low about 12-14% compared to meal(40%) or hulled sunflower seeds 20-25%.
    So to be conservative, the oats, wheat and whole sunflower seed will average about 12% protein so you can mix and match with availability.
    The highest protein ingredient will be the flax but that is only 18-20% protein.
    To get a 17% protein feed, the ingredients would need to be about 5 parts flax and 1 part of a mix of the other 3.
    I wouldn't feed anything that is 5 parts of one seed to 1 part of everything else.
    The reason being, any single food stuff, though nutritious will be deficient in very many things. It's like a person living their life on plums. They're good for you, but plums alone will kill you in time.
    If you have dehulled sunflower seed, that will be your high protein source.
    You can use the Pearson's square to calculate ratios.
    Keep in mind that many of the protein percentages listed on the chart to the left of that page are inaccurate. Some are off by quite a lot.

    So to answer your initial question, no. It isn't too much protein, in fact it is low.
    Humans have 9 amino acids that are essential because we can't synthesize them from other AAs.
    Chickens have 14, arginine, glycine, serine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, cystine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
    It isn't just total dietary protein you're trying to achieve. You have to have the proper blend of essential amino acids.
    In effect, a deficiency of any of the essential amino acids is the same as a deficiency of protein in general.
    This is known as the limiting amino acid effect and can be visualized as a barrel with each stave made up of one of those 14 amino acids. If one or more are short, that's all the water the barrel will hold. and amino acids/protaa.htm
    All your ingredients are low in lysine.
    Lysine deficiency causes slow body and muscle growth, depresses the immune system and a diet deficient in any of the amino acids will also affect feathering and egg production. They will consume more to try to satisfy their needs so they will be fatter and feed conversion rates will be inefficient.

    A lack of any of the amino acids or other essential nutrients will eventually create abnormalities.
    I understand the desire to formulate a feed with feedstuffs one has available but is normally not worth the ensuing problems. If one uses only grains and seed to make up feed, there will also be other deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, trace elements and essential fatty acids.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  4. matt44644

    matt44644 Songster

    Sep 14, 2014
    Sanilac County,Michigan
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
  5. Banjostorm

    Banjostorm In the Brooder

    Apr 17, 2014
    Southern California
    Wow, interesting post ChickenCanoe, very informative.

    What do you feed your flock? Im curious. The young ones, and the adults.
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I've always started with a complete poultry feed as the base or the total ration. That's the best way to assure the chickens have an appropriate balance of all the essential nutrients. Chicken feed isn't a blend of seeds but has a tested guaranteed analysis to contain what they need. It has grains, legumes, minerals, etc., but also added lysine, methionine, selenium, vitamin D and a wide array of things that aren't in seeds alone but needed for healthy, productive chickens.

    I once stocked a wide variety of feeds with all sorts of protein percentages and formulated for different ages. I've simplified things dramatically. I now have as a base feed for all the birds. It is a coarsely ground 16% organic grower. I ferment it to prevent waste. For chicks and molting birds, I mix in 60% fishmeal at a ratio of 1:10 which makes 20% feed.
    I also occasionally use a vitamin supplement in the water, especially when preparing to collect eggs for hatching. The fermented feed gets a starter of a probiotic powder for chickens called Gro-2-Max.
    So basically I'm starting with a complete poultry ration and using an animal source of protein to increase that. Animal protein usually has a complete complement of amino acids. Fishmeal has a lot of other nutrients as well, especially fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids.
    Fishmeal is highly digestible by a wide variety of livestock.

    This also means that the calcium content is about 1% so I make sure that oyster shell is available at all times in a separate container for flocks that are laying.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Which calculator are you using?

    I get a 14.5% protein on mine.
    Here is the numbers I used..

    Oats - 13% protein +/-
    Wheat - 13% protein +/-
    Boss - 16% protein
    Flax/ Linseed - 23% protein +/-

    Now looking at your mix, it looks like your missing a lot of nutrients.
    Your mix looks to be lacking in protein (plant and animal), energy, vitamins and minerals but contains a lot of unneeded fiber.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014

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