Varied flock. What to feed.

natyvidal

Songster
Mar 1, 2018
380
418
182
Dade City, Florida
Hi everyone! Thank you ahead of time. Two questions.

So…I changed the feed from feed store to feed mill. Mostly because I end up saving money. also, because I get fast service and they do not run out of it!
1. My hens were laying more than a dozen eggs a day two to three months ago. I had so many eggs I had to feed them back to them and give away. (There are some new ones in the flock and their eggs are still small. Which it’s ok.) But, after their yearly treatment for coccidiosis, molting time and change of food… they are barely laying eggs! I’ve considered all the other options. Molting and treatment, but that is the same as the last three years! Could it be the feed? Veggies? Change in nutrition? Also, some of them are three year olds. Could it be they are slowing down? But, up until the moment of treatment they where laying a lot of eggs even for the old ones. Input is welcomed! Oh, yes! They free range every day!

2. I have a varied flock. Layers, meat birds, ducks, quail, a pair of African geese and a turkey. (Turkey is invited to hanksgiving dinner! So he will be gone!) So I have feed for layers 16%, all Flock 20%, turkey 30%, and scratch as a treat for all of them. How can I cut back in feed when they are all adults?

For example: do my quails need to continue eating 30% feed when I have them for eggs and breeding purposes?

Is it possible to feed everyone, including the meat birds, after they are juveniles, the 20% all flock?

When I buy or incubate new babies from any of them I know they need special chick/poult/young feed.

Thank you for your input. 🤗
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
5,180
15,590
606
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
SO, I can't answer for the quail and the turkeys. For everyone else, all flock at 20% protein, free choice oyster shell on the side.

You CAN feed everyone higher protein still, by mixing your 30% with a 20% in some ratio, but i've not found it cost effective to do so.

I raise (when not feeding for my top egg buyer) all my chicks and ducks 24% to 8 or 9 weeks (whenever they get moved out to join the main flock), and 20% or 18% thereafter. Most of the early growth for meat, overall condition, eventual size is in those first two months of life.

While high protein (20%+) diets do benefit layers in more frequent and larger eggs (measurable, well studied, etc), those measurements are on the order of a couple grams in average egg size, and a couple more eggs over the measurement period. For the typical backyard flock, a 3% increase in egg production, together with a 3% increase in egg weight isn't something you will notice, and the price difference between a 16% feed, a 20% feed, and a 24% feed (or higher) is definitely more than 1.061%... If cost is your only consideration (as it is for commercial production), there's no question. If planning to keep laying chickens as "pets" or beyond their first adult molt, and raising cockerels for table at the same time, the 20% feed becomes far more cost effective.

I have seen a lot of places suggesting 20% feed to "finish" quails after the first twomonths on 28%+ protein feed, but I've not read the studies, and have a lot of distrust of the internet sources generally.
 

natyvidal

Songster
Mar 1, 2018
380
418
182
Dade City, Florida
Random question, do your quail free range? Or do you have to keep them locked up?
If there was a way to free range them without loosing any of them to predators I would, but, after a bad experience where I lost four of the white ones, I am afraid to free range them.

Otherwise to answer your question, no I can't right now. They have to be enclosed.
 

RoosterML

Making Marans Great Again !!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 5, 2018
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Tolland County Connecticut, USA
#1 you don’t need to treat your birds for cocci once they have developed immunity they have it. I would stop that practice. If late in the year with less daytime hours. That is likely the cause of reduction in laying. Also molting is a cause in reduction. Most 1st year hens will lay longer into the year compared to older hens. Your 20% all flock is fine for everyone, layer feed will surely benefit your layers. I personally would mix 50/50 all flock and layer and feed to everyone. After roughly 8 weeks if you are keeping quail only for eggs regular old layer feed in fine also.
 
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ChickenLeg

Crowing
9 Years
Feb 15, 2012
1,897
2,618
337
Sounds like your hens are getting older and after moultin they might not kick start til spring, thats how it tends to be with hens on my property. 16% feed is cheaper here than higher protein feeds so I feed 16% all year, it does just fine for me during laying season. I can get 22% for $1 more a bag so I picked up a bag to feed to the moultin birds to help them bounce back then theyll be on 16% too.. I cant speak for your other birds just chickens lol.

Also Ive tested raising chicks after 6-8 weeks on 16% crumble and on 20% chick starter, the ones on 16% grew just as big and healthy as the ones on 20%, so if you have access to a 16% that is free of oyster shell you might want to do your own experiment raising 2 pens of chicks one of higher protein and one on 16%. Im sure some breeders will not recommend 16% for growing birds but hey it worked for me and I have a big and healthy flock so do what works for you 🤟🤟
 

AleyMoore

Chirping
Nov 9, 2021
35
139
69
We also have Coturnix quail and we feed 30% protein from hatch to cull (8 weeks), since you use yours for breeding and eggs I’d suggest looking into a game bird maintenance feed (the one TSC sells is 12.5% protein). We also mix our 30% protein feed with 16% layer crumbles!
 

natyvidal

Songster
Mar 1, 2018
380
418
182
Dade City, Florida
#1 you don’t need to treat your birds for cocci once they have developed immunity they have it. I would stop that practice. If late in the year with less daytime hours. That is likely the cause of reduction in laying. Also molting is a cause in reduction. Most 1st year hens will lay longer into the year compared to older hens. Your 20% all flock is fine for everyone, layer feed will surely benefit your layers. I personally would mix 50/50 all flock and layer and feed to everyone. After roughly 8 weeks if you are keeping quail only for eggs regular old layer feed in fine also.
Yes I know that it is not recommended but, I believe it depends on the area they live. I was having a very low hatchability from my hens and ducks the first year and half. And the ones that were hatching some of them were either dying soon after hatching, had blood in the feces or it was very hunter green color. I checked with the vet and it was confirmed. It was coccidiosis. Therefore, the suggestion from the vet was to just treat them once a year for Cocci and just keep an eye on their behavior and feces, rest of the year.

I've been very lucky though with them. No other parasites so far and I am knocking on wood to keep it that way. :fl

HAPPY THANKSGIVING ONE AND ALL!!!!:love
 

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