What % protein for layers is the best?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by nuttyredhead, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. nuttyredhead

    nuttyredhead Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2010
    Southern NH
    I have 8 month old layers 15, and 1 roo. I have a nasty feather picker in my group and have heard it could be a lack of protein? They are eating Blue Seal Layer pellets 16% protein. They get a cup of scratch daily also.
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    The 16% *should* be fine, but if you are also feeding scratch, they may be eating too much of that and not enough of the pellets, therefore not getting enough protein. I would cut out the scratch altogether for awhile - it should only be used as a treat anyway.

    If you do want to up the protein, you might consider for your next back of feed, getting a grower formula that is a little higher in protein, and supplementing with oyster shell on the side, since the grower doesn't have enough calcium for laying hens.
  3. off-grid hen

    off-grid hen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2011
    Upstate NY
    As far as what protein % is best, you're going to get answers all over the map on that one. But I feed blue seal egg maker crumbles, which is 18% protein I think. It felt right to give them something higher than 16% after reading so many threads about this subject here at BYC. I don't know if it's right or not, and we'll see if I need to change the rations for different times of the year/molt, etc.
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    The others have given good advice, but I also wanted to mention that there are pinless peepers available for feather pickers (blinders) at I think eggcartons.com....or one of those sites, and they sometimes work for people.
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Try a higher percentage on your next bag. You may find that the higher protein of say, 18%, along with the scratch, is just right for you. Scratch does indeed lower the nutritional protein average, but a cup divided among a dozen hens isn't likely to cause much of an issue.

    Simply increasing protein doesn't solve all behavior problems, of course. Feather picking can be simply neurosis, boredom, crowding, etc.
  6. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Have you dusted for mites and lice?
    If not, you could try dusting them and then give them a 18% protein feed. Also try to get a feed that has animal protein in it, the lack of a animal protein in there diet could also course feather picking/eating.


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