What % protein should I be feeding?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by snuvy, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. snuvy

    snuvy In the Brooder

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    Does anyone know of any general guidelines for what % protein we should be feeding backyard chicks/chickens? Online, different feeds come with different % amounts. From what I've seen:

    18 to 22% for first 6 weeks
    18% for week 7-18
    16% for week 19 and on

    Is this the correct protein % for my chickens?

    The reason I ask is because I have some 2 week old chicks, but the starter/grower (Purina) crumbles I give them are at 18% protein. However, some other brands have starter feeds (first 6 weeks) at 20 to 22% protein. Should I be feeding a higher (22% protein) feed to my 2 week old chicks, or is the 18% feed suitable?

    (For context, I have a mix of ornamental, light, medium and heavy breed chicks--can they all eat the same % protein, or do light vs heavy have different protein requirements?).

    Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  2. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

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  3. snuvy

    snuvy In the Brooder

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  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. .....

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    Those are just guidelines - plenty of folks quite successfully feed their flocks "flock raiser", a grower ration, or similar product to their birds for their entire life---the higher protein content (generally around 20%) makes it less of a concern about reducing their overall protein intake when supplementing with scraps, etc that have lower protein content....and it makes it easy to keep a mixed flock of various aged/gendered birds or laying/non-laying, etc -- the offering of oyster shell/other supplemental calcium provides the needs of your laying birds on this ration.
     
  5. snuvy

    snuvy In the Brooder

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    But as two week old chicks, is the 18% starter/grower feed acceptable, or should I up it to 20%? I haven't decided what I'm going to do when they reach laying age (since it's a mixed flock of male/female and light/medium/heavy breed chickens). I read here that some people just use layer feed without a problem whereas others prefer a more general flock raiser with supplements (since the roosters clearly don't need the extra calcium, etc). Thank you!
     
  6. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    As said already that link is only a guideline. I myself would never feed chicks a 18% protein feed, just not enough proteins there.
    What I like to tell people that just starting out is this. Feed a 20% protein non-medicated chick starter from Hatch to Death and at 5 months of age you can mix in treats like scratch grain and table scraps BUT it should be 10% or less of there diet. That like saying for every 100 lbs of feed that your bird takes 10 lbs can be scratch and table scraps. When the birds are at the point where there laying simply put out a bowl of oyster shells.
    Feeding this way keeps it very simple and you don't have to wonder when to switch feeds and the bird never have to get use to a new feed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
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  7. snuvy

    snuvy In the Brooder

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    Awesome. Thanks for the advice. I'll switch them to a higher % protein feed this weekend.
     

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