What to feed Broilers...so confused

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by rssnbabybear, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. rssnbabybear

    rssnbabybear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is not my first time raising birds for butcher but is my first time with Broilers. I am trying to find out what feed is in my area. I wanted to go organic, but I'm afraid that it will be too expensive. My next choice was an all natural, non-GMO feed but it only has 18% protein and is a starter/grower. My Aunt (who has done this before) says to get a broiler feed (she said 24-25%). I looked but can't find any except super expensive on-line. Then I read an article that says 21-22% protein is the goal. I am doing a very large number of these for profit and want the healthiest birds possible but also the largest possible. Tips anyone?
    Can I add meal worms or scratch to the starter/grower for more protein? I read some of the other posts here, but still feel like I had questions.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    18% will do if that's all you can find. The more protein you can get the first couple weeks the faster they'll put on weight but you can overdo it. For meat birds I shoot of 20% for about 4 weeks. Then I cut back.

    You can add mealworms for good animal protein. However, scratch will cut the protein. Most scratch grains are about 8-11% protein. That's not what you want. If you do find a 20+% protein and want to use that, you can use scratch with that to cut the protein after 5 weeks to finish them.
     
  3. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Scratch would not give you more protein. Some neighbors use flock raiser or bird grower that can also be used for turkeys and that has a higher protein (and is more expensive.) and some throw handfuls of dog or cat kibble for treats. I do give my birds kibble to get them through a molt faster so that does up the protein.
    I do know too many meal worms can change the flavor of eggs.
     
  4. rssnbabybear

    rssnbabybear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. It sounds like meal worms would be a great addition to the feed that I'm looking at. Any guess how much to add to the feed? The bags will be 40-50lbs, so how much could I mix in the bag to give them? I am feeding 50 birds. They are only 5 days old now. Can they take meal worms this early? I will continue to keep my eyes open for a different feed, but for now this may be my only option.
    And thank you dekel1804 for the advice about different egg flavor. These won't be laying, but I would probably have ended up feeding some to my layer hens. I don't want to change how their eggs taste.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Broilers won't be laying eggs so the flavor of eggs shouldn't matter. I know that too much fish or fish meal will flavor eggs but I've never heard that about mealworms. Free ranging chickens will be eating insects, worms and all sorts of bugs. I really don't think egg flavoring from those things is possible.
    Mealworms are probably 50-70% protein. So about a 1:10 ratio would get you to around 22+ % protein. That would be pricey. Better to use the 18% protein and keep searching in your area for a higher protein feed.
     
  6. rssnbabybear

    rssnbabybear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    YIKES! Yeah, I did the math on that...For the number of birds I'm raising, I would be spending nearly $1000 just on meal worms. :( I'm starting to feel defeated. What is using the 18% feed going to do as far as finish weight/finish time? I'm really concerned. As I said, most of these are for profit, so my people are expecting a decent sized finish in about 6-8 weeks. Plus, the longer I have to feed them, the more money I loose.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Don't be overly concerned. Lots of people raise them on 18%. It may put them back a week or so on weight. You can't do with what you don't have.

    Then go to google, enter your zip code and when the "Find Nearby" link shows up, enter 'Feed Stores'.
    It will give you all of them in your vicinity. Call them and ask if they have a feed greater than 18% protein. If they don't carry it, ask if they can get a few bags on the next order.
    In either case, that will be cheaper than mealworms or paying to ship feed.
    You can add a can of mackerel weekly to up the protein on the cheap.
     

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