What's in your chicken feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by froggie71, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. froggie71

    froggie71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2009
    Shamong, NJ
    My boys are doing a 4-H presentation on the feeding of the flock. We have already taken tags from several different feed bags ( Not too much info there) Basically I think they need information on what is in feed so for example why 16% protein and what is the protein. Any input from chicks to grower to layers. Mixed flocks (ducks/geese/guineas/chickens). If you were to make your own feed what do you put in it. As an example of how feeding chickens from 2 flocks differ we had chicks this past spring that we raised from the same place another 4-H family had as well. We brooded our chicks seperately and gave them chick starter, but when the were old enough to join the adults they did not get grower, but ate layer feed like the rest of the flock. The other 4-H family gave their girls grower. When we went to a show over the summer their girls were larger than ours. Now however they are the same size. Theirs did not start laying any sooner than ours. So, is there a purpose to grower?
    Looking forward to any feedback. My boys will be doing research elsewhere as well, but the info from this site is invaluable. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'll not go into most of your questions. Since you are 4-H, your county extension service should be able to find you some good resources to answer those.

    The main difference in Grower and Layer is the calcium. There are some minor differences in the percentage of different nutrients, but calcium is the only really significant one. Too much calcium is not good for growing chicks. It can cause bone damage or damage to the internal organs, mainly kidneys and the liver. Here are a couple of articles about that.

    Avian Gout

    British Study – Calcium and Protein

    The problem I have with these studies is that they all start the chicks off at Day 1 on feed that has the extra calcium. I don't know at what age it ceases to be a problem. When can you start feeding it and it not be a problem? 8 weeks? 12 weeks? The general recommendation is to not feed them the extra calcium until they need it, but I don't know if that is from a cost effectiveness viewpoint or a health viewpoint. I'd think both. And it is not the percent calcium they eat. It is the total volume per day they eat. If they free range and eat a lot of stuff that is not the high calcium feed, the total calcium per day is less.

    For a flock that will eventually become a Laying flock, you normally feed a fairly high percentage protein Starter for 4 to 8 weeks, say 22% protein. That basically provides a nice boost to get them started off while they are growing in their first feathers. Then from whenever you stop the Starter until you start Layer, you feed a 16% Grower. That gives them plenty of protein to grow and develop and gives their internal organs and bones time to mature instead of putting on a lot of extra weight too early. You can also feed them a 15% Grower/Developer from 13 weeks until you switch to layer if you wish. Whenever they start to Lay or around 20 weeks, you switch to Layer, which has the higher level of calcium for the egg shells.

    Instead of feeding them the 16% Grower or 15% Developer, many people on this forum feed a higher protein feed during this time period, like a 20% protein Flock Raiser. That really does not hurt the chicks as long as you don't get ridiculous and feed them a very high protein feed. The Starter, them Grower, then Developer, then Layer is what has been determined to be most efficient from a cost viewpoint to develop good commercial layers. Good commercial layers means that specific breeds developed to lay a lot of large eggs do well from an egg laying and health perspective on that feed regimen when that feed regimen is all they eat. Most of us on this forum either let them range on green stuff or feed them treats in addition to the standard feed regimen. We are not normally as worried about the cost per egg since we are mostly not in a commercial business with our chickens. We don't depend on our chickens to support our families.

    I'm not a trained poultry nutrition expert with a PhD. This is just what I have gathered reading about the subject. Your county extension agent should be able to line you up with an expert, probably at your State Land Grant University. Good luck!!!
  3. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Starter --
    A balanced feed meant as the sole ration for chicks from hatching to twelve weeks of age.
    At 12 weeks of age the birds can be changed to Grower or Developer. Starter can be Medicated or Non-Medicated when Medicated it is with either *Amprolium or Lasalocid.
    Starter is available in Mash, Crumble or Pellet form

    Stater/ Grower --
    A balanced feed meant as the sole ration for chicks from hatching to chickens begin to lay, this feed can be Medicated or Non-Medicated. If medicated it will be with either Amprolium or Lasalocid. Starter/ Grower is available mostly in Crumble or Pellet form.

    Grower --
    Feed as the sole ration to chicks 12 weeks of age as a finisher. Grower feed is meant to feed until the chickens begin to lay, then bird can be switched to a complete Laying. Most Grower feed is Non-Medicated but some are Medicated with Bacitracin. Grower is mostly available in available in Crumble or Pellet form.

    Finisher --
    See above for Grower

    Layer --
    Feed as the sole diet to laying hens maximum production of eggs. Do not feed Layer feed to poultry, which are not in production because of the high calcium levels in the diet. This is particularly true of young growing birds. Layer is available in Mash, Crumble or Pellet form.

    Layer/ Breeder --
    Feed as the sole diet to laying hens and breeders for maximum production and for improved hatchability. Do not feed Layer feed to poultry, which are not in production because of the high calcium levels in the diet. This is particularly true of young growing birds. Layer/ Breeder is available in Pellet form.

    Scratch Grain/ Corn (Maze) --
    Is mostly used as a treat and should for the most part be feed separate from there sole feed (example - there Layer feed). Scratch should not exceed 40% of there diet when feeding a high protein feed.

    Grit --
    Grit is small pieces of rock that a chicken eats to help it grind up food. Grit can be purchased at most farm supply stores as crushed granite, but if your birds have access to the ground, they will find their own grit.

    Oyster Shells --
    A Calcium supplement used to increase intake of laying fowl. Oyster Shells should not be offered to Non-Laying Fowl (Chicks, Growers, Non-Laying Hens and Roosters).

    Amprolium - which goes by the trade names Corid and Amprovine, Amprolium, Amprol, Anticoccid and is a thiamine analog, competitively inhibits the active transport of thiamine (B1).

    Lasalocid - goes by the trade name Bovatec. Bovatec (lasalocid) is a coccidiocide that kills coccidia. It is an ionophore that moves potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium into the cell causing the cell to burst. Bovatec works primarily on a single developmental stage of coccidia, providing a more narrow range of action than Deccox.

    Bacitracin - Bacitracin can also go by the names Bacitracin Methylene Disalicylate and BMD. Bacitracin in Broiler And Replacement Chickens is an aid in prevention and control of necrotic enteritis caused by Clostridium perfringens susceptible to bacitracin methylene disalicylate.

    How to Read a Feed Label, By Jackie Nix

    Product Name and Brand Name (if any) States the name of the product and the brand it is marketed
    under. For example, in the Sweetlix 16:8 Meat Maker mineral, 16:8 Meat Maker is the product name
    and Sweetlix is the brand name.
    Purpose Statement States the specific type of animal for which the feed is designed and any specific
    conditions that may apply. For example, “for meat goats on pasture” is a purpose statement. When the
    product name includes a description of the species and animal class, the purpose statement may be
    Guaranteed Analysis This is lists the amounts of nutrients that are guaranteed to be present in the
    feedstuff. The specific information required will vary according to the species for which the feed is
    intended. Requirements also vary slightly from state to state. Typically, most goat feeds will list the
    minimum amounts of crude protein, crude fat, vitamins and minerals (excluding calcium and salt which
    are listed as a range) included, as well as the maximum amount of crude fiber. State inspectors
    periodically test commercial feeds to make sure that they contain the amounts of nutrients stated in the
    guaranteed analysis. If a feed does not match its guaranteed analysis, the state will stop the sale of that
    feed and may levy fines against the feed manufacturer.
    Drug Purpose Statement Medicated feeds are required to include the word “medicated” in addition to
    the intended purpose(s) of the added drug or drugs. The drug purpose statement may include specific
    conditions that qualify the drug claim(s). The label is also required to list the active drug ingredient(s)
    added and its concentration in the feed.
    Ingredients A list of the ingredients found in the feed is required on the label. However, in order to
    protect the confidentiality of manufacturers’ formulas and to allow flexibility to deal with ingredient
    availability, some major ingredients are often listed on the label in collective terms. Some commonly
    used collective terms are:
    Plant protein products - represents one or more of 41 different feedstuffs including: various forms of
    soybeans, cottonseed, yeast and other plant meals.
    Grain products – represents any of the normal forms (whole, cracked, ground, etc.) of several grain
    products such as corn, oats, barley, etc.
    Forage products – represents inclusion of one or more of several different forages including alfalfa,
    coastal Bermuda, lespedeza, etc..
    Roughage products – represents inclusion of one or more high roughage feedstuffs such as various types
    of hulls and pulps (cottonseed hulls, beet pulp, etc.).
    Processed grain by-products – as the name implies, includes over 40 by-products of grain processing
    including wheat middlings, brewers dried grains, corn gluten feed, etc.
    Molasses products - includes various forms of cane, citrus and beet molasses.
    Animal protein products – includes various forms of animal by-products. The FDA prohibits use of
    mammalian protein sources in ruminant feeds, therefore, most feed manufacturers will not use this
    collective term on their label. Some approved animal protein products for ruminants include hydrolyzed
    poultry feathers, blood meal, fish meal, whey, dried milk, etc. If animal protein products are included in
    goat feeds, most manufacturers will list specific rather than collective terms.

    The list of ingredients will also include all sources of minerals and any vitamins, preservatives or
    additives included. Minerals are typically listed in specific terms, for example, calcium carbonate, salt or
    sodium selenite. Every ingredient in the product must be accounted for either in collective or specific
    terms. Ingredients are often listed in order of the amount included in the feed from greatest to least;
    however, this is not a requirement. Some list ingredients in alphabetical order. Some combine the two
    methods and list the major ingredients in order of amount and the minor ingredients like trace minerals
    in alphabetical order.

    Feeding Directions Feeding directions vary from vague statements to very detailed instructions. There
    are no guidelines on how detailed feeding directions need to be. Most directions will give you an
    indication of how much product should be consumed per head per day; for example, “ feed to goats on
    pasture free choice at the rate of 2-4 oz. per head per day.” In some cases the instructions state a range of
    medication levels; for example, “feed continuously to provide not less than 60 mg or more than 200 mg
    of (drug) per head per day”. In these cases, you need to do a little math to determine the feeding rate.
    Let’s assume that the drug in this example was included at a concentration of 800 mg/Lb. 60 mg
    divided by 800 mg/Lb equals 0.075 Lb. or 1.2 oz. For the upper range, 200 mg divided by 800 mg/Lb is
    0.25 Lb. or 4 oz. Therefore, the feeding rate for this product is from 1.2 to 4 oz. per head per day.
    Warning or Cautionary Statements Any applicable warnings or cautionary statements are either
    included as part of the feeding directions or listed separately. An example would be “Caution: contains
    added copper. Do not feed to sheep.”
    An AFFCO approved label will also include the name and address of the manufacturer and a quantity
    statement, which lists the amount of product per unit.
    In summary, in the United States, the sale of livestock feeds and feed supplements is regulated by the
    individual states. Most state regulatory agencies are members of AFFCO and thus follow AFFCO
    guidelines concerning feed labels. All AFFCO approved labels contain the standard information listed
    above in various forms.

  4. froggie71

    froggie71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2009
    Shamong, NJ
    Thanks so much for all your info. This is great and will really be helpful! I'm hoping to see what some people put into their feed if they make their own as well. [​IMG]
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:If you wish you can look at my BYC page to see what I like to feed.
  6. froggie71

    froggie71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2009
    Shamong, NJ
    Thank you! That is a great page and very helpful [​IMG]
  7. zbraswell92

    zbraswell92 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 6, 2011
    Roswell, Ga
    I have 7 laying hens and 1 Male Pekin Duck. I mix my own feed for my chickens and duck.

    Chicken Layer concoction=
    2- parts whole corn
    7- parts Producers Pride 'All Grain' from TSC [​IMG]
    1 part Whole Oats,
    3/4 part Oyster Shell,
    2- parts BOSS,
    3/4- part Manno Pro Rabbit Feed
    1/2- part grit,
    1.5- part Nutro Natural Choice 'Herring Meal/Rice' Dog Food (crushed-up in to a chunky powder)
    You can feed spaghetti noodles for extra calcium if you'd like too. I do for a treat sometimes.

    I mix this together and all my hens LOVE this. Out of my 7 hens, I have yet to go 1 day without at least 3 eggs(usually around 5-6.) Some people say my mix needs more protein... but I've never had any problems! One of my hens is almost 10 y/o, so I don't expect any eggs from her. Ha, Ha. (My old gal is a Flarry Eyed Gray anyways; A F.E.G. is a somewhat valuable 'game breed.' Game breeds are not good layers.

    My Male Pekin Duck gets=
    2.5 parts Whole Corn,
    5 parts PP 'All-Grain',
    1.5 part Whole Oats,
    1 part Nutro Natural Choice 'Herring Meal/Rice' Dog Food (crushed-up in to a chunky powder)
    1/2 part BOSS,
    1/4 part Manno Pro Rabbit Feed
    0 Grit (he's a free-ranger)

    This formula will also work for Roosters; they do not need any added calcium.

    GOOD LUCK... [​IMG]
  8. froggie71

    froggie71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2009
    Shamong, NJ
    On an interesting note we decided to use ChickensAreSweet recipe. I sent the recipe to our friends at our local feed store so they could tell me what they carry and how much. This is she sent in return.

    Here is my recipe (all is animal-grade except split peas, peanuts, and flax seed):

    10 lb wheat (white or red) .70 lb. 10lbs. $7.00
    10 lb Black Oil Sunflower Seed 10 lbs. $10.50
    5 lb millet .85 5lbs $4.00
    5 lb organic cracked corn (not available as organic) non-organic $3.20
    5 lb rolled oats (not available)
    5 lb rolled barley (not available)
    5 lb split peas (not available)
    4 lb flax seed (animal grade) $1.40 lb. 4lb. $5.60 organic flax $1.95 lb. 4lb $7.80
    5 lb unsalted peanuts $2.35 lb. 5lb. $11.75
    a little kelp meal (not available)
    oyster shell and grit sized #2 and #3 mixed into the feed each day Oyster Shell .60 lb.

    NOTE: By the pound...This mix (with what we offer is 1.05 a pound. The organic feed is .67 a pound and the Purina is .32 a pound. )

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