What's the best protein source?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by freevillein, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. freevillein

    freevillein Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2013
    So I got several hundred pounds of free corn from a friend (yay free food!) and now I'm concerned my chickens won't be getting enough protein. I've been mixing half and half corn and layer pellets. I can just change the ratio so that I'm feeding less corn, but I'm also wondering about adding a protein source to rebalance their diet.

    I've read several suggestions on this forum, and one that interests me is milk. But...HOW do you feed milk or buttermilk to a chicken? Do they drink it like water, or do you have to mix it with a grain to make mush?

    The other suggestion that I found helpful was eggs, but wouldn't feeding chickens eggs just encourage them to start eating their own eggs? Or does cooking them change the taste enough that it doesn't cause problems?

    I can also start feeding them meat scraps, but I have more eggs and milk than I do meat.
     
  2. rojororeo

    rojororeo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have read that corn isn't the best source for a main part of their diet. I am using it sparingly as a body warmer in the winter, since I don't give supplemental heat, and it is cold out there! (eastern WA, in the 30s during the day right now).
    Eggs as a protein- everything I read says cook it so as to not encourage egg eating. But it is totally fine for them to eat. Meat scraps too. I feed our chickens any meat scraps we have, including chicken carcasses, which seems so wrong, but hey, it is meat right?!

    I have also just poured milk in a bowl for them to drink as well. Or I will mix it with their feed, especially when it is towards the bottom powdery dregs of their dishes. Makes it easier to eat the powdery bits and gives more protein to boot. Same with the buttermilk. Heck, I do it with leftover pizza sauce! lol

    So if it were me, I would say definitely limit corn as the protein source, as from what I have read says that it isn't high enough and you will lose egg production and could start feather plucking issues as they search for more protein.

    Hope that helped!
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    No way I'd turn down free corn, as long as it was clean and edible as feed, not deer corn.

    I'd supplement the protein by punching up their regular feed. I'd either use a high protein Starter or GameBird mix of around 22%-24% and it would work well.

    If you have a layer flock, you'll also have to "replace" that calcium loss somehow. Make sure they're getting a good calcium supplement.
     
  4. freevillein

    freevillein Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2013
    I know I'll have to replace the calcium, but they've stopped laying for the moment, so that buys me more time. I'm going to get oyster shell. Good idea about buying high protein feed to mix with it.
     
  5. freevillein

    freevillein Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2013
    So you can just give them dishes of milk? Do they seem to drink most of it, or do they waste a lot?

    I agree with you that it seems wrong to feed chicken to chickens, but as long as it's cooked I doubt they'd even notice! At least I hope not, because I intend to start giving mine the scraps as well.
     
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I don't know how you feed, but mixing isn't a great idea. They tend to pick and choose. I'd alternate feeds instead. Alternating days kind of thing. That's my experience, for what's it's worth.
     
  7. rojororeo

    rojororeo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sure, I have just given it to them in a little pie pan sized dish. It gets wasted at times, if you aren't careful. That is part of the reason that I will mix it with their feed and make a mash. They seem to really enjoy it. I give them gone quite bad sour cream and yogurt too, as long as it isn't too gnarly- just if there is a slight off smell or a bit of mold growth on the top, I will scrape that part off and feed them the rest.
    And I am with you on the chicken! I hate that it seems wrong, but they like it, and it is protein for them. :)
     
  8. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Since you do have a lot of corn, some of the mills in our area carry a "Poultry Concentrate" that is made to mix with corn (or other grains) ...to wind up with a 16% Layer food... they usually sell it in 50# bags.
     
  9. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    I have fed my extra eggs to my chicken for years. I hard boil them, crush them shells and all and dump them in the feed trough.
     
  10. freevillein

    freevillein Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2013
    Oooh, I'll have to look into that. It would be perfect.
     

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