When are they old enough for BOSS?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Our7Wonders, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. Our7Wonders

    Our7Wonders Out Of The Brooder

    My chicks are 7 weeks old. One of my red stars has developed a nasty habit of plucking feathers from her flock mates, and she eats them too. She runs from one to another just pulling out their feathers and raising all sorts of chaos. I read that it can be a protein issue and that BOSS and some scrambled eggs might help. I'm certainly willing to try - if I can't make it stop I'll have to get rid of her, she's just not very nice at all.

    I question it as a protein issue only because she is the ONLY one who seems to be doing this, but, again, I'm willing to give it a shot. At 7 weeks are they ready for something like that? If not, at about what age might they be able to handle them?


    ETA: I could have sworn they were 7 weeks but I checked the calendar and they are only 6!! Time goes faster that what I expect, not the other way around!
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  2. Mervin

    Mervin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 25, 2010
    Central Pennsyltucky
    That should be fine. I've given them boss at less than month. Just make sure they have grit of some kind.

    Think of it this way like this. If they were being raise by momma naturally, they'd being eating all kinds of seeds and whatever else they could find on the ground.
  3. Our7Wonders

    Our7Wonders Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you, Mervin!! That's helpful!

  4. mikki717

    mikki717 My Drug of Choice- Chickens

    Dec 7, 2009
    Hesperia, CA
    I recently introduces BOSS to my adult girls, and they had some issues at first. I thought it was because the seed is too big to just swallow. Will youngsters swallow them whole?
  5. OregonChickenGal

    OregonChickenGal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    Central Oregon
    You may just have a hen that's a feather eater, like mine. She is healthy and gets plenty of calcium and protein, but aggressively pulls and eats feathers. She had gotten so bad, that I permanently separated her to her own coop and run. The flock is much happier now. When she was in with them, she would actually pull another hen backwards, trying to get the feather out. The rest of the hens would run and hide in the coop. It really hurt the egg laying. The only reason I didn't get rid her, is because she's such an excellent layer.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  6. Mervin

    Mervin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 25, 2010
    Central Pennsyltucky
    Quote:Chickens really don't chew things in the sense that you're used to. While they do have a mechanical action that grinds up their food, it is not traditional chewing. So, yes, youngsters will swallow the seeds whole to get them into their crop. It is beyond the crop where the mechanical action of the gizzard begins to grind the food (akin to human chewing). Incidentally, there is a chemical action, like our stomach, that occurs before grinding (kind of the reverse of humans). The Univ. of Kentucky extension office does a much better job of explaining chicken digestion than I.

    My understanding is (and I might very well be incorrect) that if a food item can be moved from the beak to the esophagus and into the crop than it is not too big. Crop impaction, as I understand it, does not occur b/c an item is too large, but rather b/c of its composition or if they eat too rapidly and "overfill" the crop. If it were too big, they simply wouldn't be able to begin to swallow it.

    Here's something else to consider. Most wild bird food compositions contain a goodly amount of BOSS. Most of the birds that feed on those compositions are a similar size or smaller than a month-old chicken. Bird anatomy being similar, I reasoned that it would probably be okay.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    There is a lot of reason for "Feather Eating"
    Lack of protien
    Lack of Animal based protien

    First thing you can do is dusk all your birds for lice and mites spray down there pen with a good insect spray like Zonkit Flea Spray

    The next thing you can do is check to see if you feed has animal protein in it. If it doesn't you might want to try adding a animal protein supplement (Fish Meal or low salt Dog Food))

    As for raising the over all protein of the feed I would just switch to a good Game Bird feed one that is 20 to 28 percent protein.
    If you start adding BOSS to your existing feed you could be just diluting the feed rather than improving it.
    Most BOSS is around 16% protein and if you start adding it to a 18% protein chicken feed all you will be doing is lowering the protein of the chicken feed..

    Example -
    Lets say you are feeding a 18% protein feed and you mix in lets say 10% of a BOSS that is 16% protein.

    18% protein (Chicken Feed) ÷ 100 lbs = .18% protein per pound of feed
    16% protein (BOSS) ÷ 100 lbs = .16% protein pound of feed

    .18% protein (Chicken Feed) x 90 lbs = 16.2% protein
    .16% protein (BOSS) x 10 lbs = 1.6

    16.2% (Chicken Feed) + 1.6 (BOSS) = 17.8% protein

    Now your feed is around 17% protein instead of 18% protein..

    Now don't get me wrong, BOSS is a good supplement but not in boosting protein of a feed that is already has a protein amount above the amount of protein in BOSS..

    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010

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