Winter feed to summer feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Utard, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. Utard

    Utard Chillin' With My Peeps

    Does anyone know about what temperatures I should switch from the winter feed (20% protein) to summer feed (16% Protein)?

    I only have a few more days of the 20% but I don't want to switch too early so they get cold.
  2. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    THis is very interesting-- can I ask why the change in protein levels?? WHat am I missing-- wouldn't the girls need MORE protein as they come into lay, not less?

  3. Utard

    Utard Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well I assumed this is what everyone did? Since the place that I bought them told me to use the higher protein in the winter because it helps them keeps warmer.

    But hey I am new to this so I could be wrong.

    Is this the wrong thing to do?
  4. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    I can't say that this is incorrect. Might depend on the purpose as you stated originally.

    Usually corn is used as high energy feed rather than protein. And while the birds need more energy in the winter to keep warm; the hens eat far more feed when laying, so typically a 15-16% protein pellet is fine, and 18% is often used in breeder flocks.

    Could it be that your girls are young? If they spent the winter growing from chicks to pullets, they would benefit from the higher protein to grow properly. Maybe that was why that feed was suggested??
  5. Utard

    Utard Chillin' With My Peeps

    They were hatched on about mid June 2013.

    So are you saying the 16% should be good year round?

    They made it sound like I needed to change every summer/winter. And I was told the reason is the higher protein will let them generate more body heat. Hence the reason less in summer.

    Now I will be moving to a place that will be a little hotter in the summer and a little colder in the winter. But they will now be free ranging from now on. So I guess they will get some more protein in the summer from bugs?

    And I am newish to this so it stands to reason I could be well misinformed :)

    They are also getting a 1/3 cup of 4 day sprouted wheat every day. That ends up being a pint jar full.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  6. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Fresh greens are wonderful for them.

    WHen they start laying, you will know if they are getting enough calcium by the eggs. they will be hard or soft shelled. EIther cut back on treats or up their access to calcium like oystershells, and feed back the egg shells to the girls.

    Protein in feed it the most costly ingredient. When the % protin goes up the cost per 50 pound bag goes up. In the cold weather, what you feed depends on whether or not the girls are still laying as the do take time off. You have time to research what you want to feed during that time.

    As the girls are 9 months, and you have fed them properly for their growth period, you can swtich to a layer pellet. Usually about 15-16% protein and about 3.25% calcium. When laying, their feed intake surges to be able to make those eggs.

    I would buy layer pellets and mix it into the last of what you have been feeding and that way they can get used to the new grain without jumping from one to the other cold turkey. SOmetimes they don't like change.
  7. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    Protein has the same energy as carbohydrates so that argument is invalid. A higher protein feed is good in the winter months when they are molting because they need more for feather development. Many people switch over to an even higher meat bird feed (22-28%) that time of year. They also don't need the additional Ca because they aren't laying. I feed a 20% layer year round because I feed a lot of low protein vegetable treats. Bugs are high protein but when they freerange, they eat just as much low protein seeds, grasses and garden compost to pull that # down.
  8. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    I feed mine the same thing year round.
  9. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    I only have hens so I feed layer pellets year round. If I feel they need more protein as they're molting, I add it in the form of eggs, meat, or cheese. Will give high protein snack or scramble them some eggs to go along with their fermented feed for breakfast. If it's going to be really cold at night, I give them a snack of carbs in the form of corn or grain before they go to roost. They always have oyster shell available, as well, should they need it.
  10. Utard

    Utard Chillin' With My Peeps

    They started laying at 5 months and all of them by 6 months. And they got the 20% layer pellets at 5 months. Shells have always been twice as thick as store bought ones. So I am good on all those counts.

    It just sounds like I was misinformed from the feed store?

    I will most likely buy another bag of the 20% and mix with the 16% to get about 18% just to use it up. But I will continue to use the 20% after that.

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