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Discussion Board - Re: Protein for Chickens

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08-28-2013 14:08:47

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I have read about people doing small-scale haylage or grass silage for small flocks of chickens. I see no reason that corn silage would not also work, but you'd have to ask your chickens what they think - get a bucketful from a neighbor if you don't have any on hand before you head down that route.

This page (if YT does not munge it) reports on silage/haylage, and I note that Alfalfa has as much or more protein as standard chicken feed at any stage:

Myself, I generally gave in to simplicity and bought feed when I had birds. They certainly like their storebought feed better when it's been fermented for a few days into sour mash. That speaks well of the odds they will like other fermented forage.

I think if "normal" feed is available in case the haylage is not up to snuff that would be fine - otherwise you need to get into testing to be sure you're providing what they need.

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08-28-2013 23:15:22

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 Re: Protein for Chickens in reply to Ecnerwal, 08-28-2013 14:08:47  
Haylage is not an appropriate feed for single-stomach animals like chickens. It is meant for ruminants. It can be used on a limited basis for sows, who need roughage, along with grain and protein. Companies that market feeds on the basis of "protein" often use non-digestible or low digestible sources of protein. Crude protein levels are high in many products, but what is the source? Collagens, like fingernails, hair, CHICKEN/TURKEY FEATHERS....have a high level of protein, but are not highly digestible. When you run the sample through the lab it tests high, since they measure Nitrogen to determine crude protein. You need to rely on "digestible" protein levels, according to the species of animals that you are feeding.

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