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Digital Subscriptions > Chickens > Jan/Feb 2020 > PRO TIPS FOR Protein


Feeding your flock supplemental protein makes for better eggs and meat.

The most expensive part of animal feed is the protein faction. In the early 1900s, farmers supplemented their animals with fishmeal or certain organ meats such as liver. These were expensive but worth the price given the gains in efficiency. Then, soy was discovered and adopted as one of the backbones of modern animal nutrition, along with the introduction of antibiotics and other changes to animal husbandry and science.

These advancements caused those earlier expensive feed fortifiers to fall by the wayside. As they say in Brazil, chicken is “walking corn” with a fair bit of soy tossed in. Given the massive productivity gains in chickens — for meat birds, quadrupling their weight gain and cutting the time to butcher by more than half; for egg layers, going from 100 to almost 300 eggs per year — protein-dense feed is a must for modern animals. Gone are the days when chickens were the farmer’s wife’s hobby and “scratch grains” were sufficient to provide for their nutritional needs.

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