Chickens require protein in their bodies just like we do. Protein is very essential to their health and need it in the right amount. So, what are some of the high protein foods for molting chickens?
There are a host of treats and foods which are high in protein. These foods can be fed directly or either slightly cooked first before tossing.
Protein is responsible for cell development, formation of body organs, tissues and even those feathers which will keep your hens warm in winter.
This article indulges more on the best sources of protein for your molting chickens. I hope you will get a cheap source for your hens.
12 High protein foods for molting chickens
Chickens can get protein from various sources. This can be either be drawn from plants they eat or from insects and rodents they collect when free ranging.
Continue to scroll to know some of the best sources of protein for your chickens during the molt season.
I know it sounds strange to hear that chickens can eat eggs as a source of protein. Yes! Cooked eggs are a good snack for your molting roosters.
However, never feed raw eggs to chickens. By doing this, you will encourage egg eating in chickens which can be a very hard habit to stop.
The eggs should be hard boiled or scrambled first before feeding. Remember not to add any salt or other additives when cooking eggs for chickens.
Eggs are very rich in protein and will be a good supplement to feed. Additionally, their shells should not be thrown away because they are nutritious too.
Those eggshells are rich in calcium which chickens require in their bodies.
Lentils are other high protein foods for molting chickens. They are easy and cheap to get since they can be sourced from the local grain store.
Sprouted lentils are the best because they contain protein at the rate of 26-30%. Just soak these chicken treats for three days in water.
They will begin to sprout and produce tiny white roots. Remove them and toss to your hen breeds. When sprouted, lentils are easy to digest in the chicken gizzard.
If you are looking for a treat that chickens love, this is one that makes them go nuts. Mealworms are very rich in protein with dried ones having up to 54% protein content.
These bugs can easily be produced in your farm. Click here to learn more about mealworm farming. Additionally, they can be bought from various online stores although they are a bit pricy.
Mealworms should be fed to chickens once in a while and in moderation. Their high protein content can lead to health issues if consumed in excess.
Cat food is a good source of protein for chickens. This pet food is made up of animal protein like fish and bone meal.
However, it is very dry and hard for chickens to swallow. It should be soaked in water fast to soften it for your chicken breeds to swallow without the risk of choking.
Meat and animal organs
Meat is a good source of protein not just to you but to your friendliest chickens. However, make sure that the meat is well cooked to avoid salmonella poisoning.
Any meat and organs like intestines fed to chickens should have no fats, salt and oils. Chickens do not need salt because it can lead to kidney problems.
Avoid feeding bones to chickens. They are hard and big and can choke your birds. The meat should be chopped to small pieces to make it easier for your hens to swallow.
Sunflower seeds are good for chickens to eat. They are one of the raw materials used to manufacture most commercial feeds for chickens.
However, not all chickens may like them. My Delaware chickens do not like them at all and I don’t bother feeding them to my hens.
Peas are a good source of protein plus a host of other nutrients to chickens. They are low in fat and calories making them very nutritious to chickens.
These tasty chicken treats contain about 23% protein. However, just like other treats, peas should be fed to chickens in moderation.
Defrost those frozen peas and clean those canned ones to remove any additives and salt in them. If possible, feed garden peas because they are not processed and have no chemicals.
There are a host of nuts that are good for chickens to eat. They include: peanuts, hazel nuts, pecans and cashew nuts.
Nuts are not only rich in protein but also have fats and other minerals in them. Feed nuts to chickens in moderation because they do not have all the nutrients chickens require.
Earthworms are an excellent source of protein to your molting hens. They are very common after rains and in most compost heaps.
These worms make a tasty snack to your free ranging hens. Chickens will scratch the ground overturning beddings and eating up these worms plus other bugs they get.
Fish are known to be rich in protein and omega fats. However, fish is not common to most people especially those living inland or in landlocked countries.
If you live in an area where fishing is carried out, you can source those small fishes like mackerels which are too small to make a meal.
Pumpkins are common especially during the Halloween season. If you eat the flesh part, spare the seeds for your chickens.
These seeds are rich in protein and are good for chickens to eat. They can be bought from the local store but they are a bit expensive.
The flesh too can be fed to chickens if pumpkins are in abundance. Chop the fruit into small pieces which can be swallowed with ease.
Most commercial feeds have protein though at different rates. Game bird feeds top the list with a rate of 28-30% protein.
Chick starter feeds come second with a rate of 22-24% protein in them. Baby chicks need more protein to develop feathers, organs and other body tissues. However, these little critters should never be fed to game feeds. Too much protein can cause serious health issues to your baby chicks.
Layer feeds have 16% protein in them. They are meant for laying hens and have more calcium in them to help in the formation of strong and healthy eggshells.
Why do molting chickens need more protein?
Molting is common in some chicken breeds especially in autumn. Perhaps you don’t know what is molting? This is the shedding of old feathers to pave way for new ones to grow.
Feathers in birds are made up of 85-90% protein. Therefore, chickens will need a high protein diet to help in the development of a new plumage.
During the molting season, most chickens will lay few eggs or stop to lay completely. This season is very critical in their lives because baldness can lead to health issues or parasite infestation.
Additionally, chickens also do not need to be subjected to any form of stress. Avoid loud noises, barking dogs and young kids who may chase these birds around.
This can make chickens scared leading to ill health. Toss a handful of a protein rich snack to supplement on whatever little they get in their diet.
Do chickens need too much protein?
Too much of something is poison. You should be very careful on how much protein you feed to your chicken breeds.
Chickens do not just need protein but also other nutrients are very important in their health. Treats rich in protein should be tossed in moderation to avoid malnutrition.
Too much protein can lead to wet poop, feet blisters and too much ammonia in their excretion which can be a recipe for respiratory issues.
Protein plays a key role in the health of every living organism. Always make sure your hens and roosters get enough protein for good health.
There are many foods that are a reliable source of protein. However, they should be fed very sparingly and in moderation.
Additionally, these feathered friends will also need vitamins and minerals in their bodies. This can only be achieved by feeding a well-formulated course of commercial chicken feeds.
Free ranging is one way to make sure chickens get enough protein in their bodies. They will collect insects, worms, rodents and bugs all which are protein.
What high protein foods for molting chickens do you feed your birds? Talk to us.