Document Type


Publication Date



Poultry Department

Circular Number



poultry, chicken, chicks, poulty nutrition


Numerous reports show there are many feeding systems for layers that the poultryman will find satisfactory. The important factor for good results is proper management of the feeding system. Essentially the most common feeding systems recommended and in use today are ( 1) all-mash, ( 2) 18-20 percent protein mash with limited or free-choice grain, and (3) 25-27 percent protein concentrate with free-choice grain. Some poultrymen have reported successful use of a 32 percent protein concentrate fed free-choice with grains. The laying hen has a remarkable ability to balance her own ration, but it has generally been felt that more concentrate is consumed than necessary •when a 32 percent protein concentrate is used. Before poultrymen started to use high energy feeds, all-mash rations were considered somewhat low in energy for maximum egg production-particularly during the winter. High energy all-mash diets should supply the extra energy needed for maintenance under cold weather conditions and therefore support production equal to that of the other systems. Many field reports indicate that some all-mash diets today are giving better results than the various mash and grain feeding systems. Here are some of the reasons poultrymen have again become interested in all-mash diets. 1) Bulk handling of feed has greater application where all-mash diets are used. Bulk handling of feed, in itself, appeals to many because of price discounts and the economy of handling costs. 2) All-mash feeds are more adaptable for use in mechanical feeders and cage-feeding operations. 3) Use of fats and oils in feeds to increase energy content finds greater application in all-mash feeds. The data in this circular were obtained from three experiments with heavy-type hens in which three feeding systems were compared. Also data obtained from use of a 20 percent protein mash and free-choice grain feeding system with various groups of layers are presented.










South Dakota State State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, Agricultural Experiment Station