May 30, 2024

Fermenting Chicken Feed

Fermenting Chicken Feed

Do you ever feed your chickens and get disappointed at the amount of waste? Whether it’s from the bottom of the bag, in the bottom of their feeder, or scattered around their feeding area, this can be disappointing for us chicken owners especially with high prices like right now. Scratch & Peck has some very popular organic chicken feeds, and they have additionally come out with some great information about fermenting their Layer Mash chicken food that will not only stop the unnecessary waste but will also reduce the amount you feed by

⅓ - ½!

Fermenting is actually a fairly simple and fast process that will only take 1-3 days depending on the climate. Most people who use this practice to more efficiently use their feed do so on a three day rotation to keep their feed as fresh as possible, always having a couple days prepared and starting the next feed once that container is emptied from feeding.

How does it reduce Feed rates?

It seems like a bold claim but let's look at what happens when you ferment the feed. First, by soaking and fermenting the feed, you will be using close to 100% of the feed you are purchasing as opposed to the abundance of waste when fed in the dried state. This is the first big factor that will change the amount of feed you are purchasing and using.

Secondly, When the grains are fermented they expand and actually increase in digestible nutritional value. The amount of nutrients that the birds digest rapidly increases making it so less feed is needed for the same amount of nutrients. The expanded and moisture filled food increases the rate of fullness of the birds and they eat less while being full and healthy.

Health Benefits

Fermenting Grains has added benefits other than just increased nutrient digestion and decreased waste. When the grains are fermented they are filled with moisture and retain that moisture, allowing the birds to benefit from the increased moisture and hydration unknowingly.

When looking at the consistency of feed, the more broken down the feed is, the higher the absorption of nutrients there is in the digestive tract. All nutrients must be broken down to a certain state in the gut to be able to be digested and beneficial in extracting nutrients from it. By fermenting, the grains soften which makes the process of digesting easier and increases the amount of nutrients available to be digested and increases the rate of digestion.

Not only does it make the nutrients more accessible but the fermenting process actually provides healthy bacteria, probiotics, and yeasts. These improve the gut health of your bird and actually will contribute to a more efficient and strong digestive system improving the amount of nutrients they can digest.

How It Works

We’ll go through the process that you will need to follow to effectively and safely ferment your feed.

First, you will need:

1. Food Safe Container for each days worth of feed

2. Scratch and Peck Organic Layer

3. Clean, non-chlorinated water

4. A lid that is able to be vented or not completely secured

5. A nonmetallic stirring stick

Now that we have the necessary supplies, you will add ⅔ of the usual amount of feed you would feed daily into your clean container. Then you will add your water until it covers the feed by 2-3 inches. Place the lid over the container but do not seal it, leaving a gap or venting for airflow. Place the container in a cool, and dark place. Stir the feed at least daily and continue to add water as needed to keep the grains covered.

Let the container ferment until you see bubbles appear on the surface and the mixture smells sour, this indicates it is ready!

Feed the fermented food to your chickens. If they are hesitant at first, incentivize them with some mealworms or grubs in the feed until they get a taste of this new feed.

Is it Alcoholic?

No, fermented chicken feed if done as advised above is not alcoholic and is more similar to Kombucha. It has incredible benefits to the digestive system and nutrient availability.

Can I do this with other types of Birds?

Yes! You can do this with Chick feed, and gamebird feed as well! It works best with a feed that is natural grains like Scratch and Peck Feeds, especially since they have no preservatives.

Temperature Change

When fermenting, the weather is a huge contributing factor to the duration it takes for the grains to start fermenting. Make sure to monitor your fermenting grains, especially in the hot season, as they may ferment much quicker than you expect! In colder months be patient as it may take an extra day or two that what you are used to and plan accordingly by prepping your feed far enough to have some fresh feed available!

Here is a helpful link that will provide even more information on this great feeding style!

Stop into the Snohomish and Monroe Coop and talk with our staff!

We’ll see you at the Co-op!

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