Fermented Chicken Feed, Why and How?
I love to make things better than they are… To take something and make it even better gives me a huge sense of accomplishment! Maybe that’s why fermenting has become a bit of an obsession in the last few years?
So I have been meaning to ferment my chicken food for a while now, I’ve researched it on several different occasions and somehow it gets pushed to the back burner. I have more free time on my hands lately with this pregnancy. I can’t do anything too physical because of my pain I’m battling but staying home all day doing nothing is not an option for someone like myself! So I have dived into my fermenting and baking more than ever! That means I can finally ferment my chicken feed!
You may be wondering why on earth anyone would purposefully ferment anything!? Or you are like me and have been bit by the fermenting bug and want to ferment everything! Either way I hope to encourage you to give it a try!
The health benefits alone are enough reason but the economic reasons are pretty great too! We live on a very tight budget, especially now that I’m not working! We stretch every dime and make every meal more, so why not do the same with our chickens? The amount of grain that they waste by scratching through the food is immense! Also, many grains used in chicken feed are not very digestible so basically they poop out a lot more nutrients than they consume, wasting more food.
Fermenting their food before feeding it to them makes the grains much more digestible so they consume more nutrients. The fermenting process also adds many more vitamins and enzymes. As the grain is fermented in liquid they expand in size so you can give them even less grain and still fill them up!
Just add water! Yup, it’s that easy! So I got a quart jar and filled it a little over half way with layer pellets and covered the grains with whey. I used whey because I had a bunch left over from making Kefir Cheese and was going to feed it to them anyway. Whey also helps with lacto-fermentation. No whey, no worries…you can use plain water just fine! Make sure there is at least an inch of liquid over the top of feed. Keep adding more liquid as the grains expand and absorb stirring occasionally. Cover with a breathable material so gas can escape, I used a coffee filter. After 24 hours my grains were bulging out the top, so I divide into two jars and covered with more whey. They doubled again so be sure to use a larger container than you think you need! Unless of course you like waking up to a puddle of fermented grain liquid on your kitchen floor! 🙂
This process can be anywhere from 24 hours to five days depending on your environment. you will know its done if it bubbles or smells like a sweet and sour yogurt smell, kinda… So when it is ready feed it to your chickens for some happy, healthy birds. This can be done with any kind of feed whether pellet or seed and can be done in larger amounts and take a little out and add more feed as you go, like a continuous brew!
Give it a try, see how easy it is to make something even better!