Fermenting Chicken Feed
Most of us know the benefits of eating and drinking fermented foods and beverages. It also does the same for your chickens!
Chickens who eat fermented feed are known to have better egg quality. They’ll lay heavier eggs with thicker shells. Fermented feed also better protects chickens from unhealthy bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli. Since ill chickens can lead to unhealthy eggs, this protects both you and your flock.
Fermenting is also affordable. Fermenting chicken feed causes it to expand in volume, so chicken will get full faster. Chickens will eat 1/3 to 1/2 less feed than they would if it wasn’t fermented. You won’t have to buy chicken feed as often even though your birds will still be getting plenty of nutrients.
Step 1: Put the Feed in a Jar Start by putting the grains into the container you selected. A jar, bowl, or bucket are all suitable options. Fill the container about 3/4 of the way without packing the feed down. Filling it too full could cause the container to overflow when the food expands. One container should ideally have enough feed for one or two meals for your whole flock.
Step 2: Let it Sit Once all the grains are submerged, you can cover the container with a loose lid. A dish towel, plate, or other makeshift lid can work too, as long as it isn’t covering the top too tightly. The lid prevents mold spores from entering while still allowing the gasses from fermentation to escape. Keep the container in a place that’s not too hot or too cold. Let it sit for three to four days to let it ferment. Every day, check it and stir it. If any of the feed isn’t submerged when you check it, add more de-chlorinated water as needed. After two or three days, you’ll notice bubbles near the surface. The mixture will also become cloudier as the days go on. Those are signs that it’s fermenting properly. After the third or fourth day, you should move on to the next step and feed it to your chickens shortly after. The longer the mixture sits, the more sour it’ll become. Whenever you check the container, keep an eye out for signs of mold. If any mold or foul odors form, dispose of the contents and don’t feed them to your chickens. Some feeds might smell a bit fishy during the process, but they shouldn’t smell overly foul. Step 3: Drain the Feed After waiting three or four days, you can strain the feed from the water. You don’t need to dispose of the water because it’s already packed with beneficial probiotics. So, you can reuse it the next time you ferment chicken feed. If you reuse it, you’ll likely need to add extra water to the mix. Once the feed is separated from the liquid, it’s time to serve it to your chickens! It might take you a while to get the hang of fermenting chicken feed, but eventually, you’ll figure out your own schedule for it. Since chicken feed takes several days to ferment, you’ll need to stagger your batches to ensure that you always have some ready for your flock.
Step 4: Feed Your Chickens When the feed is no longer submerged, it spoils much faster. So, if your jar contains enough food for more than one meal, you might want to only strain some of the feed and keep the rest in the water until the next meal. Refrigerating unfinished fermented feed can help it last a little longer. Fermenting your chicken feed can take a bit of time but it is worth the benefits to you and your chickens. You will all be healthy and you will have more money in your pocket!