What is Fermenting?
It is the process of covering chicken feeds in liquid and allowing it to sit for a few days. By allowing it to set, it creates probiotics that assist in digestion and gut health.
If you’re raising chickens for eggs, numerous studies have shown that fermenting chicken feed to give to your chickens can increase egg weight and eggshell thickness, and boost the chickens’ intestinal health and immune system, increasing their resistance to diseases including Salmonella and E.coli.
(some) Benefits of Fermenting:
- Feed consumption and waste will drop by 1/2 to 3/4 (this will save you money).
- Poultry on a diet of fermented feed are generally healthier and less likely to contract disease.
- There is almost zero waste as chickens don’t scratch through it, kicking it out of the feeder.
- Egg yolks of eggs laid by hens on fermented feed will become noticeably larger, and shells will be more solid.
How to Ferment:
- On Day 1 fill a half gallon mason jar (or other suitable container) with your desired amount of chicken feed.
- Fill your container with filtered water until it covers the feed by an inch or two.
- Add a lid and set it on the counter to wait 3 days.
- On Day 2, repeat Step 1 and set the jar next to Day 1.
- On Day 3, repeat Step 1 and set the jar next to Day 1 and Day 2
- On Day 4, empty the fermented chicken feed from Day 1 into a bowl and feed it to your hens. Watch them go crazy for it! Wash your jar and repeat Step 1. Place your jar at the end of the line next to the jars from Day 2 and Day 3.
- On Day 5, feed the fermented chicken feed in the jar from Day 2 to your hens, wash your jar, and start the process all over again.
10 Tips For Successful Fermenting: The Do’s
- Use a mix of grains, oats, seeds, legumes, crumble or pellets. You can make your own poultry feed formulation, or use a commercially available brand.
- Use a loosely covered glass container.
- Use de-chlorinated water – use either well water, purchased filtered water or let tap water sit out for 24 hours.
- Wait until you see bubbles forming on the surface to feed (usually after about 3 days).
- Store in a dark, cool place, not outside and not in the sunlight.
- Your fermented feed will have a smell. That’s okay. It should smell sort of tangy-sweet, like sourdough bread.
- Keep the liquid after you’ve strained out your grains to start a new batch.
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