After reading ShadowMane's thread on Fermenting Feed for Meat Birds, I decided to use the same method she mentioned from BeeKissed for my flock that is laying hens. Several of the references in her thread have shown marked improvements in egg size, yolk size, shell thickness and overall better health in the hens when layers were fed this fermented feed. In addition to that, they eat less actual feed, thus saving you more money. In response to the request of a "visual learner" in the Arizona thread, I'm writing this to give everyone a quick and easy method for doing this.
2x 5-Gallon Bucket - $2.78
1x 5-Gallon Bucket Lid - $1.28
1x Eye Bolt - ~$1.00
1x Figure 9 Carabiner - ~$3.00
Poultry Feed - Approximately 1.5 Gallons
Apple Cider Vinegar "with Mother"
Draining and Feeding
As far as my research has shown so far, each hen will eat approximately 1/2 cup of fermented feed per day. As of this writing, I've just started the process and have not fed it to my three 8-week old pullets yet, so that is an arbitrary number, for all intents and purposes. There are several methods that have been mentioned for how to remove the fermented feed. Each will be highlighted briefly below.
After each feeding, add an equal amount of dry feed in to the bucket and stir well. This will continue the batch fermenting. Always re-use the water that was drained out. This is called back-washing and you are keeping all of the beneficial bacteria in the water bucket to continue the process.
Periodically, you will need to top off the water as well, due to absorption and evaporation. Each time you refill the water to approximately six inches above the feed, add another tablespoon or so of the apple cider vinegar. Although this isn't strictly necessary for the fermentation process, it continues adding the other beneficial elements of the acv to their diet.
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