Fermented Feed - How we do it - The 4 Container Method

Our method to fermenting feed for our chickens
By BReeder! · Jan 22, 2019 ·
  1. BReeder!
    We have 7 hens. They LOVE our fermented feed. There's never left overs. We offer dry feed as well in case their appetites are not satisfied, but they target the fermented feed first. We have just begun raising quail and will start giving them fermented feed too. We honestly stopped fermenting for the winter, because it was being done in our attached garage and did draw in some mice. I got rid of the mice, and decided fermenting is an outdoor activity that will be done in our shed coop when weather permits again (March through November is what I figure).

    So here's how we ferment our feed. I've decided to call it 'The 4 Container Method'. As I am sure you can figure out, we use 4 containers. The containers are identical in our case, but wouldn't necessarily have to be. We use 4 mason jars that are quart sized. I may need to upgrade to 1/2 gallon containers as our hens are getting big. 5 are 10 months old and 2 are 6 months old - several are slow growing breeds and are still putting on weight.

    We place 3 of the containers in a row. The left container is sitting in the Day 1 spot, middle in Day 2 and right in Day 3. The 4th container is our dirty/cleaned container in the sink.

    To START, fill the a container and place it in the Day 1 spot.
    24 hours later move the container from Day 1 to Day 2. Put a fresh clean container from in the Day 1 spot and fill it.
    24 hours later move the containers from Day 2 to Day 3 and from Day 1 to Day 2. Put a fresh clean container from in the Day 1 spot and fill it.
    24 hours later feed your flock the Day 3 container and place it in the sink (clean it!). Move the containers from Day 2 to Day 3 and from Day 1 to Day 2. Put a fresh clean container in the Day 1 spot and fill it.
    Now you have 4 containers in cycle. 3 with feed fermenting and 1 in the sink (clean it!). Here's where it comes full circle.
    24 hours later feed the container in the Day 3 spot and place it in the sink to be washed. Move the containers from Day 2 to Day 3 and from Day 1 to Day 2. Put a the clean container from the sink in the Day 1 spot and fill it.
    Now just continue the cycle. Feed, shift containers, fill, wash. We do it all in about 1 minute just if you don't count the walk to and from the coop to place the feed.

    What do we fill the containers with?
    We mix 2 parts layer feed 16% protein (pelleted or granular work best), 1 part scratch (I'll elaborate on that), and 3 parts water. We rough the measurements to be honest. We make sure to leave about 1 inch at the top of the mason jars for expansion and we loosely seal them so air can escape. Give them a stir or shake and then set them as stated above. Setting your containers in a tray is helpful in case they over expand and push liquid out. We use an aluminum pan. If they do over expand, put a little less of everything next time. Bigger containers that allow more headroom would lessen the worry of over expansion. This is partly why I intend to switch to 1/2 gallon containers, more fermented feed and more headroom.

    Our scratch...
    We like to buy bird seed. I make sure to get a type with as much variety as possible. I really like a bag that our local feed store sells that has 20 different seeds and grains in it. Sometimes I mix cracked corn or steal rolled oat meal (not the instant stuff) into it as well. If we have dried meal worms they go into the scratch as well (they are expensive though so it's not often that we have them). I also like to mix in crushed red pepper and cayenne pepper powder for a healthy boost (I have to be careful though to keep a bucket without pepper in it because my 2 year loves to throw scratch to the chickens and I don't want to see him rub pepper into his eyes or get it in his mouth).

    That's it! I hope you find this information helpful. :D

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    NotAFarm and BlueBaby like this.

Recent User Reviews

  1. HennyPenny2019
    "Fermented Food ..."
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Mar 2, 2019
    Being new to all this, I had never considered feeding fermented food to the chickens. I look forward to pictures when the weather permits you to start fermenting again. I’m a bit lost about the amount, If I’m understanding correctly, you are feeding a quart of f. feed per day, for about how many chickens? And, this is a supplemental feed given in addition to other feed?

    BTW ... this made me think of this ... how do you figure how much feed to feed? I still have so much to learn ...
  2. Anonymous
    "Cool idea!"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Feb 19, 2019
    Pictures would really be nice. Been thinking about fermentation for my chickens. Thank you!
  3. Anonymous
    "Good description."
    3/5, 3 out of 5, reviewed Jan 26, 2019
    Article would be great with added pics. Pictures can speak a thousand words.
    BReeder! likes this.
    1. BReeder!
      Once the weather breaks and I start fermenting again, I will add pics. It will just freeze if I set up a batch right now.


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