All feed ok for fermentation??

McMarty

Chirping
Jun 5, 2022
28
73
86
Tennessee
Hi Everyone,
We like to know more about fermenting chicken feed.
So far we have been fermenting everything we give to the chickens and chicks:
Chick starter, scratched grains, egg layer pellets and cracked corn.
I especially have wondered if fermenting cracked corn is ok? As far as I know, corn is being used also to make alcohol and I wonder if this doesn't make my chickens in little alcoholics. We ferment our feed over 2 days, so the chickens will get the mixture of egg layer pellets, scratched grain, cracked corn as fermented feed. We ad a little vitamin/ mineral supplement before we feed it to them.
Any ideas? Comments?
 
Most feed (in the US) for chickens is made with a moderate to high percentage of corn.

Yes, you can ferment it. Scratch grains are often high percentage corn as well.
You want a lactobacillus ferment, not an alcoholic ferment (yeast, usually). It helps to "prime" the initial ferment with a lactobacillus source - like plain live yogurt or kefir.

Be aware that if you do get an alcohol ferment from wild yeast, all is not lost. Vinegar (acetic acid) ferments are fine too - originally made from spoiled wine. Its a two stage process - yeast makes ethanol, then one of many farieties of acetic acid producing bacteria convert the ethanol. If that's what you are going for, prime your ferment with the "mother" from a bottle of live ACV, or add some kombucha (possibly the only good use for kombucha. NOT a fan!)

Whether or not fermenting the feed results in a nutritionally superior feed or substantially reduces (dry) feed weight consumed is a much less clear, much more specific question, lacking any one easy or general answer. While fermentation of some ingredients makes some ingredients more bioavailable and also alters the pH, there are no guarantees your flock benefits from either.

I will say, however, that you should NOT expect the 30, 35% savings in feed claimed by some.
 
Most feed (in the US) for chickens is made with a moderate to high percentage of corn.

Yes, you can ferment it. Scratch grains are often high percentage corn as well.
You want a lactobacillus ferment, not an alcoholic ferment (yeast, usually). It helps to "prime" the initial ferment with a lactobacillus source - like plain live yogurt or kefir.

Be aware that if you do get an alcohol ferment from wild yeast, all is not lost. Vinegar (acetic acid) ferments are fine too - originally made from spoiled wine. Its a two stage process - yeast makes ethanol, then one of many farieties of acetic acid producing bacteria convert the ethanol. If that's what you are going for, prime your ferment with the "mother" from a bottle of live ACV, or add some kombucha (possibly the only good use for kombucha. NOT a fan!)

Whether or not fermenting the feed results in a nutritionally superior feed or substantially reduces (dry) feed weight consumed is a much less clear, much more specific question, lacking any one easy or general answer. While fermentation of some ingredients makes some ingredients more bioavailable and also alters the pH, there are no guarantees your flock benefits from either.

I will say, however, that you should NOT expect the 30, 35% savings in feed claimed by some.
No, I do not expect savings, rather a better possible digested food source for the bird and absorption of the dry food. I supplement with worms (red wigglers) and vitamins/minerals.
I have noticed that the chickens keep eating much longer than with dry food, and less crazy/interested in their "greens" when I feed fermented.

Would plain yogurt from a supermarket do the trick, to get the initial batch started?

And mix the yogurt with water, right? Any ratio in mind?

Thank you for your time and helpful answer.

McMarty
 
No, I do not expect savings, rather a better possible digested food source for the bird and absorption of the dry food. I supplement with worms (red wigglers) and vitamins/minerals.
I have noticed that the chickens keep eating much longer than with dry food, and less crazy/interested in their "greens" when I feed fermented.

Would plain yogurt from a supermarket do the trick, to get the initial batch started?

And mix the yogurt with water, right? Any ratio in mind?

Thank you for your time and helpful answer.

McMarty
Yes, plain supermarket brand yogurt is fine, as long as the ingredients list says contains live cultures (and it should). Yes, add water. No, no particular ratio. You are innoculating the mix to give desired bacteria a "head start" and a numerical advantage over what's present in your environment. Just like adding a tsp of yeast to your flour when making bread ensures that the rise you get is primarily a yeast you desire, rather than a (much slower) attempt at native sourdough from yeasts present in your air.
 
Yes, plain supermarket brand yogurt is fine, as long as the ingredients list says contains live cultures (and it should). Yes, add water. No, no particular ratio. You are innoculating the mix to give desired bacteria a "head start" and a numerical advantage over what's present in your environment. Just like adding a tsp of yeast to your flour when making bread ensures that the rise you get is primarily a yeast you desire, rather than a (much slower) attempt at native sourdough from yeasts present in your air.
Thnx a lot!
Will try!
 
Yes, plain supermarket brand yogurt is fine, as long as the ingredients list says contains live cultures (and it should). Yes, add water. No, no particular ratio. You are innoculating the mix to give desired bacteria a "head start" and a numerical advantage over what's present in your environment. Just like adding a tsp of yeast to your flour when making bread ensures that the rise you get is primarily a yeast you desire, rather than a (much slower) attempt at native sourdough from yeasts present in your air.
I'm following up on this fermentation thread and getting ready to make some for my guy and girls... I have sheep yogurt... I'm supposing that would work same as cow ... so should be ok right?
 
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