Can/will chickens eat wheat bran?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Freerange Chick, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. Freerange Chick

    Freerange Chick Out Of The Brooder

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    I am wanting to raise my own meal-worms. The closest place to get wheat bran for them sells them in 50lbs bags for $16. not a bad price. However, I don't need 50lbs of substrate for worms! But if my chicken's can/will/should eat it I'm good.
     
  2. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wheat bran is a very nutritious feed amendment. Since it's so light and fluffy, I've found the easiest way for them to consume it is to mix it in with the fermented feed I make for them. I don't ever measure, but I think I've used about 6-10 cups bran in a 5 gallon bucket (the rest is feed) when I've used in it the fermented feed.

    Another idea would be to take the powdery fines from the bottom of their feeder (which is full of minerals and vitamins), mix it with some wheat bran and then mix in some water and yogurt/kefir to make a tasty slurry they'll gobble down.
     
  3. Freerange Chick

    Freerange Chick Out Of The Brooder

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    Love this idea! I was planning to try fermenting too. I really want to make sure I'm prepared for winter. I've been researching fermenting recipes. Do you mind sharing how you make yours?
     
  4. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You probably don't want to make fermented feed the way I do, at least not right away. My recipe/method is a bit more complicated than most and requires as special starter. Actually, no starter is required to make basic fermented feed, but I have reason to believe that the starter I use produces a higher quality (aka, improved nutrition) fermented feed.

    Here's a basic recipe to get you started:

    For a 5 gallon bucket batch:

    You'll need:

    * Three 5 gallon buckets, one with a lid
    * 4-5 cabbage leaves
    * Non-chlorinated water
    * 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses (optional)
    * A 4-5 foot long stick to stir with, or use your hands

    1. Take the three buckets and fill one 3/4 full of feed, another 2/3 full of water and leave the third one empty.
    2. Scoop some feed from the one bucket into the empty one and add a bunch of water and stir well.
    3. Dissolve the molasses in some hot water and add to the mixture.
    4. Keep adding feed and water, stirring thoroughly, making sure it's not so thick you can't stir it.
    5. Stir in the cabbage leaves, one at a time.
    6. It will absorb quite a bit of water, so keep adding water and stirring for a few more minutes. It should stir a bit like slightly runny oatmeal...it will thicken up with time. You may or may not use the whole bucket (or may need more) of water depending upon the absorbancy of your feed.
    7. Put the lid on, tight or not (it's a great debate, I usually do a tight lid) and place someplace you don't mind it possibly overflowing sticky fermented mess, such as an unused shower or outside of the weather is above 60F during the day.

    You can start using it right away, if you wish. It is unlikely to go "bad". Most failures of fermenting things has to do with poor water, usually chlorinated water. If you have chlorinated water, call your city water supply and ask what they use to chlorinate it with and do a google search for how to remove said chemical from your water.

    After you've tried this for a while and want to try my recipe, PM me with your email addy and I'll send you a small pdf book I wrote on it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Freerange Chick

    Freerange Chick Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 27, 2014
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    Thank you so much!! You are so nice to share this with me. There is so much information it's easy to get lost and confused. [​IMG]

    One question..... does it matter what type of feed you use?
     
  6. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any kind of feed will work just fine. If it has fish meal in it, some folks have reported odd smells, though the fish meal based feed I used I never noticed that.
     
  7. Freerange Chick

    Freerange Chick Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! Can't wait to try it!
     
  8. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From feedipedia:

    Poultry
    The nutritive values of wheat bran for poultry found in tables and publications are highly variable, due to the wide range of products found under this name. However, whatever the origin, protein, starch and lipid contents are relatively low while the fibre content is high. As a consequence the ME value is low and can be estimated by a fibre measurement such as the crude fiber (Boudouma, 2010a). When diets are calculated by least-cost formulation, inclusion rates of wheat bran are generally low. In countries where this cereal by-product is abundant and inexpensive, low energy pelleted diets containing large amounts of wheat bran might be used. Large amounts of wheat bran can be used in molt diets for layers (Soe et al., 2009).
    When diets are presented as mash, high inclusion rates (> 13 %) of wheat bran tend to reduce feed intake in broilers (Boudouma, 2010b). Pelleting diets may overcome the detrimental effects of low density diets containing wheat bran. Laying hens fed diluted diets in which nutrient density was reduced by inclusion of 45 % wheat bran adjusted their feed intake only when the diets were pelleted while hens fed the mash diet ate less and produced lighter eggs (Vilarino et al., 1996).
    Wheat bran is a natural source of betaine which is known to have positive effects on osmoregulation, carcass fat reduction and on choline and methionine sparing in poultry (Kidd et al., 1997).


    http://www.feedipedia.org/node/726
     
  9. Gnarled Carrots

    Gnarled Carrots Out Of The Brooder

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    I know that this post is 2 years old, but I just googled whether chickens can eat wheat bran and this popped up. We grind our own flour and are constantly looking for things to do with the extra bran. Making fermented chicken feed with it sounds like a great idea! Thanks for already asking/solving this problem!
     
  10. mcliff3

    mcliff3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Funny that we both found a 2 year old post within a day of each other! Is it ok to feed some wheat bran to 4 week old chicks as a treat/supplement to their medicated starter feed? We have a huge bag that we bought from the feed store for our meal worm tank, and have a bunch left over. If it is a healthy supplement and is ok for 4 week old chicks that would be a great use!
     

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