chickens in the silage?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by digitS', Aug 17, 2008.

  1. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    17
    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I lived on a farm when I was very young where Dad made silage for the cows. It was made from fresh mown grass and included dry corn and molasses. But, we soon moved and Winter livestock feed no longer included silage. We had chickens but I believe that they were permanently housed during those years. Whatever the case, I don't recall them in the silage.

    It would seem to me that chickens could get quite a bit of benefit from silage. Whatever the plants used should be more palatable and easily digested after the fermentation process. It may be similar to chickens eating sauerkraut but without all the salt, which can't be good for them.

    Does anyone have experience with chickens in the silage?

    Steve
     
  2. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    My chickens don't free-range anymore, but when they did they'd go scratch on the fringes of our silage pile. My guineas still do.
     
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    17
    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I can imagine them looking at that mountain of green food, Katy, and thinking, "Well, I don't need all that!"

    With all the emphasis lately on probiotics for our health and for the health of our chickens, it seems like there'd be some research on silage and poultry.

    I did find a University of Saskatchewan thesis on barley silage reducing feather pecking and aggressive behavior in laying hens (do a google search, "barley silage" poultry site:usask.ca). So, there are some ideas on its value.

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2008
  4. PAChickenChick

    PAChickenChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    139
    0
    119
    May 4, 2008
    Not to sound like a dope...but, well....
    What is silage? I'm getting the impression that it is greens or grains left out to .... dry???

    Thanks.[​IMG]
     
  5. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Quote:Silage is cattle feed that is green chopped and either put into an upright silo or put in a pile (which is what we do) and over time it ferments. You can do it with most any grain crop. Then we feed it over the winter months to our cowherd. It's not dry at all, but warm (from the fermentation) and wet.
     
  6. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Forages are ensiled to provide voliatile fatty acids for livestock and to improve the digestibility of the fiber portion of the forage. Monogastrics (chickens, humans, and pigs) do not have the enzyme complexes or bacteria populations needed to digest forages such as silages and hays. The grains found in corn silage are very digestible, but that is a small portion of the silage crop.

    Your silage idea is novel, but I am afraid it won't provide adequate nutrition for the chickens.

    Jim
     
  7. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    i get the feeling silage comes in many different varieties. i know silage as chopped corn, stalks and ears in all. Sometimes the farmers make it if the corn crop was poor, worth more as silage than as feed corn. Then again, my uncle always called my grandmothers pickled cabbage silage. [​IMG]
     
  8. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    17
    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay :

    Forages are ensiled to provide voliatile fatty acids for livestock and to improve the digestibility of the fiber portion of the forage. Monogastrics (chickens, humans, and pigs) do not have the enzyme complexes or bacteria populations needed to digest forages such as silages and hays. The grains found in corn silage are very digestible, but that is a small portion of the silage crop.

    Your silage idea is novel, but I am afraid it won't provide adequate nutrition for the chickens.

    Jim

    Jim, I've read that chickens don't have much in the way of "friendly" bacteria in their digestive system.

    Still trying to understand that. I guess nothing much gets thru a chicken - that they can deal with, anyway - flies, moths, grubs in the barnyard manure . . . . Fiber is a problem, eh? I think I've got it. Thanks.

    Steve​
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by