Feeding Whey

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Leahs Mom, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. Leahs Mom

    Leahs Mom Free Ranging

    Feb 9, 2012
    Northern Indiana
    I plan to give my chickens whey from home-cheesemaking from time to time and have a few questions from those of you that may do the same. (From organic, raw milk.)

    -What is the best way to feed: Plain whey? Mixed with feed?

    -At what age can they have whey? (Is calcium level an issue when young?)

    -How much can they have? (If I give free-choice, will they eat too much if I put out a lot?)

  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I just put mine out plain in a bowl. I don't get much, maybe a quart for almost 20 birds that are laying or pol, so I'm not worried about calcium. Then again, I don't worry about it anyway lol. They drink it right up. I'm not sure how much would be too much, but as a rule birds aren't like us humans, they don't overeat. It might eventually get nasty if there's too much for them to eat in several days, but a day or two's worth shouldn't be a problem.
  3. miscindy

    miscindy Hatching

    Feb 26, 2012
    I am new to chickens but I had some whey left from yogurt the other day and mixed in some layer pellets and they gobbled it right up! I am glad to find a use for the whey-I know it's healthy but I can't get past the smell to bake with it!
  4. Maggie C

    Maggie C Chirping

    Jan 26, 2012
    Largo, FL
  5. ci_cyfarth

    ci_cyfarth Chirping

    Dec 29, 2011
    Columbia, MO
    This is great info since I also make yogurt with raw (-ish, since I heat it for the yogurt) milk. Granted, the girls may have to fight me for the whey since I actually really like the stuff, but... :D
  6. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    Whey is full of protein which is great for chickens, but depending on your method of production it can also have quite a bit of lactose. Birds are not able to process lactose the way mammals are, and while surely some lactose won't hurt your chickens, it's probably not a good idea to get them too much, too often. Some won't hurt them, realistically! Chickens have been getting into milk for centuries, though arguably (traditional) raw milk is different than pasteurized.
    I often have whey while making kefir, and in the process of making kefir most of the lactose is consumed by the kefir flora, so I feel comfortable giving my chickens a whey snack once a week or so. I mix it with their leftover food 'powder' and they love it. Do whatever you are comfortable with!
  7. anlawrence

    anlawrence In the Brooder

    Apr 30, 2013
    Coincidentally I have just put out a small bowlful of whey for my two hens which was some of the left overs from making feta cheese. I thought they might not take to it immediately but they practically pushed me out of the way (see how I resisted the temptation to spell that 'whey'!) to get at it. They also adore yoghurt but I don't give it to them too often.

    The way I see it I like to give them things they might find in nature (such as lettuce or the odd berry) as a treat and supplement to their regular diet of layers pellets. They also get a handful of mixed corn, mealworms and suet once a day. They seem to be thriving.

    Isle of Man
    Great Britain


  8. pdirt

    pdirt Songster

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    We have one Ameraucana that lays a lot of thin shelled eggs. We weren't sure she was eating enough of the oyster shell, so I tried giving them kefir. I give about 1/3 cup a day to the 4 layers. This bird RUNS to me if she thinks I may be coming out with the kefir and she is the first to the dish and the last to leave! Some of the other birds get excited, but this is really endearing. Today she ate nearly all of it herself while the others were distracted by the sprouted BOSS (new food to them). It seems her shells are getting stronger, but so far hard to tell. I also wonder if she had digestive problems coming in and the kefir is helping with that. We did switch all the birds' feed when we got them from a pellet layer feed to an organic grower plus oyster shell on the side. All of the other birds have taken to the oyster shell well (plus they free range much of the day) and their shells are fine. Either the Ameraucana is still stressed from the new home (about 7 weeks ago) or possibly she has a shell gland issue. They are all about 11 months old now.
  9. ChikMe

    ChikMe Hatching

    Oct 6, 2013
    The Piney Woods
    I have 2 1/2 week old chicks... I was wondering when a good time to introduce whey would be... I use raw milk and make cottage cheese regularly. I would like to be able to feed it to someone!
  10. ChikMe

    ChikMe Hatching

    Oct 6, 2013
    The Piney Woods
    Did you ever find out what age you could introduce whey?[​IMG]

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