Fermented Feed Questions

timbowsr

Chirping
5 Years
Oct 7, 2014
79
12
51
Southwest Louisiana
I have some 4 week old chicks and was wondering about feeding FF, but I had a few questions ....

1. Are they too young to start on FF?

2. The simplest recipe I found was take whatever you're feeding, add equal parts of water. Stir twice a day for about four days. Can anyone tell me if this is correct?

3. Can you use starter as FF?

4. If I do this, I was going to feed the FF once a day and still give crumbles as free choice. Does this sound correct?

4. Am I completely stupid for even thinking about it???

Any help/advice is appreciated.

Thanks,
Tim
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
17,197
32,554
827
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
No, yes, yes, yes until they are big enough to start foraging on their own for additional chow, and no. Go right ahead and get it going and get them on it! The hardest part is keeping their feet and faces out of it! So I've devised a covered feeder from a vinyl gutter.




The length of chain between the top cover and the bottom feeder part is adjustable. This way we can set it so heads can get in, bodies can't. Also the bottom of the gutter (which is the top of the top in this photo) is extremely slick so they won't be spending much time trying to sit up there. No poop, no FF on feet, and easy as can be!
 

timbowsr

Chirping
5 Years
Oct 7, 2014
79
12
51
Southwest Louisiana
Thanks Blooie. I think I'll steal your feeder idea ... looks great!! Well not sure if I jumped the gun or not, because I'm not sure how to tell if the feed was really fermented. But I started feeding them the FF tonight. They loved it. Took them a second to figure out what it was, but as soon as that first one took a bite the rest was on it like white on rice. :)
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
17,197
32,554
827
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
Thanks Blooie. I think I'll steal your feeder idea ... looks great!! Well not sure if I jumped the gun or not, because I'm not sure how to tell if the feed was really fermented. But I started feeding them the FF tonight. They loved it. Took them a second to figure out what it was, but as soon as that first one took a bite the rest was on it like white on rice. :)
Steal away - if I put it up on BYC it's for anyone who wants to try it, like the Mama Heating Pad! Just keep stirring the FF....some folks feed it wet and let it ferment as they go, and some wait until it's truly fermented. I'm a wait person, but I'm coming to understand that there is no "wrong" way to do it!
 

WIRuby

Hatching
Apr 11, 2015
7
0
7
Hi Blooie, I am looking to make one of these as well. My 15 pullets are 10 weeks old and are eating FF out of bowls right now. My question is how often do you clean the troughs? We are washing the bowls after every meal at this point. The chicks do walk through them but I almost never find poop in them. Also, do you feed FF in the winter? I live in Wisconsin, so freezing is a big issue! Any advise is greatly appreciated! Thanks.
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
17,197
32,554
827
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
Hi Blooie, I am looking to make one of these as well. My 15 pullets are 10 weeks old and are eating FF out of bowls right now. My question is how often do you clean the troughs? We are washing the bowls after every meal at this point. The chicks do walk through them but I almost never find poop in them. Also, do you feed FF in the winter? I live in Wisconsin, so freezing is a big issue! Any advise is greatly appreciated! Thanks.
I am very new to feeding fermented food, so I haven't figured out yet what I'm going to do in the winter. I do know that we are going on vacation from June 18 until the 27th and taking my 9 year old chicken-sitter granddaughter with us, so her mom will be taking care of the chickens while we're gone. She isn't as "into" all things chickens as Katie is, and I just can't see her feeding the FF. I'm going to be doing good to get her to remember to stir it every day, so I may just put a bucket of it in the spare fridge to slow it down and have her feed dry food while we're gone. Then I'll use that refrigerated bucket as "starter" for a new batch when I get back.

I haven't fed it in winter yet, either, but many do. They feed just what the birds can clean up in 1/2 hour so it doesn't freeze before it gets eaten, and they keep their FF bucket somewhere in the house to keep the fermentation going. I have a very small house - it's a 1976 single wide mobile home we inherited - and there is simply no place to keep it in here. The honest answer is that I'm just going to have to play with it for this first year until I figure out what's going to work for me. But I want the benefits of feeding FF so I'm maintaining an open mind and going to depend on our creativity to figure it all out. If I have to, I'll feed dry while we are in our sub-zero periods here.

Cleaning the feeder will be easy. Tilt it slightly and run a little water down it. Done. I don't know yet how often it will have to be cleaned. Guess I'm not much help with your questions!

I posted complete directions for the feeder here on BYC. I'll post the link.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/fuss-free-fermented-feed-feeder
 

timbowsr

Chirping
5 Years
Oct 7, 2014
79
12
51
Southwest Louisiana
Just an update on my FF experiment. They absolutely love it! I have it in a gallon mason jar. Every evening I get enough out that they can completely eat in about thirty minutes ( about 6 - 7 spoonfuls ). I then put 2 cups of feed and 1 cup of water back in and stir it up vigorously. This seems to give me enough so that I am always leaving about a half gallon of the FF in the jar and then replenishing it for what I'll take out the next day. It doesn't have a bad smell, it just smells sour ( almost a sweet smell ) kind of like sauerkraut or something similar. It swells up and has bubbles on the top every evening and reminds me of sourdough starter. As for the feeder, these guys are in a limited space pen right now ( hopefully going into a new grow out pen this weekend ) so I split a four inch piece of pvc and attached it to two 2x4 pieces for legs, this is easily taken in and out of the pen and cleaning is a breeze. Yes, they jump in and walk around in it and I wish they wouldn't, the pen floor seems to take care of any left on their feet. But ... I will be building one of those feeders as soon as I get them in the new coup!!

BTW ... I have read of all the benefits of FF, but are there any visual indications of how it helps? I don't know if its because of the FF or just a natural growth spurt, but these guys are sure putting on some weight/height/frame. This has gone so well, I believe I am going to start another batch for my main coup. Will keep ya'll posted.
 

Cluckfun

In the Brooder
Jun 12, 2015
10
1
26
Columbia, SC
Hello I am new here and just about 6 weeks into having chicks! They are 6 weeks old this coming weekend and I have just started fermenting their feed. I have 10 of them and they love the fermented feed and gobble it right up (we just started 2 days ago). My question is do I need to supplement the fermented feed with additional dry feed also? I have been giving them the amount of fermented feed equivalent to what I was feeding them dry, twice a day. The main difference I see is that they are actually eating it all as opposed to the dry stuff being strewn everywhere. I just want to make sure I'm not starving them. I expect to be moving them to their coop and chicken run this coming weekend...so excited!!! :D I appreciate anyone's advice!
 

timbowsr

Chirping
5 Years
Oct 7, 2014
79
12
51
Southwest Louisiana
Hi, Cluckfun. I've only had my chickens about a year now, but I've learned quit a bit in that time. I asked some of the same questions on the start of this thread and from what Blooie has told me is that you continue to feed the dry feed along with the FF. BTW, I free choice my dry feed, always keeping the hopper full. I feed FF once a day in the evenings, and only give enough so that they can clean it up in about thirty minutes or so. But please bare in mind that I'm new to this as well, so I don't won't to steer you in the wrong direction. I would wait for Blooie to respond.
 

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