FERMENTED FEEDS...anyone using them?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Beekissed, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. Scott H

    Scott H Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2012
    Twin Lakes, ID
    My Coop
    Sorry....doesn't seem natural to me. Birds aren't like wolves where they take on a giant meal and sleep it off the rest of the day.They are set up to forage all day long....except there is no forage right now....
  2. niqueie

    niqueie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mine aren't sleeping it off. They are actively scratching and exploring during the day. All of us here agree that forage is best, but obviously that doesn't cut it for the only source of nutrition. These are domesticated animals so they need care. It does a great job of giving what they need and not wasting. It is a better more nutritious feed also. Many of us feed twice, but some feed once a day. The birds do thrive and that is our own proof.
    1 person likes this.
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    As with any feeder, it needs to be elevated to about the height of the chickens' backs. Same with water.

    Same here, either identical temps or just a couple degree difference.

    Today I plan on hanging sections of gutter on the wall inside the coops.

    Probably not a bad idea but with the temps hovering around zero F since I started FF I can't do it. I'd have to be carrying small portions out there all day.
    I still have bulk dry feeders in each coop but once I have the FF feeders set up and the daytime temps stay above freezing, I'll go that way.

    I agree. When the crop is empty, they're hungry. That translates to first thing in the morning and periodically throughout the day. Their digestive tract is set up for a prey animal. They can gorge, hide/dust bathe, gorge/forage, hide, gorge, off to roost.
  4. chickengirl1193

    chickengirl1193 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 12, 2013
    north Jersey
    My main reason for switching to the ff was to save money on the feed bill but a few mistakes caused a lot of waste because food was freezing or getting filled with shavings so im hoping now that ive ironed out some kinks there wont be any more waste. With the dry feed they billed out so much onto the ground yhat their shavings were mostly feed and I knew because every time I cleaned the coop thr goats would eat all the feed out of the shavings...
  5. I, personally, see no downside. Mine are cooped at night and free range the rest of the time because I have no run.

    I have never had picky chickens. And I'm still glad they aren't bigger because I'd be on the menu if I fell........
  6. And P.S.- because I'm in the South, I have plenty of forage right now. Even if it's just digging through horse poop, they've got tons to do (and eat, since the voles are out en masse this year). :D
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I feed the sprouted seeds/grains as a scratch or in a separate container.
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    In the winter all bets are off for birds to "forage" all the time, even in the wild. They will often find a food source, gorge on it and then rest to conserve calories and keep warm. Most animals are not in full graze mode in the winter months but will eat as much as they can at one place then bed down and stay warm, conserve the energy they just consumed. Birds forage all during the warm months because it's readily available and they don't have to conserve body heat, so they can expend all the motion they want to find food.

    The crop of the bird stores the one meal for all day and it is sampled from in the digestive system for that whole day. I've killed birds whose last meal was 17 hours earlier and found them to have a full crop. In the winter time their metabolism slows way down to accommodate this kind of feeding. Even the wolves are the same...they forage in the warmer months on small game, roots, grubs, even fruit...but in the winter they will hunt bigger game and gorge upon it so they can lay up and conserve their energy for heat.

    What's not natural in the winter time is to have readily available feed sources all throughout the day like they have in the warmer months. That's why I feed in the morning in the winter and in the evening in the other months. They get that one meal that they can use the energy from all day long and into the next day. Many feed before they go to the roost in the winter thinking that this will keep them warmer, but that's not when they need it the most...on the roost they have body heat and closeness to one another to keep them warm, they are still and conserving energy to keep warm. In the day time they are moving about and need that energy much more to stay warm, so a morning meal is ideal for winter months and the FF in the crop storage will continue to ferment and generate heat, which is also a great little way to keep them warm in the day.

    I try to treat my flock as much as I can as they would naturally be in the wild, which is one reason I cut protein nutrition a little in the winter months when others are increasing it...it's not natural for birds to have rich nutrition throughout the winter months and their diet will be more fiber and carbs than it will be proteins. It keeps my birds healthy for many long years and not only healthy, but still laying.
  9. Katt66

    Katt66 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2013
    Barnesville, PA
    Very well said.

    My question also is, is natural always better?
    Consider both sides. Natural for a chicken would be pretty much like a wild North American Turkey. Foraging and scrimping and scratching around all day long and roosting in the trees at night. Unless they happen to come upon a really good food source then it's gobble up as much as they can and hope it's enough to sustain them till the next meal is found. I can guarantee you wild North American turkeys do not in any way live as productive or long a life as farm raised turkeys. I've never encountered a Jungle Fowl in the wild as we don't live anywhere near their natural habitat but I'd think they'd be pretty much the same. But, consider also, the majority of us are not keeping our chickens in a climate anywhere near their "natural" ancestral climate. I'd imagine the wild Jungle Fowl actually have it a bit easier than North American turkeys because of the warmer overall climate. Throw chickens who are descendant from these birds out into a "natural" environment anywhere but in the tropics, they won't fare as well as their "unnaturally" kept friends in your neighbor's back yard.

    So as far as that goes, feeding them one lump feeding in the morning may or may not be "natural". But I have to flat out question if "natural" IS indeed always better.

    I adore my birds and see them entirely as "pets with benefits" I will never do anything that is not in their best interest as far as living happy healthy lives above and beyond meat or egg production. I prefer to make sure my birds have a good balanced nutritious meal on my own time. What they do with the rest of their day is all on them. As far as foraging, it's skimpy in the winter. Though they do enjoy digging in the run and I'm sure they do find the occasional little treat in there. And they've got the compost pile in the yard to play in as well. They don't seem to be minding any of what I'm doing behaviorally. Nobody's picking feathers or stressing in any way. All are happy with clear bright eyes, clean glossy feathers and lay eggs regularly with full heavy shells free of pits or bumps or any kind. I handle each of them on a daily basis and especially obsess over weight and crops. Crops are always full and breast are filled out but not fat. One of them becoming eggbound is a nightmare of mine. I've been told that egg laying breeds won't overeat. But I still prefer to control their intake like I do my dogs and cats. Because becoming overweight is a sure way to becoming eggbound and dying. And that's not an option around here. As I said earlier, they are pets first and producers second. And as with my dogs and cats, I prefer thin over fat. Fat is definitely much more detrimental to overall health. And fat is less likely to happen if they don't have a feeder full of crumbles hanging there all day long for them to nibble at out of boredom.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    That's for each person to decide for him or herself on flock tending. If your methods have stood the test of time and suit you, produce healthy flocks and good production and you don't have to worry about illness in your paradigm, then whatever you are doing is obviously the "best" for you and your chickens.

    The threads and posts here are offered up for consideration and for learning if one would want to learn. They are in no way a "one way to do this" type of thing and they can be taken as good or left as bad as each person sees fit.

    I,personally, don't feel that chickens descended from wild jungle fowl but were specifically designed to work in conjunction with humans to produce food, as were some other types of fowl. That's why chickens lay all year round~give or take~and wild turkeys lay a clutch or two in the spring. They were designed as food producing partners for humans and as such have a distinct and very different life than wild fowl, but still close enough that their digestion systems are very similar as are the way they utilize energy throughout the seasons. Available food sources are only augmented by their close association with humans in a domestic capacity and in a real life situation, our food varies in nutrition by seasons also...humans did not always have the world trade, fruits and veggies out of season, etc. that they now have and food was very seasonal, and as such, so were the feed supply of our domestic animals.

    I like the way that God designed my chickens and I don't mess with it too much and just try to act like a good steward. It's not for everyone...but it is for me. It's stood the test of a long time, it works for all the breeds I favor, and it suits my life while keeping all my chickens healthy and producing well for many years. Is natural always best? For me it is.

    You'll have to decide that for yourself.
    1 person likes this.

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