FERMENTED FEEDS...anyone using them?

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

  1. kpgoldstar

    kpgoldstar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2013
    West Coast of Arizona
    My fermented feed is simply chick starter and water since I don't have any laying chickens yet. Enough water to moisten the feed, make sure your bucket will withstand significant expansion! Leave sit in a warm place, stir about every 6 hours for 2-3 days. Once it starts to smell a little sour and you can see bubbles it is ready to feed! As soon as I see an egg, my ff will then be just layer feed and water. No ingredients, no additives, no starter, no grains.

  2. Make it easy on yourself- whatever you're feeding dry- ferment and feed. I use layer and chick starter (winter mix and I have chicks). That's it. If it's really cold or I need to bribe them, I'll give scratch.

  3. It also expands and creates more volume.
  4. kile529

    kile529 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 5, 2011
    Gotcha. I thought it was kinda opposite. Meaning, people were finding that fermenting whole grains was cheaper AND more nutritious than crumble feed. So...you're a pro at this....I'm impressed you've stuck around through the 213 pages of just this thread to help people like me. Thanks!! :)
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Right now whole grains are not cheaper than just layer mash at my feed store and the cheaper grains are usually about the same price or slightly under the price of the mash. But most of the whole grains are more expensive than just layer mash...especially scratch and BOSS.

    This experiment was primarily to cut cost on feeding meat birds but it was so successful at that and other things that I decided to try it on an old flock that had been ill used by a friend and saw amazing results. But, at no time were those experiments done to switch from regular rations to a whole grain ration only. I free range all the time so I only use my feeds for supplemental feed in the warm months and then the full ration in the winter months.

    I'm all about keeping overhead down while still having a healthy flock, so buying expensive ingredients to make my own feed doesn't fall in line with that paradigm. A lot of people out there doing it, though...and getting the same results as those who are feeding cheap ol' regular feeds that have been fermented. They seemed to have missed the point that the fermentation turns the cheap feed into the equivalent of a high dollar, high pro feed but without the big cost.

    It kind of defeats the purpose of that to buy expensive feed ingredients and then ferment them...a chicken can only metabolize so many nutrients and then the rest is excreted, so loading them up on more and more protein, calcium, fat, etc. just puts their organs under a strain and it doesn't increase health or production levels any.

    I'm not a pro, by any means...I'm still learning about this stuff too, but I try to keep people pointed down the middle of the road where walking is the easiest. [​IMG]
  6. chickengirl1193

    chickengirl1193 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 12, 2013
    north Jersey
    I just bought a bag of southern states all grain layer feed because it was a good price and the lady at the feed store suggested it because her chickens are thriving on it after they stopped laying on a nutrena feed. I noticed that it has added probiotics and all that, by fermenting the feed am I just stretching the benefits of the probiotics?
  7. kile529

    kile529 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 5, 2011
    I could kiss you, BeeKissed! lol Thank you for explaining it so simply to me! Before I forget, how to you determine the amount you feed each day? Ahhhhhh I'm so excited to do this for my incubated babies! :) I've had chickens in the past, layers & meat, but moved to a tiny sub and couldn't keep them through the winter. Fast forward a year and we bought a small foreclosed farm with 2 amazing coops!! So excited to get my feathered friends back! :) 10 days left 'till hatch!
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    You are adding your own, stronger probiotics than those to be found in dry feeds. Those probiotics are merely something added...they are not changing the grain ingredients any, your probiotics are working for you by converting the sugars in your grains to amino acids, a "perfect" protein that can be more readily absorbed by the chicken and used more quickly by the cells. They also increase absorption of key vitamins and minerals found in the grains.

    There is no comparison between dry feeds with probiotics added and fermented feeds, other than they could possibly culture the bird's bowels a little with the probiotic supplement.
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    If you've never fed in meals, it will be trial and error for you as each flock consumes different amounts of feed according to breed, chicken, environment, method, feed given. I just break it down so that most can understand....feed what they can clean up within an hour, just once a day. If feeding twice a day, what they can clean up in a half hour.

    If they are leaving a significant amount of feed behind, reduce the feed given. If they are licking their plates before the hour is out, feed more next time. A little residue left in the bottom of the feeder to be picked at later as a snack is normal and they will have it cleaned up completely by the next day. If they do not, feed less the next day.

    This will change with the seasons, especially if you free range at all. Right now, with most birds confined to coops by the weather, most are reporting they are giving their large fowl birds around 1/2 c. each.

    You'll want trough style feeders so they can spread out along them and eat before the food gets too cold. With chicks, keep the FF out from under the direct heat or it will bake hard on top....put it on the periphery of the lamp light and you may still have to stir it a little with your finger to keep the crust broken up. Try to elevate it out of the bedding for both adult and chick birds...most feeders are about chest height. If you are raising on wire they will need something with texture to wipe their beaks on, so try to provide a rough board or something similar.

    You'll have to play with all that to find what suits you and the birds....please let us know how you like it and any results you see, good or bad. We love before and after pics too, if you are inclined.

    You're welcome! [​IMG] Good luck! [​IMG]
  10. sarahsunshine

    sarahsunshine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2013
    Alberta, Canada
    I'm with you on this - I'm not worried, actually, about what was in the bucket previously, I'm worried about the crud that leaches out of the plastic is things are stored in it long term, and I'm not that worried about it. But the thing is I can go to practically any fast food restaurant and ask for a mayonnaise or pickle bucket, and rinse it out, and TADA! there's a food grade plastic 5 gallon bucket! No, I'm not concerned, but if it's that easy, why wouldn't I do it?
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by