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Fermenting Feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by newhenintown, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. newhenintown

    newhenintown Out Of The Brooder

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    Hayden, Al
    Ok so I've been doing some research on fermented feed. The process of fermenting, the dos and donts, and the benefits. I decided to give it a try but I still have some unanswered questions.

    1. Cover it or don't cover it? Both have been suggested
    2. Leave a layer of water on top or it doesn't matter?
    3. How much do I feed them and how often? This will become their every day feed and i have a flock of 12 chickens.

    Lastly does this look right after you get done initially mixing it together? I used a 50/50 ratio of their every day starter/grower and filtered water.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not an expert on FF so I'm just going by the results I saw.

    1. Many people probably cover it due to the fact that it does smell to some extent. If you do cover it, remember to let it breathe once in a while or don't cover it tightly, as expanding gas can blow off the lid.
    2. Not sure if this matters. I discovered that my girls preferred it as thick as possible (like a thick oatmeal), which means less water, so I only added enough water to achieve that. You might need to vary it and see what your chickens like best.
    3. You'll have to experiment with the amount. I was giving about 1 cup a day for 4 nearly grown pullets, but they still had access to unlimited non-fermented feed as well as whatever forage they found. Some days they'd eat it all, other days they barely touched it (usually when it was more watery they didn't want it). They also lost all interest as the weather got colder so I'll try again in spring.

    The appearance will vary depending on the feed you're using. Mine was grey and lumpy, but that's because my feed had a lot of greyish fines.
     
  3. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1 - Don't cover it, needs to breath.
    2 - Don't leave a layer of water on the top.
    3 - What ever amount they'll eat in 20 minutes is what I've read.

    I started doing FF awhile & that's all I'll do now. It's a learning curve & fine tuning as you go along. I will explain my preference....

    I keep mine covered with a taffeta netting material, it needs to breath. I've read where some put the lid on but NOT shut tight, cracked some.

    I did mix it wet, keeping a layer of water on the top & use a plastic strainer to drain some liquid. But read that mixing it "dry" is ok too, oatmeal consistency. I find my girls prefer it that way, ratio of 1:1. You can always add more feed to a wet mix prior to feeding, as rosemary thyme said, different feeds gives a different look.

    I use a soup laddle to scoop out their FF; 2 scoops in the morning & 2 early afternoons maybe another scoop late afternoon. They're confined in their Run/Coop 8 x 12. I went through a BIG SCARE!

    Had changed from DuMor Layer to Flock Raiser, they loved it but after a couple of days they barely ate! The odd part is if I fed them by hand, they ate. Then I read the change of feed should be gradual, so mixed the layer with the FR, they're eating again :) My Mom says it's probably cause it's colder & feeding by hand warms the feed, told her I not micro warming their food. rosemarythyme mentions how hers lost interest as the weather got colder, I never experienced this until last week. That's what makes BYC such a GREAT RESOURCE of information.
     
  4. newhenintown

    newhenintown Out Of The Brooder

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    Hayden, Al
    Ok I don't have it covered and there's no layer of water on top. Its an oatmeal consistency right now so ill add more water as needed. Thank you!
     
  5. newhenintown

    newhenintown Out Of The Brooder

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    Hayden, Al

    Should I cover after the 3-4 day fermentation process is done or leave it uncovered for all of its existence lol? And do you use the back slopping process or start new?
     
  6. balloonflower

    balloonflower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Covering is a personal preference, usually due to considerations aside from the fermenting, such as smell. I don't cover mine, however I did throw a towel across it for a time due to fruit flies from dh's meadmaking that were annoying. But even they don't harm the feed, and could be stirred in with no problem. Stirring daily is more important than covering/not covering.

    Fermenting is very forgiving, and you will learn what works best for you. Personally, I decided I was more comfortable doing three small batches, starting anew each day as opposed to backslopping a continuous batch. But many succeed quite well and prefer that method. So, I just measure out the feed into a small bucket, add water, and a ladleful of scoby liquid from the top of a ready batch.

    I also prefer to feed a very thick ferment. My batches generally have only a thin (maybe eighth inch) layer of water on the top, if that. If it's runnier than I prefer when I'm ready to use, I just add in extra dry crumble to get the consistency I want. My flock of seven layers eat an average of a quart of ferment each day.
     
  7. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    While I did cover mine (I use a half gallon glass jar, and have it sitting under my kitchen sink) I also opened it to stir it twice a day or so, and it seemed okay that way.

    I also use a ladle to dole mine out, they sell stainless steel measuring ladles at restaurant supply stores or places like Amazon, it makes it very easy to measure exactly how much you're feeding and the stainless steel cleans up very well. My ladle is 1/4 cup but there's different sizes.

    I did fairly small batches since I have a small flock. Maybe about 3 days worth of FF, and then I'd add more feed and water as needed (or clean out the jar if it was getting too messy with residue or drips). You'll kind of get the hang of how much to put in over time - I just eyeballed it instead of measuring and it was usually close to the amount of food to water needed. And yes I always added a little more on top just before putting it out, to thicken it even more.

    One other note: remember to check for mold as well. It's not common but it does happen. In that case you'll want to dump out the food, clean out the container, and start over. Otherwise, you can start with a clean jar each time, or use some backslop from the previous batch to kickstart the next batch.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
  8. newhenintown

    newhenintown Out Of The Brooder

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    Hayden, Al
    Thanks to both of you! I think with the type of big tupperware type container that im using ill just use a glass measuring cup and ill probably cover after the 3-4 days. Yall have been a big help!
     
  9. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    I cover mine, but mostly because its kept right by a flock of birds and they'll eat it if I don't lol ;)

    And yeah, after temps plummet below 40, its going to suffer and stop growing, so a heater or warm place is best in cold areas.


    One big factor in success or not is the use of chlorinated water. If you're on a city tap, there's most likely chlorine, which will kill the microbes. So let the water sit open for 24 hours before adding to a live ferment so that chlorine gas can escape ;)

    More info on this big ol thread right here...
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/645057/fermented-feeds-anyone-using-them
     
  10. newhenintown

    newhenintown Out Of The Brooder

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    Hayden, Al

    I have it in the house so its well above 40 degrees. And I used tap water but I filtered it using a filter that filters out chlorine.
     

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