Fermenting Feed.

WNYfarmfresh

Chirping
Aug 1, 2020
67
117
60
Western NY
How long are you fermenting, and why?

I’m a brewer by trade. Scientifically, all you need is 24hrs. I soak/ferment for 24hrs then drain water into a separate bucket and add my supplement to the fermented grain then feed. 1/2 cup of drainage to my next bucket of dry grain and top with water just until the grain is covered.
All we are trying to do here is activate yeast and enzyme action. Any longer than 24 and the activated yeast and enzymes begin to deplete the nutritional value of the feed and produce alcohol.

I can’t make sense of what you guys are doing. Please explain.
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
11,783
21,778
792
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
I start feeding at 24 hrs because I'm lazy and don't want to do separate buckets or wait 3 days to be able to use a batch of feed (plus it goes sour if sitting too long in summer). I'm less about trying to do something magical to increase nutritional value and more about reducing waste because fermenting forces my birds to eat everything in their whole grain mash.
 

WNYfarmfresh

Chirping
Aug 1, 2020
67
117
60
Western NY
I start feeding at 24 hrs because I'm lazy and don't want to do separate buckets or wait 3 days to be able to use a batch of feed (plus it goes sour if sitting too long in summer). I'm less about trying to do something magical to increase nutritional value and more about reducing waste because fermenting forces my birds to eat everything in their whole grain mash.
No, wha you’re doing is magical, and as I pointed out... you are not depleting the nutritional value of your grain by stopping when you do. Thanks for posting!
 

centralcaligirl

Songster
Mar 30, 2017
216
369
136
Sacramento, California
I start feeding at 24 hrs because I'm lazy and don't want to do separate buckets or wait 3 days to be able to use a batch of feed (plus it goes sour if sitting too long in summer). I'm less about trying to do something magical to increase nutritional value and more about reducing waste because fermenting forces my birds to eat everything in their whole grain mash.
Same here. I feed a whole grain feed and ferment for 24 hours because otherwise they won't eat the fines. One could argue that I could simply wet the feed and not go through the 24 hour fermentation at all, but the poop is less sticky and easier to clean up. Plus they love it.

You can read the Scratch and Peck fermentation guide here:

https://www.scratchandpeck.com/wp-content/uploads/Scratch-and-Peck-Feeds-How-to-Ferment-Feeds.pdf

They recommend one to four days fermentation depending on the temperature. Some people are fermenting their feed in large batches outside in the winter in very cold conditions, and in those areas need to ferment longer than I would (it's a small batch in my house).
 

humblehillsfarm

Songster
Mar 27, 2020
1,581
2,547
183
Southwestern Pennsylvania
How long are you fermenting, and why?

I’m a brewer by trade. Scientifically, all you need is 24hrs. I soak/ferment for 24hrs then drain water into a separate bucket and add my supplement to the fermented grain then feed. 1/2 cup of drainage to my next bucket of dry grain and top with water just until the grain is covered.
All we are trying to do here is activate yeast and enzyme action. Any longer than 24 and the activated yeast and enzymes begin to deplete the nutritional value of the feed and produce alcohol.

I can’t make sense of what you guys are doing. Please explain.
My next door neighbor is a poultry research professor. His specialty is researching feed for meat birds, but of course he's knowledgeable in other areas, too. He recently told me fermentation is getting big in the commercial industry because there is now research to support the benefits of good gut-health in birds. Of course, we already knew the benefits.

He brings me bags of feed he's formulated. It's *technically* for meat birds, but my laying hens haven't had any health issues thus far. It is a mash though. Anyone every try fermenting mash? Has anyone ever tried using a sourdough starter or sauerkraut water to get things going in their first feed ferment?
 

centralcaligirl

Songster
Mar 30, 2017
216
369
136
Sacramento, California
He brings me bags of feed he's formulated. It's *technically* for meat birds, but my laying hens haven't had any health issues thus far. It is a mash though. Anyone every try fermenting mash?
You can definitely ferment mash. The trick is making sure it's thick enough when you feed that they can take "bites" out of it. You can always add a little dry mash before feeding if it's too "wet."
 

WNYfarmfresh

Chirping
Aug 1, 2020
67
117
60
Western NY
So to elaborate on my specific feed scenario...

I’m using straight cracked corn.

I measure 5 pounds into each of two buckets.

I then cover the grain with water an inch over the top of the grain.

No additives needed. Natural wild yeast on the corn will begin fermentation almost immediately. Natural enzymes in the corn will begin breaking down complex carbohydrates into more readily digestible carbs. Not to mention it turns it back into a near fresh piece of corn.

After 24 hrs I mix in Kalmbach 122p 44% poultry supplement/Lime/etc as directed to achieve whatever percentage I’m trying to hit. The consistency is a semi wet crumble, dry enough to put in a regular gravity feeder.

I like to drain my corn with a colander into a separate bucket. I mix a splash or so of the drainage in with my next batch of corn.

Rinse your buckets and refill when you feed so that they are ready for the next day.

At the end of 24 hrs your grain should be at High Kräusen and ready to feed.

I see no value in fermenting out the sugar.
Again just trying to activate the yeast and enzymes in the corn make the feed more digestible.
 
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rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
11,783
21,778
792
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
Same here. I feed a whole grain feed and ferment for 24 hours because otherwise they won't eat the fines. One could argue that I could simply wet the feed and not go through the 24 hour fermentation at all, but the poop is less sticky and easier to clean up. Plus they love it.
Wetting also doesn't give it the same tackiness as fermenting, so all the "stuff" doesn't clump together nicely Or else yes, maybe I would find wetting to be enough. But it's almost easier to simply make a batch of fermented feed for a couple of days, and then just keep it going, than to make individual bowls of wet-but-not-sticky feed each day.
 

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