Fermenting Homemade Whole Food Chicken Feed

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
4,675
13,646
536
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
I'm cleaning rabbits and guinea pigs right now so I will give better response later, hopefully. I'm not certain that I am qualified to judge. I am asking questions, researching and learning as a first-time chicken mama. I have been carefully reading labels on all of my animal feed and also my own, and honestly I'm horrified, esp after reading the conditions of and what is fed to most commercially raised chickens and cattle. Guinea pig and rabbit food is loaded with fillers and preservatives in most cases. Whatever the chickens eat passes to us through their eggs, right? I am not good with a heavy corn and soy diet for myself. Most corn and soy are GMO in US, so I question the reliability of food that says organic and non-GMO, esp if they don't provide the source of the ingredients. I understand that dietary requirements for chickens are different than my own, still I am continually looking for better or the best options. I also know that all the contradictory opinions about chicken feeding in blogs and other articles are just opinions and not based in research or fact so I double and triple check. I put a post about feeding chickens charcoal mixed with apple cider vinegar and everyone poo pooed me, but this information was verified by scientific studies on a government website https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23972401/ which you can check out. Ok. I'm out until later. The natives are getting restless.
Yes, I was aware of the study, and commented on it in the other thread. I won't repeat those comments here.

No, what chickens eat does not, necessarily, pass thru their gut and into the egg. Very little does, intact, in fact.

Personally, I look for Soy in feed for chickens - as a legume, its one of the few decent vegitative sources for Methionine, which is a critical limiting amino acid, particularly in developing/growing birds - good sources are so rare, in fact, that synthetic methionine (limited by regulation) can be added to "Organic" animal feeds, and still maintain its Organic status.

If you have questions regarding sourcing, you can absolutely contact the company making the claims regarding it. It is HIGHLY regulated here in the US, so much so that it serves asbarrier to entry by small farmers, even those who would be "Organic" and "non-GMO" by practice, except in the matter of recordkeeping. Litigation over false claims is HIGHLY lucrative- its grounded in fraud and typically involves statutuory, rather than actual damages, often includes amultiplier where actual damages are shown, and finally - contra the "American Rule" - often provides fee shifting to the Attorney of the one bringing the claim, if successful.

The history of human farming is one of carefully selecting desired genetics. I'm sure you've seen the broccoli poster, but if not -
1633297661303.png

All the results of carefully selecting for desired mutations and the culling of undesired traits. That a thing is modified, in and of itself, is not concerning. Even "Round-Up Ready" plants aren't a concern in and of itself, the concern is that a Round Up ready crop encourages use of glyphoshates, which are of concern. Or perhaps you select for non-GMO because labels don't currently distinguishbetween organisms modified by man, and those modified by man with DNA alien to themselves - such as the way many synthetic amino acids are now produced, and thousands of other useful substances besides.

As to non gmo-Soy? Depends on who you ask. The Soy Export Council claims its about 50%, and they should know. Of course, the USDA says otherwise. It seems like both can't be true, but perhaps USDA is speaking about all planted food grade soy, while US SEC is refering to all soy (food grade and non) destined for export. I can appreciate some frustration in finding hard data.

In any event, what you find in chicken feed will vary by manufacturer - and its often the most expensive feeds that have the most odd-ball ingredients, many of dubious value. I commend you for reading labels, but that's only a necessary pre-condition. Each ingredient you find there must then be researched on its own. Why is it there, what benefit does it offer, what concerns does it bring with it?

Good luck in your research efforts.
 

CluelessChickMom

Chirping
Jun 1, 2021
56
108
96
Tucson, Arizona
Truth be told I believe most of those federal acronym agencies are beyond corrupt. It's all about money so the little guy gets squeezed out. Just look at the pharmaceutical industry, but that's a whole 'nother topic. 😉
 

CluelessChickMom

Chirping
Jun 1, 2021
56
108
96
Tucson, Arizona
Yes, I was aware of the study, and commented on it in the other thread. I won't repeat those comments here.

No, what chickens eat does not, necessarily, pass thru their gut and into the egg. Very little does, intact, in fact.

Personally, I look for Soy in feed for chickens - as a legume, its one of the few decent vegitative sources for Methionine, which is a critical limiting amino acid, particularly in developing/growing birds - good sources are so rare, in fact, that synthetic methionine (limited by regulation) can be added to "Organic" animal feeds, and still maintain its Organic status.

If you have questions regarding sourcing, you can absolutely contact the company making the claims regarding it. It is HIGHLY regulated here in the US, so much so that it serves asbarrier to entry by small farmers, even those who would be "Organic" and "non-GMO" by practice, except in the matter of recordkeeping. Litigation over false claims is HIGHLY lucrative- its grounded in fraud and typically involves statutuory, rather than actual damages, often includes amultiplier where actual damages are shown, and finally - contra the "American Rule" - often provides fee shifting to the Attorney of the one bringing the claim, if successful.

The history of human farming is one of carefully selecting desired genetics. I'm sure you've seen the broccoli poster, but if not -
View attachment 2854681
All the results of carefully selecting for desired mutations and the culling of undesired traits. That a thing is modified, in and of itself, is not concerning. Even "Round-Up Ready" plants aren't a concern in and of itself, the concern is that a Round Up ready crop encourages use of glyphoshates, which are of concern. Or perhaps you select for non-GMO because labels don't currently distinguishbetween organisms modified by man, and those modified by man with DNA alien to themselves - such as the way many synthetic amino acids are now produced, and thousands of other useful substances besides.

As to non gmo-Soy? Depends on who you ask. The Soy Export Council claims its about 50%, and they should know. Of course, the USDA says otherwise. It seems like both can't be true, but perhaps USDA is speaking about all planted food grade soy, while US SEC is refering to all soy (food grade and non) destined for export. I can appreciate some frustration in finding hard data.

In any event, what you find in chicken feed will vary by manufacturer - and its often the most expensive feeds that have the most odd-ball ingredients, many of dubious value. I commend you for reading labels, but that's only a necessary pre-condition. Each ingredient you find there must then be researched on its own. Why is it there, what benefit does it offer, what concerns does it bring with it?

Good luck in your research efforts.
You are correct about the ingredients and 3/4 of my above comment disappeared but no biggy.
 

MaggieRose2001

Chirping
Jun 27, 2021
67
174
81
Bangor, Maine
My Coop
My Coop
This is similar to what I do but I make my own whole grain feed to ferment & they love it. I use the Garden Betty corn free “recipe” I also use it as a free choice feed in their trough with crumble & add hemp seed free choice as an added treat (high protein & Omega 3 & 6) My chickens also free range in the tractor or supervised in the backyard + get occasional leftovers, fresh garden veggies, live mealworms, sprouts/fodder & other treats. We try to maintain a well balanced diet through variety.
I am still new as well but also have a soy sensitivity. I want my birds to be healthy & happy. Honestly, my homemade whole grain food looks more like real food to me than grower crumble. My chickens prefer it to crumble & will eat every bite where as they tend to fling crumble every where. Another + that I’ve seen is that my homemade food doesn’t mold if it gets wet like crumble does. It just sprouts which is just another nutritious snack for them.
You mentioned you use Garden Betty’s recipe - which one? I have watched all of her videos and it seems like she started with one idea / recipe and then switched. What grains do you feed?
 

MaggieRose2001

Chirping
Jun 27, 2021
67
174
81
Bangor, Maine
My Coop
My Coop
I feed my free-range chickens whole grains with a recipe I concocted using Garden Betty's Chicken Feed Calculator. We keep 25 lbs each of various organic grains and beans from Azure Standard for emergency long term storage, and this is my source for my chickens also.
They don't like the split peas or the alfalfa pellets and will leave them, greatly reducing their protein intake, so I have taken to fermenting. Now they gobble every last morsel and drink the liquid eagerly.
Their coop hopper is always full with an organic, soy-free crumble mix, but they start mobbing me every time I step out the door for their daily "treat" and attack it with relish. Aside from a couple of handfuls of dried black soldier fly worms (super high in protein, calcium, and fat) and the occasional piece of fruit, this is the only "treat" I set out for them. They eat more of the fermented feed than the crumbles.
Just for interest (everyone should carefully calculate the nutrients in their own homemade mix), here's my recipe: Everything is organic. It costs me about 1$ per pound, which is good for organic, non soy feed. I do change the recipe around a bit sometimes.

2 cups oats
2 cups wheat
2 cups dried split peas
1.5 cups whole corn
1 cup alfalfa pellets
1 cup black oil sunflower seeds
1/2 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup COOKED lentils
1 T kelp powder

I cover the mix with water. Because this makes about 10 cups and I only have 15 chickens, I start feeding the very next day (wet mash) and continue taking some out each day while it is sitting on my kitchen counter getting sour. When bubbles appear (fermented), I refrigerate and continue feeding.

Their daily protein intake is higher than 17.7% because of the 45% protein BSFL worms treat they get and the bugs they forage. To be exactly sure, I probably should measure the worms and figure them into this recipe. I have just started putting out oyster shell free choice to my just-on-the-verge-of-laying girls.
View attachment 2764156

View attachment 2764160
Thank you. I really appreciate your post.
 

Perris

Still learning
Jan 28, 2018
4,520
19,864
777
Gower, Wales
I'm cleaning rabbits and guinea pigs right now so I will give better response later, hopefully. I'm not certain that I am qualified to judge. I am asking questions, researching and learning as a first-time chicken mama. I have been carefully reading labels on all of my animal feed and also my own, and honestly I'm horrified, esp after reading the conditions of and what is fed to most commercially raised chickens and cattle. Guinea pig and rabbit food is loaded with fillers and preservatives in most cases. Whatever the chickens eat passes to us through their eggs, right? I am not good with a heavy corn and soy diet for myself. Most corn and soy are GMO in US, so I question the reliability of food that says organic and non-GMO, esp if they don't provide the source of the ingredients. I understand that dietary requirements for chickens are different than my own, still I am continually looking for better or the best options. I also know that all the contradictory opinions about chicken feeding in blogs and other articles are just opinions and not based in research or fact so I double and triple check. I put a post about feeding chickens charcoal mixed with apple cider vinegar and everyone poo pooed me, but this information was verified by scientific studies on a government website https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23972401/ which you can check out. Ok. I'm out until later. The natives are getting restless.
thanks for the link; interesting article. My chickens commonly snack on the wood ash and charcoal in the dust bath, and their instincts are generally great. I'm with you on giving my chickens foods that I recognize as such, and doing my own research. Have you read H. Ussery The small scale poultry flock, 2011, esp. pp. 154-9 on purchased feeds?
 

Perris

Still learning
Jan 28, 2018
4,520
19,864
777
Gower, Wales
I commend you for reading labels, but that's only a necessary pre-condition. Each ingredient you find there must then be researched on its own. Why is it there, what benefit does it offer, what concerns does it bring with it?
good luck with that for those who want to do it. I prefer to feed my chickens things that have been eaten by chickens for hundreds or thousands of years.
 

Bananer86

Chirping
May 25, 2021
76
92
86
Central Alabama
You mentioned you use Garden Betty’s recipe - which one? I have watched all of her videos and it seems like she started with one idea / recipe and then switched. What grains do you feed?
I have since discontinued, I was using the recipe on her website but after having problems with soft shell eggs I started fermenting their layer feed. I do add sesame seeds, rye seed, wheat berries & sometimes hemp seed to their fermented feed. They love whole grains.
 

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