Found a fermented alfalfa product that is thrilling my flock

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by azygous, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    Has anyone heard of Chaffhaye? A friend with horses turned me onto it. It's a fermented alfalfa hay product, and my chickens absolutely are going nuts for it. They eat every tiny morsel. A five pound bag runs around $5 and is tightly compacted and goes a long way.

    It's fermented so it's moist. It sets up a good flora in the gut. It helps make nice deep orange yolks. It's a great treat and occupies the chickens to keep down mischief. It's marketed for chickens, along with all other animals that eat green vegetation. It's a perfect winter supplement when natural browse is dormant.

    Just thought you all might be interested in checking it out. http://chaffhaye.com/
     
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  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

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    Wow! Thanks for posting this - my birds are yearning for some greenery as the dog days of winter drag on! I am most certainly going to check this out!! This for posting, azygous! [​IMG]
     
  3. I ferment alfalfa cubes separately from the fermented feed. This is a great thing to do in winter. A forty pound bag of compressed cubes cost me $10 at the feed store. The cubes expand quite a bit in their own ferment. I add one or two cubes to the ferment at a time to replenish the ferment (backslopping).

    I throw in some boss as well. They get a scoop or two of the fermented alfalfa every day on top of their fermented feed and eat it all gone.

    IMO $5 is a bit expensive for five pounds, but if you don't want to do it yourself, I think fermented alfalfa has been a great thing to do in the dead of winter to consistently give them green food they would not otherwise be getting!
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Will consider this for next year's provision of greens. Would be easier than sprouting. I currently have 5 jars of various products sprouting in my kitchen.
     
  5. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

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    I got some free bags of chaffhaye from a boarder. Was feeding it to only one mare. Spoiled before I could work through it.
    At $5/5# that works to $2000/ton. If you factor in the high moisture content you are really paying closer to $2600/ton. I normally pay $125/ton and worst case $225/ton for good quality alfalfa. I have not opened a bag of chaffhaye recently but 10 years ago it was heavy with mature stems. Picking up a few 3rd or 4th cutting bales of alfalfa from the feed store for $10 sounds like a better deal. As a treat? Fine but not part of a cost effective sustainable feeding program. If you ferment your feed toss some pellets or cubes in the bucket.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
  6. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    As I understand it, Chaffhaye is lacto-fermented, and what you may have seen as spoilage was yeast and not mold. So far, I haven't seen any woody stems. The chickens are cleaning up every morsel I put out. At $5 per bag, it's cost effective for me since my chickens aren't going to eat but a bag per month. I spend more than that in cabbages over the same period of time, and I'm sure there's more nutrition in the alfalfa.

    I'm recommending it as a treat, not a major portion of a flock's nutritional intake. It's simply a very simple, quick way to get greens into a flock's diet during winter.
     
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  7. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    Seeing as this thread has been pulled out of attic storage, I'd like to relate an experience that caused me to stop giving my chickens Chaffhaye.

    A good friend had given me a 50 pound bale of Chaffhaye that was still in its sealed plastic wrapper. I don't know how long he had it before giving it to me, but the stuff is supposed to have a reasonably long shelf life as long as it remained sealed.

    I opened it and a very rank stink hit me in the face. It smelled sort of like composting grass cuttings, part rotting slime and part mold. This wasn't anything like the yeast that's supposed to inhabit Chaffhaye. Up to this point, I'd never smelled any rank odor associated with it. This was obviously well along in decomposition and unfit to feed any animal let along chickens that would be especially vulnerable to mold and bacterial spoilage.

    If you do try this product, be sure and use your sense of smell to judge whether it's fit to feed your chickens. It should smell like fresh cut alfalfa and have a yeasty tang. It should not smell rotten and spoiled. Humans have evolved to be able to smell this difference. Please use your nose before giving it to your flock.
     

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