How much fermented feed per bird?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jamie551, Dec 8, 2017.

  1. jamie551

    jamie551 In the Brooder

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    Hello,
    I'm going to try fermenting the food for my flock of 17 layers. I've seen the recommendation of 1/4 lb of feed per bird per day for dry feed, but how much fermented feed should I expect to feed per day? I'm assuming it'd be a little less, and every flock is different - but is there a rule of thumb I can use as a starting point?
    Also, for those of you that exclusively feed fermented grains, do you feed it all at once? Twice per day? Some other schedule?
    THANKS!!
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    I've been feeding FF for years now. My flock very consistently consumes around a half a cup of fermented feed per day, maybe slightly more.

    I have 23 chickens, and I scoop up six cups of FF in the morning first thing to feed them, and six more cups in the afternoon. By roosting time, there is maybe a quarter cup left in the dishes, and I scrape it together, and a few of the chickens adore eating it off the spoon. No waste!
     
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  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Simply ferment as much feed as you have been giving them per day. For 17 birds, I'd ferment in 2 buckets, each 5 gallons. That way you can rotate buckets. Feed them as much as they want to eat. Initially they will make little pigs out of themselves. After a few weeks, you'll find that they decrease their consumption and level out.
     
    Cyprus likes this.
  4. jamie551

    jamie551 In the Brooder

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    Thanks for the reply. I’ve been feeding free choice up to now, so I was a little unsure where to start. Thanks for the recommendations.
     
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Hi, welcome to BYC! :frow

    I did ferment for more than a year. But decided not to for a few reasons...

    1 is that although people like to talk about increases in certain nutrients... FACT is that chicken feed (not grains) is already formulated to meet the needs of chickens according to federal guidelines.

    2 is I simply don't believe you get something for nothing. So while certain nutrients may go up, other do go down. So that's like saying the guidelines the EXPERTS set are off or don't matter.

    3 actual saving is NO where near the 30% many claim and closer to 10% with the biggest savings coming from free ranging.

    That being said, when I did do FF.. I fed once in the morning enough to last free choice all day, anything left over got scraped back into the bucket to be fed out the next day. I was feeding 82 birds. So I fermented 50# bag of feed inside a 32 gallon PLASTIC trash can and fed out through the week.

    If the birds didn't have access to range I would consider sprouting or growing fodder to be as if not more beneficial to the chooks.

    I'm not here to debate FF at all. Just sharing my personal experience and take on it.

    I feel like I could get just as much bang for my buck by using acv in the water. So many feeds already have probiotics added to them, even if they don't spend $ advertising it on fancy bags. Reading ingredients can really clue a person in.

    Also note that chickens being creatures of habit may take a few days before they dig in a gobble it up... or not since all flock and individuals are different. But if they act like eww at first, then you may have to introduce it a couple of times. See, even though I don't tout FF anymore... I'm still willing to give out helpful information! :p
     
  6. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

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    I'll give you 2 practical options.

    As others said, ferment the same amount you would normally feed. Just do one batch, see how it goes. See how much is leftover. Feed them the leftover on the very next day (it shouldn't be bad yet). This will keep you from fermenting waaaay too much to start and potentially wasting feed.

    Two. You could ferment 25%-30% less than what they would normally eat dray in day. Feed it in a morning feeding. If the bowl is totally empty in the afternoon you can throw them a scoop of dry feed and/or scratch and you will know that you haven't fermented enough and you should make a little more in your next batch, if there's still some in the bowl you know you can probably ferment a little less next time.

    Either way, you won't be wasting food. Good luck! Hope your girls like it.
     
  7. Morrigan

    Morrigan Free Ranging

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    I have 18 birds and I feed around 7 to 8 cups per day -- divided between morning and afternoon. I find they need a bit more in the winter, when yard forage is low. They also get a small tray of sprouted mixed grains each day (1 1/4 cup, pre-sprouted). The trays are cleaned up by the time they go to bed.

    Being the worry-wort that I am, I also keep a small amount of dry feed inside their coop, as insurance that no one is lacking. They vastly prefer the fermented feed, however. I put maybe 4 cups of dry per week in their insider feeder.

    I'm not sure about whether it increases the nutritional content, but I think the probiotics generated by fermenting aid in digestion. In the five years I've been raising chickens, I have 4 cases of impacted/sour crop. The first 2 were before I started fermenting. The other 2 both occurred this summer during a period of time where I had stopped fermenting because the 100 degree temperatures were making it more challenging. It could be just coincidence, but it is enough to keep me fermenting.
     
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    In 8 years of raising chickens, I have not YET had impacted or sour crop. Seems to me that would be more relevant to what else you were feeding than not doing FF. :confused:

    Birds use their gizzard to digest things. The FF is essentially predigesting it for them. There by possibly creating more absorption in the intestines? There comes a point at which a body has it's flora fully in tact and adding more is doing nothing. I think it helps most when 1 is under the weather (according to the director of nurning at a VA home). Again I state many feeds already have the probiotics added. ;)

    The main thing that did make me stick with fermenting as long as I did... was the drastic difference in poo smell :sick aside from the fact that all the savings claims gave me free ticket to some chicken math! :oops::p
     
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  9. Morrigan

    Morrigan Free Ranging

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    Wow, at 82 birds at at time for 8 years, that is truly impressive. :bowObviously you are doing something right. All I can do is relay my own experience. Stopping the FF, was followed by crop problems. Resuming the FF, the problems went away. Although part of me is curious, I'm not going to run that experiment again. Although my birds have access to a large yard, they are not truly free-range. Perhaps your flock is supplementing their diet in ways that mine cannot. Or perhaps mine are finding things in my yard to eat that are harder to digest. I'm in the sierra foothills and it is quite arid here except for the winter (well most winters at least), so it may well be that whatever weeds and plants grow in my yard tend to be tougher and stringier.

    In any event, I agree, it does decrease the poo smell (a real plus when it comes to the meat birds). That, and the fact the birds like it better are good enough for me!
     

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