How to go about fermenting starter crumbles?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SJchickens, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. SJchickens

    SJchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was just reading about the benefits of fermenting chicken feed. Our chicks are a couple weeks old now, and I thought it would be a healthy thing for them to be eating fermented feed once in a while instead of their regular starter crumbles. How do you go about fermenting their food, and how do you make sure it's safe for them to eat, and not spoiled?

    Thank you :).
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    There is a popular thread over on the Feeding and Watering Forum on fermenting feed. But it's easy to do. Just add dry crumbles to warm water, add a dash of ACV (apple cider vinegar) unfiltered and keep in a warm place for at least 36 hours. Check halfway to make sure it's a thick enough consistency and add more dry crumbles if it's too soupy. There have been stories of chicks drowning in FF that's too soupy. You want it thick as cooked oatmeal.

    It's best to create a special FF feeder with half inch hardware cloth fixed over the top so the chicks can't wade in it and end up an awful mess. I plan on using an ordinary ice cube tray as a feeder with a rectangle of HW cloth (why do they call this wire "cloth" anyway?) crimped over it, with all sharp edges turned under the lip of the tray. Since it's not very heavy, I plan on fixing or gluing it to a thick piece of wood, to raise it up out of the wood shavings and so the chicks won't overturn it.
     
  3. kjstanton

    kjstanton Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read a tablespoon on vinegar per cup of food. But, since this was for chickens and not chicks, I ended up doing 1/2 tbsp of vinegar per cup of starter. What did you use?
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Some people don't even bother with the ACV. It's not necessary to ferment feed. The fermentation is caused by yeasts, present in the air at all times, colonizing the wet grains. Warm temperatures assist in the process, and it benefits the mixture to stir once or twice a day.

    You can begin feeding at the end of 24 hours, but it's better after 48.

    FF doesn't go bad, but sometimes molds will also colonize the mixture. You want to scrape down the sides well after stirring.
     
  5. kjstanton

    kjstanton Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What about just adding probiotics? I was thinking about this. My chicks wouldn't eat the fermented feed I made...
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    How long did you give them to adjust? It may take several days. It's a texture thing. If they're used to dry, they take a while to get the hang of wet. With babies, I'd never make the feed more than 1/2" thick, and then, keep it in a smallish container. Like all babies, they will play with their food. Then, they'll groom it off each other.
     

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