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Mash vs pellets?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by 5acresandadream, Nov 16, 2016.

  1. 5acresandadream

    5acresandadream Out Of The Brooder

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    A feed store near me is selling layer mash for a great price! I've never used it, and I'm wondering if its just as good as pellet food? Both are 16%. But the mash at the feed mill is 6$ cheaper than what I'm buying now!
     
  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Read the tag. What ingredients they use and the nutrient analysis is the place to start.
    Mash and pellets is just the form the feed is in. Most small mills do not have the equipment to pellitize their feed so they sell it in the ground up mash form. Most adult chickens however are very wasteful when fed mash. If you ferment or wet the feed it will work better. Even placing a feed pan under the feeder will catch what they bill out and save $$.
     
  3. 5acresandadream

    5acresandadream Out Of The Brooder

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    I've heard of fermented feed but I've never really known much about it. It sounds like its worth a try
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’ll expand a bit on what Percheron said. When the big commercial operations make chicken feed they add all the various ingredients and grind it to a powder. This is called mash. To make pellets that take mash, wet it to make a paste, and extrude it through a dye. They flash dry it as it is extruded and break it off into short lengths. To make crumble they partially crush the pellets. The form of the feed has nothing to do with the nutrients in it. It just depends on what ingredients they start with for that specific feed.

    One of the major reasons they do this is that different automatic feed dispensers work best with different forms, mash, pellets, or crumbles. Waste is a consideration but so is moving it to the feeders and the types of feeders.

    Another consideration is that with mash the different components can separate out based on densities. The denser particles sink to the bottom so the chickens may not be getting as good of a balanced diet as you expect. If it is mixed up, then wet, then dried it stays mixed.

    A typical way to get around this is to mix the mash and wet it before you feed it. It keeps it mixed and it can cut down on waste with the right feeders. A potential problem with this is that if they don’t clean it up the wet mash can go sour or mold. Commercial operations get around this by only feeding what they can clean up in a short time, then waiting until they are hungry to feed them some more. They know exactly how much feed they want each chicken to eat. This timed feeding in portions keeps the food hogs from keeping the weaker chickens from eating their portion.

    I’ve never done fermented feed. There are probably a few tricks to that but it should work well with mash. If you use crumbles or pellets they will dissolve in the liquid too so they will also work as fermented feed.

    I also strongly suggest you look at the label. Chickens need a balanced diet, including certain amino acids usually added to feed. I don’t know what that mill is using in their feed. It’s quite possible the price is less because they don’t go through the full manufacturing process or are using local ingredients so transportation costs are less. That would be great. Or they may not be using all the ingredients they really need to. Not so great.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. 5acresandadream

    5acresandadream Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much for all that info! I will be checking the label for sure. I think I'm going to look into the fermentation methods and maybe start doing that
     
  6. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And they don't sponsor giveaways or have slick promotional ads that we as consumers foot the bill for.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016
  7. Leihamarie

    Leihamarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I ferment most of my mash and it works very well.

    This is one of my favorite article on fermenting chicken feed and gets into a lot of the science behind it: http://naturalchickenkeeping.blogspot.com/p/fermented-feed.html
     
  8. bullets

    bullets Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also ferment my feed. Look into the link @Leihamarie posted and decide do yourself. I really love what it's done for my chickens and the feed bill. They absorb more nutrients, it breaks down the nutrients to become more available for digestion, and eliminates a lot of waste as they can't scatter out the bits they don't want for the bits they do. Good luck!
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Adding to what Bullets said, an other advantage of FF: their poo is not as stinky. If I had that option, you can be sure that I'd be buying all of my feed from them in the form of mash, as long as the quality and nutrient ratios seem adequate. If it's a basic 16% feed, you could supplement with some animal protein, or other high protein source when you feel that the flock could use a bit of a boost. FF is super easy, and it really does cut the feed bill. I'm estimating by about 30%.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    I keep reading posts where people say chickens need a balanced diet. I totally agree with this, it's true with any living creature. But just what IS a balanced diet for a chicken? It's one thing to recommend reading the label, but the person needs to know what to look for if it's to do any good.[​IMG]
     

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