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Moldy feed, can it be made safe by long exposure to the sun?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Debbienmousey, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. Debbienmousey

    Debbienmousey Songster

    My brothers were emptying two bags of feed (one laying pellet, one scratch) into our chicken feed bin, which we keep in the coop. After they had emptied them, they came inside and told me that there was a "little" mold on the outside of the feed bags. We keep all our chicken feed in our basement, and the spot where the feed stays is kept dry. The feed store is quite awhile away so whenever we go we try to buy as much as we'll need for the whole month. Anyway, about half a week before the adult feed was put in, I was getting some chick feed and noticed that the very bottom of the bag had a lot of blueish-green mold on it. Normally I take the chick feed out of the bags right away and store it in airtight containers, but I hadn't gotten around to storing this bag fully. I had read that mold can kill chickens, so no way was I going to give that moldy feed to my little chicks. Plus, this was only the very bottom of the bag, so there wasn't much moldy feed wasted anyway.

    The chick feed is normally kept inside the house, because I often have chicks inside, but this bag was put downstairs in the basement instead. Never has our chick feed molded before, so I thought possibly it was from the store since it was a fairly recent purchase. Well, that was until these other two bags of chicken feed molded (The ones I mentioned above). I went out to the coop to check the feed, scooped up a handful and took it outside so I could look at it in the sunlight. It was pretty moldy. Blueish-green, and it looked like there was some on the scratch too. I guess the air in the basement must have been too damp? Because the feed has never molded before.

    I asked my parents what we should do and my mom said that we could probably kill the mold by laying the feed out in the sun. I know the best thing to do is throw the feed away, and get more, but money is tight and we don't really want to throw out two whole bags of feed if we can help it. So we layed the feed out on metal sheets in the sun, for about eight hours.(This was continual sun, no shade at all) Most of the mold was gone when we put it away, but I didn't want to take a chance so I decided to lay it out again for another day. This time there was absolutely no blueish-green mold, but I still worry if it's not safe for them. We've been feeding them some of it for the past couple days, and nobody seems to be acting any different. I tried reading all I could find yesterday about moldy feed on here, and everyone just said to throw it out. Do you think that by putting the feed out in the sun it is killing the mold and making the feed safe for my birds? Oh, I forgot to mention, we also free range most of our birds, and temp's have been in the 90s I think.

    We will definitely be checking ALL our bags of feed before putting them into any bins in the future, and possibly buying less at one time. Thanks tons for your help guys [​IMG]. I really love reading and learning about everything that you guys post.

  2. perolane

    perolane Songster

    Jun 20, 2010
    Mold grows in dampness. By exposing the feed to the sun, you only dried the feed...the mold spores are still present & NOT safe to feed.
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Quote:Agree. Feed is much cheaper than the cost of having to replace your flock. Toss the feed into the compost and get some more.
  4. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
  5. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
    Compost it. [​IMG]
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Toss it because it is dangerous. Don't even feed the wild birds with it- it is harmful to them too.

    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
  7. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    x 3 Throw it away.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010

  8. geebs

    geebs Lovin' the Lowriders!

    Sep 28, 2008
    It will kill em dead.. throw it out!!!! One bite and you have wasted your investment in the birds...
  9. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    No. Drying it in the sun may make it look less moldy, but the mold spores are still present and still dangerous to your birds. Even if drying the feed in the sun could kill all of the mold and spores, the feed would still be contaminated by toxins from the mold and would be unsafe. You really do need to throw it out and call it a loss, no matter how tight money is or how much of a waste it seems. Check your basement and see if there's anything you can do to fix the dampness. If you're storing the feed on the floor of your basement, invest in some pallets to get the feed up off the floor and allow air flow underneath it and make sure that the bags are not touching the walls. Buying less feed at a time might help, but honestly a month's worth at a time shouldn't be a ridiculous amount (I get a month's worth of dog food at a time and usually two months worth of cat food and we've never had any issues with it going stale or moldy...then again we store it in the house in containers). If you have the space, you might also want to consider getting enough bins/airtight containers to transfer the feed out of the bags and into different containers for storage.
  10. goldeneggtees

    goldeneggtees Fluffy Butt Nut

    Mar 11, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    We have the same problem. I just threw out a bag of scratch due to mold from our basement. Our bags were against the wall and that's how the moisture got in. We don't run a dehumidifier in the basement but I'm sure that would help. Also, getting it off the floor and away from the walls. I didn't even want to throw it into the compost as my hens sometimes get in there as do other animals - chipmunks, rabbits and yes even rats. Don't mind the rats being poisoned by mold but wouldn't want to hurt anything else.

    Good luck with your problem, I feel your pain of wasting money and good feed, it stinks!

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