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"Recipe" for plain, unsweetened yogurt.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by LTygress, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

    Sep 12, 2012
    Yogurt is extremely beneficial to many creatures. It contains the "good" bacteria that aid in digestion, as well as protein and calcium. But the bacteria often die off in large numbers during times of trauma, or when taking antibiotics. Even if there is no trauma, it doesn't hurt to consume a few more now and then. And that also applies to your chickens, but I know many of you already "treat" your chickens to it now and then. It's also very good for baby chicks, who are still developing the bacteria culture in their own guts, and could use the extra protein and calcium to grow!

    As with most treats though, you want to avoid excess sugar. Most commercial yogurt has lots of sugar. Finding it in plain unsweetened form is rare, and buying it in large quantities for a flock of chickens is even harder. So make your own! It's cheaper, too!

    All you need is milk (however much you want) and one tablespoon of existing yogurt with live, active cultures.

    Heat the milk to 180° Fahrenheit (about 82° Celsius). This is where it will froth up, so it's best to use a thermometer to catch it before it froths up and out of the saucepan! Doing this kills off ALL bacteria, so any possible BAD bacteria is eliminated.

    Next, cool it back down to 120° F (48° C). It can go a little further down, or be slightly higher (no more than 125°F/51°C). After cooling, you can put it in a new container, or keep it in the pot. But you will need a lid, or plastic wrap for the top.

    Add the tablespoon of existing yogurt, and stir well. Cover and wrap it in a blanket or comforter to keep it warm, and set it aside for at least four or five hours. I tend to leave mine overnight, but it's up to you.

    After at least four or five hours, it should have congealed and may have started to separate the whey. Congratulations, you've made yogurt! You can safely store this batch in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

    At this point you can either drain the whey to make the yogurt thicker, or stir it back in. "Greek yogurt" is simply yogurt drained through a few layers of cheesecloth to get rid of some of the whey. This makes it thicker, but commercial varieties still have sweeteners added, along with other ingredients you might not want. But the whey itself contains protein, so I would personally leave it in there - for both yourself and your chickens.

    If you're going to eat some of it yourself, you are welcome to add some sugar, fresh fruit, maple syrup, cinnamon, or whatever else you think might taste good with it!

    If it's all for the chickens, then feel free to go crazy and add some bugs like mealworms or crickets, or stir it into their normal feed.

    PLEASE NOTE: The next time you make yogurt this way, you can use a scoop from your previous batch as the "tablespoon of existing yogurt with live, active cultures." So if you want to do it on a regular basis, just make sure you set aside a tablespoon of each batch of completed yogurt for the next batch!
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2013

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