Soaking feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Molnut, Mar 31, 2018.

  1. Molnut

    Molnut Chirping

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    Are any of you soaking, fermenting or sprouting feed?
    If yes, what kind?
    I'm trying with Scratch and Peck, a balanced, bagged, feed and having problems with the fines making a gooey mess.
    Thanks
     
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  2. Farmer Connie

    Farmer Connie All My Friends Have Hoofs

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    Some of the conventional grain feeds will change chemical properties when allowed to ferment.
     
  3. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    I ferment Scratch & Peck, what issues are you having with it? The fines usually rise to the top of the bucket/jar and you can just stir them back into the grains on the bottom. They'll stick to the grains as you serve it so that's how you can make sure your flock is eating them.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Can you cite the source of your information please? Providing a link would be helpful.

    @Molnut , I have been fermenting for 4 years. The feed I use is usually a pellet or a crumble. I find that the heavier fines settle to the bottom (the mineral content) while the fine light wt. stuff rises to the top.

    If you are fermenting a cracked or whole grain product, the fines will separate out. What I suggest that you do is ferment in "batches". I feed out a bucket full of FF per day, and in some cases, a bucket will last 2 days. So, any fines that have settled out to the bottom will be fed out every day. Depending on flock size and temperature, I may be rotating 2 or 3 buckets. Usually, a bucket is ready to feed 12 - 24 hours after mixing it up.
     
  5. X_and_Z

    X_and_Z Chirping

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    I also feed Scratch and Peck fermented (as well as dry - they have both options).

    Can you elaborate on what you mean by gooey mess? Fermented feed in general is a bit of a gooey mess. Fermented feed can be fed at a number of consistencies, from peanut butter/cookie dough through loose pancake batter. Although I agree with RosemaryThyme that the fines usually rise to the top and need to be stirred into the rest of the grains.

    Are you trying to sprout the feed? The grains are mostly cracked so that probably won't be that effective.
     
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  6. Molnut

    Molnut Chirping

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    Thank you for all the responses. The gooey mess is the fines. My feed is more like pancake batter. I use feed pans and the grey "gooey mess" rises up shortly after I have poured it into the pan. The hens seem to loose interest then too unless I stir the mix again. I have 18 pans, that could be a full time job !
    They do eat most of it though. Later in the day, the rest turns into brick laying material. So there I go, stiring and adding water again.
    All that to say, I like the concept of wet feed. It just seems to add a lot of labor time when you have a sizeable flock.
    I wanted to check with the community how you dealt with this issue.
    I thought that maybe going grains only might be easier as my girls are on pasture, but I am not confident enough yet to get the mix right. So I'm sticking to formulated feed, with a twist (soaking).
    Now a few more questions, please:
    - can you really ferment Scratch & Peck? If so, how many days?
    - what seems to be the preferred consistency with your chickens?
    - if so, how do you deal with the constant stiring?
    I also sprout wheat, lentils and oats depending on availability
    Full grains work great and are used as treat
     
  7. X_and_Z

    X_and_Z Chirping

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    You might want to try for a thicker consistency - more like cookie dough. While the fines float to the top with the initial addition of water, once stirred the thicker consistency is less likely to stratify again.

    The reason that S&P suggests fermenting their feed is twofold. Fermenting has its own benefits and the fines provide a large part of the vitamins and protein in their feeds. Since the fines can be difficult for the chickens to eat dry, fermenting/wetting the feed is their solution.

    As to your questions:
    • I do ferment S&P - I usually make enough for 3-4 days and start feeding after ~24 hours of soaking in filtered water. By the 4th day the smell is quite sour (but not unpleasant).
    • Mine like a thicker consistency but will eat a thinner one - I feed what they can eat in 2-3 hours at most. They also have free choice dry feed available.
    • No constant stirring needed.
     
  8. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    I also go with a thicker consistency, thick as possible. I make up to 5 days worth at a time in a half gallon jar (so the earlier servings are more wet feed than fermented) and then use any remaining feed to kickstart the next batch.

    A huge difference in our situations is that I'm making much smaller batches because I have a tiny flock, so there is no re-stirring once I put it out for the birds. They eat all of it within the first hour or so in the morning, so there's no issue with the mixture hardening later in the day. I feed free choice pellets during the rest of the day so in my case fermented feed only makes up half the diet. I think if I were to feed it full time I would just have to put out a second round of feed later in the day, but that doesn't sound practical for your flock.
     
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  9. Molnut

    Molnut Chirping

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    Thanks X and Z. I'll try a thicker consistency. I can use 2 buckets/day and do morning and afternoon feedings. I just need to get more buckets to truly ferment the food. Question: Once your first serving is finished, do you do another round or are they done for the day and forage after that? I'm feeding them about 0.25lb/bird, but I think I might be overfeeding them when I add the scratch in the morning and veggies/fruits in the afternoon.

    Rosemarythyme (is that from the British detective show? I truly enjoy it myself). I do two grains feedings a day, plus one of veggies/fruits. Call me crazy! I'm just a "slave to the beaks"
     
  10. X_and_Z

    X_and_Z Chirping

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    Mine have free choice dry S&P (plus an organic crumble which is the last choice by my girls) so I only feed fermented 1x per day. I know there are other fermented feed feeders here that feed 100% fermented who would be better to answer questions about feed schedule.
     

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