Specific questions Re: fermented feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by FlyWheel, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps

    OK, I know there are a lot of threads already on this subject, but I'm too lazy to go wading through the entire brew for the answers to each and every one. So if anyone here can give answers or at least links to the parts of which threads which answer them I would appreciate it.

    1. Is there a special feed that I should be using for fermenting? Currently I have an almost full bag of Flock Raiser, which has a protein content of 20%. Since fermentation is supposed to raise the protein content even further, is this too 'rich' a feed to start with?
    2. What is a good temperature for fermentation? Ideally I would like to keep the bucket in their coop along with the rest of their stuff, but with winter upon us the temps are getting down to near freezing at night.
    3. How long will fermented feed stay 'fresh', meaning good to use? Obviously cooking it to stop the process would defeat the purpose as it would kill off all the pro-biotics. Can it be refrigerated without harming it's benefits?
    4. Can an already fermented product be used to start the process, like live-culture yogurt, which I believe uses a lactobacillus as it's fermenting agent? Obviously once I have some feed fermented I can use that as starter for successive batches.

    Thanks in advance [​IMG]

    P.S. If it matters I raise my chickens for eggs, not meat.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
  2. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Flock Raiser is a great formula to use for fermenting. Room temp is best for fermenting.

    FF reaches its peak in three days after it begins to ferment, then it will lose nutrients. Refrigerating it will slow down this process and won't hurt it, but I would still try to use it up within a few days and keep it stirred. Try using a container no larger than what you will use in three or four days, and adjust the amounts accordingly.

    I use two buckets, and start the new one as I get down to one days feed-out left in the first. Use some of that as a "starter" and you can expect a quicker ferment with the second bucket.

    I also rinse my empty bucket but retain the rinse water. I add to this rinse water as I return with the bowl I took out to feed the flock. By the time you are ready to start the second bucket, this rinse water has begun multiplying yeasts and when you add dry feed and water, mix, you will have a ready-to-feed ferment in 24 to 30 hours.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    1. Use what ever feed you have on hand. Fermenting makes the protein in the feed more bioavailable. I would argue that it does not actually increase the protein content of the feed. I'd love to see some official documentation of that fact. (I may be wrong here, and it may actually increase the protein, but for now, while I'm a huge fan of FF, I'll argue that fact!)

    2. Room temp is good. However, I use warm water when I mix a new batch, and that extra heat helps the ferment to get going. I keep it in my laundry room during the winter (that room is in unheated basement), in the garage during the spring,summer, and fall. You might want to get a good ferment going, then try it in your coop, and see how it does. Some people ferment in an insulated cooler. I have a feeling you will find your coop to be too cold.

    3. You'll hear a lot of variation on this. A lot depends on the temperature, how active your culture is, and how often you refresh it. You can refrigerate it to slow the process. When I first started, and was fermenting a qt. at a time for a few chicks, I often stuck it in the fridge if it got "ahead" of me. I like to feed out a batch within 3 days, then start a new batch. When I'm running a larger summer flock, I like to rotate 2 buckets. An active ferment can be started with a cup of ferment culture, and be happily bubbling away 12 hours later. So, you could feed out your bucket, renew it, and have a full bucket ready to feed the next morning.

    4. I often add whey from my yogurt into my ferment bucket. In the earlier days when the process of fermented feed was in it's infancy, it was common to use raw apple cider vinegar (with the mother) to start a culture. Now, most recommendation is to simply start your culture with water and feed. It gets going better if you can start it in a room temp area. Plenty organisms floating in the average home to get a good healthy culture going.

    P.S. FF is great for both layers and meat birds. You will be very pleased with the results you see in your flock. My dog absolutely LOVES FF.
  4. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps

    OK, I got a container (2lb. plastic coffee 'can') filled it a little less than halfway with feed (flock-raiser crumbles) added warm water at the recommended 1/1 ratio and stirred it all up. I didn't have any yogurt for a starter so I'm going to take y'alls word that I don't need it. I left the container in the utility room where all the scraps-for-the-pets go. I'm going to leave the container uncovered for a few hours so the local 'bugs' can get in and start to work. If it does successfuly ferment I will transfer it to the coop where the colder air will slow any further fermentation..

    More questions:
    1. The house is kept at 70-73 degrees, is this warm enough?
    2. the 1/1 mix seems rather watery, does it thicken? I've read it should have a consistency similar to pancake batter.
    3. Will it give off any offensive odors? I don't live alone.
    4. The amount of feed I used for the ferment is about equal to the amount I normally give them per day. Do I give them twice that amount of fermented feed? Or keep to the same amount letting the additional benefits of fermentation take up the slack?

    Thanks again for y'alls help. This is a great group; I've learned more about raising chickens in the few months I been here than in the last few years of stumbling along on my own! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Just go with that for now, let it ferment, and as you go along, you may decide you need a bigger container.
  6. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    Quote: 1. Should be fine.
    2. It'll thicken, results probably vary depending on different feeds. You may need to add more water as you go, or conversely, more feed. The end thickness is really up to you and your birds. I made it as thick as possible, like clumpy oatmeal, my girls didn't like any it thinner.
    3. Well... depends on how sensitive you are? Some people describe it as sourdough, others don't really notice, others find it sour smelling in general. I have a good sense of smell so I kept mine covered.
    4. You'll have to experiment on amount. You can start with approximately the same amount that you're already feeding but you'll probably need to make adjustments as you go.
  7. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps

    It is somewhat thicker, If it doesn't get thick enough then I'll mix it with some raw feed when I give it to them. Then again in their case a little watery is probably a good thing considering the way they wolf down their food, gagging and coughing the whole time. I'd rather they try and swallow something that is going to slide down their throats easier anyway. I haven't noticed any real bubbling yet, a couple little ones, but then it's only been 6 hours. Nature will take it's course, right?

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