Suddenly refusing fermented food

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ChickenHawk12, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. ChickenHawk12

    ChickenHawk12 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2015
    I feed S&P milled food, and I started fermenting some about a month or two ago. They don't ever eat the powdered fines, oyster shell, or some other crumbly thing in there (I think maybe camelina meal?), so what I have been doing is this:

    Whatever powder is left in the dry feeder at the end of the day, I put into a quart yogurt container with a scoop of the grains (I found the powder alone doesn't ferment) and add water. I keep 3 containers in rotation, so that each day I feed them the feed I started fermenting 3 days ago.

    My procedure is that every morning, I pour off the water on top of the fermented feed and put it in the run in an open feeder I have for them and take out the dry feeder. Once it's gone, or in the late afternoon, I put the refilled dry feeder back in the run. Up until a day or two ago, they would eat all the fermented feed within 30-60 minutes. The past few days, it has been sitting there barely touched all day. When I finally put the dry food back in, they attack it and each everything but the powder, of course.

    What has gone wrong? I liked that the fermented food was getting them to each all the stuff in the powder that I know their bodies need, and also it was making the expensive feed last much longer. I thought if I left it out there with no other food, they would eventually get hungry enough and eat it, but how long do I let them go? Could something have gone awry with the food?
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Fermented feed is tricky. I have only heard of it (been around chickens for my entire life, had my own for over 10 years), will never give it to mine. For a year, I had no idea what anyone was talking about, didn't make much sense to me but after research, still doesn't. I know of someone whose flocks began dying from crop issues from fermented feed and she had to scramble to save quite a number of them. There is always a fad that comes along and IMHO, this is one of them that can go terribly wrong. If they're refusing it, stop feeding it. They probably know it's not right.

    ETA: No, do not lecture me, you FF advocates. It makes no sense and it can go horribly wrong. It's simply not needed and not worth the risk, IMO>. The crop balance is a very delicate thing, can tank with soured and/or moldy feed, which to me is what you're risking.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  3. Chicken girl 15

    Chicken girl 15 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2015
    harpursville ny
    @speckledhen I am not a FF advocate so don't snap at me please. I have recently started FF daily, however I only process mine 24 hours. I also never leave it out more than an hour or so. Most days they eat it , However some days they won't touch it. Much as stated before , they know what's bad for them. Maybe you are fermenting too long, maybe something in the powder in the mix just isn't apealing to them. Try only fermenting 24 hours, or just using the solids. Try one then the other though not both. Don't change it all at once so you can find the answer.
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I did not mean to sound as if I was snapping, so sorry if it came off that way. I just know that if chickens are refusing to eat the food, it's best to follow their lead and stop trying to get them to eat it, especially something of this nature that isn't really the norm. I have never commented on fermented feed so I rather expected to be jumped on so I probably came off as defensive. I am pretty much against it from the problems I've seen with it. Crop issues are what I see happen all the time. Soured or moldy feed will kill a chicken and fermented feed gone wrong has killed quite a few.
  5. Chicken girl 15

    Chicken girl 15 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2015
    harpursville ny
    You have very valid points. The most important being following the chickens lead. Perfect example, mine absolutely will not eat iceberg lettuce, romaine or darker green they demolished though. So if nature sees a problem with something we should as well. We live off propoganda, they live off instinct.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Leigti

    Leigti Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 22, 2015
    Walla Walla WA
    I also use scratch and peck brand food. I have tried a couple times to just soak a little bit of it overnight but my chickens will not eat it. Is it just because they've never had wet food before? Do you think the wet food would cause the problems that the fermented food does? Is it the wetness that's the problem or the fermentation? Of course, my birds also do not like the black sunflower seeds either.
    They do free roam around the yard so maybe they're just finding better things out there, but they have had no problem eating the food dry.
  7. Chicken girl 15

    Chicken girl 15 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2015
    harpursville ny
    Could be the S&P brand they don't like wet or could just be your flock.
  8. Sutremaine

    Sutremaine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2014
    When you say 'I pour off the water on top of the fermented feed and put it in the run', does "it" refer to the water (which is the subject of the sentence) or the fermented feed?

    If you're fermenting, ferment the whole mixture as it comes out of the bag. The powdery leftovers don't ferment, so why keep them submerged?

    What happens to the feed if you wet it slightly just before serving? Hopefully, its makeup is such that the powder sticks to the larger pieces without turning the whole bowl into a brick.
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    So, you're ok to tell folks why they shouldn't ferment, yet... you've not even used FF? 3rd hand story regarding birds dying from FF?

    If you've not used it, how have you seen problems with it? How have you seen crop issues? Yes, sour or moldy will kill. But... I don't see how you can tell from your computer what issues have been killing other folks flocks. I will tell you that my flock is on fermented feed. I've been using it for 3 years. My birds grow faster. They start laying sooner than the birds of my friends who have gotten their birds from the same source. (In 3 instances, they've gotten hatchlings from me!) Same birds, same ages, same feed supplier since we all live in a tiny rural area supplied by only 2 feed stores. My birds consistently grow faster and start laying sooner than those on dry feed. I do agree with original poster that ther may be a problem with the feed. But don't immediately blame it on the fermentation process. People have been using fermentation for years, and I think if you do an honest search, you'll find plenty of evidence that fermentation supports health rather than doing the opposite. Sorry if it seems that I've jumped on you, but IMO, you jumped first.
    1 person likes this.
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    @lazy gardener I did not jump anyone, I said listen to the birds who refused food they'd been eating previously; and second, that FF was, IMO (in MY opinion, take it or leave it, no one forced you to talk to me or take any advice from me), a current fad. And for your information, what I know is NOT "third hand". I was part of an emergency conference call late one night with someone I know personally whose entire flock had sour crop and some were dying from it. The common denominator was fermented feed. She did lose a couple, too late to save them. Note that I said you had to be careful. If you do it wrong, you get moldy feed. It's counterintuitive to wet feed and leave it to "perc". Wet feed will mold, simple fact, and mold kills. So, back off and stop assuming you know where I got my information.

    Thank you for understanding my point. And I completely agree with your last sentence.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by