Maybe you all have already talked about this and I've just missed it, but I'm trying my hand at feeding my chickens fermented feed, starting this weekend. Our daughter feeds her flock with fermented feed. Her chickens love it, and it has cut her feed bill by 3/4!
Is anyone else on here using fermented feed? If so, how's it working out for you?
What an interesting article, Glenda! How much trouble is it, and where can you keep the chicken feed so it doesn't go bad or take up too much room in your house? The pellets we give them can be stored outside, summer and winter, but it doesn't sounds as though this could be.
I don't think it's any trouble at all. Once I made the first batch, it took 3 days to ferment and start bubbling, I just keep adding fresh feed to it after I feed my chickens each day. I know about how much they'll eat, and I keep enough left in my pail to ferment the next day's batch.
My chickens go CRAZY over it! You'd think they never get fed to watch them, but they just love it! The feed can be as liquidy (a word I just made up) or as pasty as you want it to be. I use dog dishes that can't be flipped over to feed my chickens their fermented feed. I fill up 3 different dishes and place them at 3 different spots in my coop so that everyone can get around a dish.
I like how they don't/can't waste my feed this way. They don't fling it with their beaks like they do dry feed. They waste so much dry feed, so between fermented feed going further than dry - and them not wasting it - I figure it's a win/win for me and them. All I know is my feed bill is a lot lower than it was. Now, fermented feed does mean that I have to feed them twice a day, but if I need to go away for the weekend, or I know I'll be gone all day, I can always give them dry feed in a traditional feed dispenser.
LFJ, all you do is fill a pail with a lid, almost half way with feed and then add water and stir until it is a watery thickness. Keep in mind that your feed will swell in size. Put the lid on the pail and stir once or twice a day. By day 3 or 4, depending on how warm your house is, you should start seeing bubbles appear and smell a "earthy" smell from the feed. From then on, feed your chickens from the pail and leave enough in it to ferment the feed and water you add to it each day.
Here's another article about how to make fermented feed. I only use one pail...with NO holes... and I don't add other ingredients...just chicken feed, but you can make yours however you like. All ways of making it provide wonderful pro-biotics for our chickens...and they LOVE IT! :)
PS: LFJ, as your first batch swells, you'll need to keep adding water to it until it gets to, and stays, a watery/soupy consistency. It should be covered with an inch of water, stirred twice a day, and keep a lid on your bucket until it ferments and you see bubbles. ...I hope that makes sense.
PPSS: Here is another article, and this man rotates 3 buckets, giving each bucket 3 days before using the feed in it. ...I keep my feed bucket in my kitchen where it's handy to stir. With the lid on it, I can't smell anything while the lid is on the bucket. :)
Sounds kind of like sourdough bread starter. I knew this older woman that made wonderful sourdough bread. She started her starter with potato peelings. She told me how to do it, but I never tried it. I should have, but I didn't. She'd leave a little bit of the starter in the refrigerator for her next batch. Sometimes her starter would get too old and then she'd make more with potato peelings again.
It was one of the best breads I've ever eaten. Maybe that is why the chickens love it.