Friday, March 7, 2014

Fermented Chicken Feed: Less waste, More fun.

Chickens munching on their fermented feed.  They didn't waste a morsel.
The hens of Garden Dreams have wasted a lot of feed until now.  We have a galvanized hanging feeder which cuts down on waste but they are still able to get their beaks in and bill out feed bits left and right, spraying them around the coop, until they get to the morsel they want.   So, I went on a search for ways to cut down on feed waste.  I happened upon this blog post  from Natural Chicken Keeping.  Fermented feed, huh?  Great for little chicken insides with lots of friendly bacteria and so delicious they don't waste it?  Sounds great.  So, I tried it.  And so far, I like it.  The method I have used so far, following advice from the blog post above....

1) Get a food grade 5 gallon bucket.
2) Throw in some feed.
3) Cover with water, and then add some more water for good measure.
4) Cover with a lid for lactic fermentation.
5) Let it alone for a few days at room temperature or a bit warmer.
6) I started feeding it the day after I started the soaking.  It was already a little bubbly and bread-y smelling, but it takes a few days of soaking to really get going.  I just scooped some out, let most of the water drain into the bucket and fed in a few heavy bowls.  They went nuts and cleaned up every bit.
7) Figure out a feeding schedule...this is the part to work on now.  Up until now they have had free choice feed.  I know about how much they eat daily, so I'll just start feeding them this amount of fermented feed (x 2 to account for all the water soaked up) in the mornings and see how it goes.

So far, I am liking this idea.

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