Fermented Chicken Feed Recipe

I’ll have to rewrite this later, as I copied and pasted from  this lovely site;

http://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/how-to-ferment-chicken-feed-bigger-eggs-healthier-chickens/

There is a common misconception you’re likely to run across if you research fermented chicken feed online. Many people use unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (U-ACV) as a fermentation “starter.” U-ACV does have a lot of health benefits for your flock when you put it in their drinking water but for fermented feed… not so much!

Why? In short, the enzymes in U-ACV are PREbiotics and not PRObiotics. They can actually prevent the growth of good probiotics when put into the wet feed. I’m not going into a huge amount of detail (because this post is already going to be way long, but if you’re interested in more information you can see

our ridiculously information-packed, long-winded article on the Natural Chicken Keeping blog). See ridiculously information-packed, long-winded article here.

Using vinegar to start the fermentation process can also start an alcohol fermentation. (Not the goal of today’s post.)

No – if you want to grow your own little army of immunity-boosting PRObiotics, you need to have lacto-fermentation. (Just take my word on it for now because we’re getting too sciency here!)

The good news is that lacto-fermentation will just happen if you just add water.

If you are the anxious type and really want to get the probiotics marching about the feed sooner, you can add a starter culture such as;
· 1+ Tbsp. juice from raw lacto-fermented pickles or sauerkraut
· 1+ Tbsp. cultured buttermilk (the cultured stuff will have nice shoes and an expensive haircut)
· Whey from cheese made with a mesophillic culture
· A mesophillic starter culture for cheese-making

But as I indicated before, lacto-fermentation will happen regardless of whether or not you use a starter.

And finally we’re at the point where we talk about actually MAKING fermented feed. I’ll keep it short and sweet (pffttt! Like I’m capable of THAT!)

Making fermented feed:

You need a non-metal container. Acids from fermentation can react with metal and leave bad things in your chickens’ dinner, so use plastic, glass or lead-free ceramic crocks. Be sure to get a BIGGER container than you think you will need.
2 Gallon Preserving Crock / 5 Gallon Preserving Crock of my dreams

Me? I use a super-stylish 5-gallon plastic bucket from my local home improvement store… because I’m sexy that way! (And because I have more than 60 chickens and ferment a LOT of feed…)

· Put 2-3 days worth of feed in your container of choice
· Cover the feed with water (you should have a few centimeters (at least an inch) of water above the level of the feed)
· If you want to use a starter, go ahead and toss it in there right away
· Expect the feed to expand (water retention will do that to the best of us… just ask my favorite jeans) so check the feed about an hour later and add more water if necessary
· That extra few inches of water above the level of the feed will prevent mold from growing on the feed and will allow the lacto-fermentation process to start… processing…
· Cover your container with a towel or a loosely-fitted cover to allow for the off-gassing that happens with the fermentation process. Don’t use a tightly-fitted cover unless you want to decorate a space with fermented feed. (Ask me how I know this.)
· Decorating with fermented feed will be covered in a different post. (No… not really.)

That’s it! You can start feeding the wet feed right away. Just add more water and dry feed each time you take some out and be sure to stir the mixture well each time. In about 3 days the feed will start to smell a bit tangy like sourdough, sauerkraut or pickles.

You can keep a batch of fermented feed going indefinitely… just keep adding water and feed and it will keep fermenting. If it starts to smell like yeast, mold or alcohol, toss it and start over.

 

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