One practice that has gained popularity in recent years is fermenting chicken feed. Fermented feed is believed to offer several benefits, such as improved digestion, stronger immune systems, and increased egg production.
However, if you’re new to fermenting feed, you might be wondering if the consistency of your starter/broiler crumble is normal. On day three of fermentation, it can look like complete mush, resembling cooked oatmeal. While it might seem messy, rest assured that this is a normal part of the fermentation process.
In this article, I’ll share my experience with fermenting starter/broiler crumble and how I manage the mess. I’ll also offer tips on optimizing the health benefits of fermented feed.
Why Ferment Chicken Feed?
Before we dive into the details of fermentation, let’s first discuss why it’s beneficial for your chickens. Fermenting feed breaks down the carbohydrates and proteins, making them easier for chickens to digest. The fermentation process also produces lactic acid, which creates a more acidic environment in the gut. This acidity helps to control harmful bacteria, promote healthy gut flora, and boost immunity. Additionally, fermenting feed has been shown to increase egg production and improve the quality of eggshells.
What to Expect When Fermenting Starter/Broiler Crumble
When fermenting starter/broiler crumble, you can expect the mixture to have a thick, oatmeal-like consistency. This texture is a result of the fermentation process, which breaks down the starches in the feed. While it might look messy, this consistency is normal and actually beneficial for your chickens.
To manage the mess, you’ll need a trough-style feeder or a pan with high sides to contain the feed. While there might still be some spillage, using a feeder with high sides will minimize waste and prevent other animals from getting into the feed.
Another tip for managing the mess is to use a paint strainer for a 5-gallon bucket. This will allow you to strain the fermented feed quickly and efficiently. You can also mix in some seed mix to make the straining process even faster. BOSS, whole oats, corn, wheat, and other grains are great options to mix in.
Tips for Optimizing the Health Benefits of Fermented Feed
While fermenting feed can offer several benefits, it’s important to note that not all feeds are suitable for fermentation. Starter/broiler crumble is a great option because it’s high in protein and easily digestible. However, layer feed or medicated feed might not be suitable for fermentation.
It’s also important to monitor the fermentation process and ensure that the feed doesn’t spoil. If the mixture develops a foul smell or mold, it’s best to discard it and start over.
Finally, it’s recommended to start with small batches of fermented feed and gradually introduce it to your chickens. This will allow them to adjust to the new texture and acidity of the feed.
Fermenting starter/broiler crumble can be a great way to improve your flock’s health and nutrition. While the consistency might look messy, it’s a normal part of the fermentation process. By using a trough-style feeder, a paint strainer, and monitoring the fermentation process, you can manage the mess and optimize the health benefits of fermented feed. Remember to start with small batches and gradually