Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Creating, Mixing & Fermenting whole grain chicken feed

So, I've heard about this thing called "fermented chicken mash" or other terms like it, and so I started googling, like always.  What I've found, is that essentially what's going on when you create a fermented mash, is allowing the grains you're feeding your chickens to go through a probiotic fermentation to create a lacto-fermentation within the feed.  It increases the health benefits, and ability for the chickens to eat & digest the grains you're giving them. 

I'm going to formulate my own version of "whole grain homemade chicken feed", because some of the recipes I'm finding contain grains that are not easily found for me in this area, or cost too much money. 

Supposedly, the chickens love fermented feed, and will eat less for having it in their diet.  Now considering that I plan to allow all of my chickens, except possibly the roo, to free-range, I know my hens won't be going hungry anyway, but it may not hurt anything to consider mixing up some homemade whole grains for them, just because it will improve the quality of their eggs, as well as their overall health.  I find this interesting, and am considering it because I mean, why not?  If it saves me money... I'm game. :-)

So what I'm thinking, is something like this:

Garden Betty’s Homemade Whole Grain Chicken Feed
Makes 8 1/2 pounds (fills 10-pound feeder)

4 cups oat groats
4 cups black oil sunflower seeds
4 cups hard red wheat berries
2 cups soft white wheat berries
2 cups kamut
2 cups millet
2 cups whole corn
1 cup lentils
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup brewer’s yeast
1/4 cup kelp granules
Free-choice oyster shells
Free-choice grit

This was originally taken from Garden Betty but I'm not sure the measurements are what I'm looking for, as well as the grains themselves so I've deleted what I don't think I want... resulting in this:  

Oat groats
Black oil sunflower seed
Whole or cracked corn
Sesame seeds
Flax seeds
Free-choice oyster shells or dried & ground egg shells
Free-choice grit

I'm not sure how this will end up working as far as weight, and how large the quantity needs to be when mixing.  The original fills a 10lb feeder supposedly, but I'm thinking perhaps I will wait to give them this until after I've built my version of this PVC feeder.

pvc chicken feeders

I know what I want... I just am not exactly sure how I want to handle it.  I think if I'm going to feed fermented grains though, that they will need something large enough for me to pour into, and yet at the same time it could be nice to have the ability to pour large quantities of food into the upright pipe in the event of snow or something preventing us from getting down to their pen. 

I don't know, just throwing some thoughts out there.

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