Fermenting feed

HornyToadAcres

Power Conserver
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Messages
47
Reaction score
53
Points
45
Location
west Texas
I'm sure y'all have talked this to death already somewhere but i just wanted to say WOO HOO for fermenting chicken feed!

I just started doing it a month ago and my feed use has been cut by 75%.

Not just from fermenting the feed but because I don't have every bird from 5 miles around eating my chicken feed now.

Currently have just a very small flock so I am fermenting in mason jars in my kitchen. I will move to the bucket
when I get my new chicks in March,

If you have chickens and haven't tried fermenting their feed, I'd encourage you to give it a go.

I've also started sprouting my BOSS instead of just flinging them hither and yon for everyone.
I give a few of those to my bunnies as well. 148235865_1162361327554778_5303949311302357177_n.jpg145931257_122709443074146_8482363499347582020_n.jpg
 

Lazy Gardener

Super Self-Sufficient
Joined
May 14, 2017
Messages
3,785
Reaction score
4,133
Points
262
Location
Central Maine, Zone 4B
I've been fermenting feed for about 10 years. It makes a huge difference in feed conversion rate. Also, as you mention, it cuts down on pilfering by wild critters. My rate is .19#/bird/day with FF, compared to .25#/bird/day when feeding dry. This is w/o free range opportunities. I'm also a firm believer that deep composting litter improves feed conversion rate, as well as viability.
 

HornyToadAcres

Power Conserver
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Messages
47
Reaction score
53
Points
45
Location
west Texas
I've been fermenting feed for about 10 years. It makes a huge difference in feed conversion rate. Also, as you mention, it cuts down on pilfering by wild critters. My rate is .19#/bird/day with FF, compared to .25#/bird/day when feeding dry. This is w/o free range opportunities. I'm also a firm believer that deep composting litter improves feed conversion rate, as well as viability.

Thank you for the extra encouragement. I have been "playing" at chickens until now. I don't currently have the kind of records it would take to know the rate but I am setting up better records and getting more serious about each homesteading activity.

So I am currently putting the used "bunny hay" which includes pellets into the chicken pen whenever I don't needs it for plants. I am just starting with the rabbits so this procedure is in its infancy. Is that the type of thing you mean by deep composting? I have seen articles about chickens and composting and I do put a lot of scraps in there but because of where we live/our situation, there hasn't been anything that would create anything approaching a deep layer of compost until now.
 

Lazy Gardener

Super Self-Sufficient
Joined
May 14, 2017
Messages
3,785
Reaction score
4,133
Points
262
Location
Central Maine, Zone 4B
@Beekissed is the queen of deep composting litter. She has a you-tube video somewhere. Bee, can you post it somewhere here for us? Or maybe you have, and it's buried???? Deep composting litter involves adding lots of mixed texture compostable materials to the coop and run to create a rich layer of bedding/compost. It breaks down while the added fecal material gets mixed in by the birds, and completely disappears. It works best in a coop with soil floor. Unfortunately, I don't have soil floor, and I have below freezing temps 6 months of the year. So... my system is not as functional as it should be. But, it IS functional enough that I DO find a few red worms in the mix when I do a partial clean out in spring and fall. My goal is to have at least 6" of bedding in my 500 s.f. run. Difficult chore, since the stuff melts so fast. But, I can go into my run, and harvest rich black compost for the garden when ever I want. Hidden benefits of composting litter: Decreased pathogens including external/internal parasites. B-vitamin production by the bacterial flora. Improved gut flora in the flock. Thus: improved viability, growth, and feed utilization. Studies have shown improved viability and growth in meat birds when successive broods of chicks are brooded on old litter from previous broods.
 

Beekissed

Mountain Sage
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
12,633
Reaction score
3,493
Points
437
Location
Mountains of WV
Thank you for the extra encouragement. I have been "playing" at chickens until now. I don't currently have the kind of records it would take to know the rate but I am setting up better records and getting more serious about each homesteading activity.

So I am currently putting the used "bunny hay" which includes pellets into the chicken pen whenever I don't needs it for plants. I am just starting with the rabbits so this procedure is in its infancy. Is that the type of thing you mean by deep composting? I have seen articles about chickens and composting and I do put a lot of scraps in there but because of where we live/our situation, there hasn't been anything that would create anything approaching a deep layer of compost until now.
It's a start, though you'll soon find that using all of one kind of material can cause matting and molding rather than composting, especially if you build it as deep as you'll need for good composting. It needs good air spaces in the mass to have good composting, so it will serve you well to place items in the mass that will increase air flow, even if it's just compostable bedding of different particle size and type~small branches, bark, wood chips, leaves, garden clean out of vines, corn stalks and shucks, etc. This past year I let the sheep eat the expired garden and found out how much that affected my DL in the coop....not nearly the rate of composting and heat generated in there as most of my bedding consisted of leaves and a little hay. Not good. My mass needed those vines, green stuff, corn stalks, etc. to create an ideal composting situation.
 

Lazy Gardener

Super Self-Sufficient
Joined
May 14, 2017
Messages
3,785
Reaction score
4,133
Points
262
Location
Central Maine, Zone 4B
Bee, I like your comments. I think that next season, when I clean up the garden... I'll build a pile right under the roosts. It's my usual MO to clean things out in the fall to make room for the winter's accumulation. But... perhaps I'm going at it all wrong! One of my concerns is that the walls of the coop are wafer board, and I don't want the mass and moisture of the DL building up against those walls. Perhaps it's time to consider adding an inner wall to keep the moisture off the outer wall. I have some steel roofing that would do the trick.
 

Beekissed

Mountain Sage
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
12,633
Reaction score
3,493
Points
437
Location
Mountains of WV
@Beekissed is the queen of deep composting litter. She has a you-tube video somewhere. Bee, can you post it somewhere here for us? Or maybe you have, and it's buried???? Deep composting litter involves adding lots of mixed texture compostable materials to the coop and run to create a rich layer of bedding/compost. It breaks down while the added fecal material gets mixed in by the birds, and completely disappears. It works best in a coop with soil floor. Unfortunately, I don't have soil floor, and I have below freezing temps 6 months of the year. So... my system is not as functional as it should be. But, it IS functional enough that I DO find a few red worms in the mix when I do a partial clean out in spring and fall. My goal is to have at least 6" of bedding in my 500 s.f. run. Difficult chore, since the stuff melts so fast. But, I can go into my run, and harvest rich black compost for the garden when ever I want. Hidden benefits of composting litter: Decreased pathogens including external/internal parasites. B-vitamin production by the bacterial flora. Improved gut flora in the flock. Thus: improved viability, growth, and feed utilization. Studies have shown improved viability and growth in meat birds when successive broods of chicks are brooded on old litter from previous broods.
Sure can, though it's not the greatest of videos....

 

HornyToadAcres

Power Conserver
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Messages
47
Reaction score
53
Points
45
Location
west Texas
I see what you mean. I have done a bit of composting so not completely clueless (just close to it!). I will have to be creative. It is hard to describe the sheer lack of vegetative material here. If we had any trees to speak of, actually I have planted exactly 3 weeping willows, which lose their leaves, said leaves will blow away before being raked up. However, I do have some rose bushes that do well and those trimmings would add some different materials. And I can just look for stuff. Currently the floor of the pen is chipbase but we are going to move it and build a bigger run and I already told hubby I want to scrape back the chipbase from the new location. I am actually quite excited about the organic matter that is produced from the bunnies!
 
Top