Shortly after we moved to the homestead, we received 3 or 4 chickens and a tiny coop as a gift.
I'm sure you all have heard about chicken math! We kept acquiring chickens and before you know it, at some point, we had near 100! Why you ask? Because. Because chickens are SO awesome! So many different chickens out there and they are so pretty. How could you not want 100 of them?!
Our numbers have fluctuated over the years from no fewer than 30 and nearing 100. We tend to go lower in the winter and hatch out a lot in the spring to sell.
When you start reaching those numbers to feed, it can get pretty expensive! Especially if you feed organic, which we do.
You might be asking why we don't free range? Let me explain real quick why we use feed at all!
As I said earlier, we sell chickens. We breed them to keep them from being mutts lol.
If we opened up all of the gaits we would have roosters looking for new dates and roosters wanting to fight. This isn't acceptable.
Our solution is to feed organic layer mash and take turns letting each different pen out to free range daily. So now you know.
When our feed bill stared reaching epic proportions I started looking for ideas to help. I ran across fermenting.
an enzymatically controlled transformation of an organic compound.
Not sure if that helped or not!
Fermenting chicken feed not only saves you some money but the food is even healthier for the chickens and equates to healthier eggs for you!
Here are a few facts:
1. Fermented feed has a higher concentration of lactic acid and a lower concentration of dietary sugar.
2. The amount of intake of fermented feed is lower. This is because the dry food expands. The older the bird, the less food they need daily. Younger birds will need more just like your teenager.
3. Fermented feed increases intestinal health by acidification of the upper digestive track forming a natural barrier towards infection.
Another reason we switched to fermentation is, it's really easy to implement. On the other hand, I have to feed them twice a day but it's another excuse to enjoy some fresh air!
This is what I do for our 40 chickens of all ages. How many you have depends on the amount you use every day.
1. Find a bucket large enough to hold the amount of feed you need, enough water to cover that feed and room for the feed to expand.
We use a trash can because the lid isn't tight and air can still get in, it's imperative for there to be air flow. And, it sits right next to the chicken pens.
2. Add amount of food you expect to use. If you get more in than you would use in a day, no fear! You'll always use it so there isn't any waste. Cover with chemical free water, stir and put the lid on if it's sitting outside.
3. Stir twice a day for 3 days. You will start to see fizzing, that is what you want!
4. After the third day you can start feeding your chickens with your fermented feed! Way to go!
The formula to feed is one half cup per chicken. For every 2 chickens I feed a cup. We have a slotted scoop that measures to a cup. I scoop out what I need and use a bowl to carry it around to each pen.
I have rubber water bowls and flat plastic trays that I use for feeders.
Each morning I add a new scoop of dry feed and water to the can. Since there is already fermented feed and water in the can the new stuff ferments quicker.
It took a few days for the chickens to get used to their new way of eating and we haven't had a problem since. Even the baby chicks can start eating it from day 1. This has cut our feed bill in half!
You can find a little more information over on your YouTube channel.
Thanks for stopping by!