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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read some of the threads about fermenting feed, and I'm pretty sure I understand how to keep the fermentation process going when adding new feed, since it's like "sourdough starter".

I have 2 questions,
1) How do you start the fermentation process the First time?
2) Are you fermenting "scratch seed mix", or Layer Crumbles??

Thanks for clearing these things up for me, as I am wanting to start fermenting their feed as soon as I can, considering how much it helps with their digestion, nutrition, etc. I love my girls and want the best for them!

Oh, do you offer the fermented feed to the young birds, too? not babies, of course, but at what point do you start them on fermented feed? 4 weeks? 6 weeks? what?

Thanks for any help! :)
 

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I ferment both crumb and scratch (the latter in the winter months). I start them on it as day olds, in a very shallow dish or chick feeder so they can't crawl into it.

To start the first batch, just saturate it with water until no feed is in contact with air (I keep about a half inch of water on the top), and stir it up once a day. It ferments all on its own. You can start feeding right away, making sure to replace what was taken out daily. It's fermented after 3 days but the soaked feed when you first start is perfectly fine to start them on - it also gets them use to the taste and texture as it changes over those few days.
 

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To add: some folks start the fermentation process busy adding apple cider vinegar with mothers to kick start, but it does just as well on its own IMO, and I've never bothered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh, thanks, that'll be why the type of feed to ferment wasn't specified in the threads I had already read.... can do both kinds. :)

What age chicks do you first start feeding them the fermented feed?
 

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With my bigger flocks, we only use fermented as a "treat" once every few days, we do 5 gal bucket using layer and a few glugs of ACV. I always leave a little in the bucket, but since I use so much, I like to get the process going faster. We are in south Texas, near houston.


Jim
 

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I feed fermented almost exclusively. So from hatch to death they eat FF. Just make sure for small chicks you use a very very shallow dish or preferably a chick feeder that the babies have to out their heads through holes to eat and not get into the feed.
 

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Like Fiere, I feed FF almost exclusively. It is tough in the dead of winter since it freezes before they eat it all. I'll probably switch back to dry for the coldest weather just to avoid the hassle. Last winter I had 6 flocks on fermented feed.
The first couple days after hatch, I keep chicks on paper towels with starter crumbs sprinkled on the towels. On about day 3 I switch them to fermented. I use the reel top chick feeder.
http://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies/prod1;;pg106139.html

As Fiere said, you don't need to do anything but add water to the feed. I however, use a starter. I mix in 5 gallon buckets and add just a little plain kefir with something like 11 live cultures. I also add a little Gro-2-Max powder.
http://www.gro2max.com/
It's a probiotic powder formulated for chickens. It takes very little of either but by the next day it is well on its way and covered with bubbles and scoby.

I've used pellets and crumbles but don't really like them. The primary thing I ferment is a coarsely ground 16% organic grower, meaning it has a lot of whole or cracked grains. That's what all the birds get. For chicks and birds recovering from molt, I add fishmeal at about a 1:10 ratio to achieve a 20% starter feed. Because there are some whole seeds in there I make sure the chicks have grit from the start. Once I start the FF, I sprinkle #1 grit onto the feed for the first week. After that, it's in a separate container.
 
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