Human bodies not only absorb grains faster when they are soaked or fermented, but chickens and other animals also do so. The grain is broken down by the process of soaking or fermenting foods, allowing it to become a stronger food that is ingested into the body more quickly. Soaking and fermenting your chicken feed, especially your homemade feed, is beneficial for your chicken flock’s overall health and promotes healthy bacteria in their intestinal tracts. It also allows your chickens to digest the healthy minerals and vitamins you give them. It’s very easy to integrate soaked feed into your everyday schedule, as in other items in chicken keeping.
How To Soak Feed for Chicken
You’ll simply need to have two 5-gallon food-grade buckets on hand for this routine. What you need is nourishment and warmth.
Phase 1: Put half the amount of feed that you usually send your flock into a 5-gallon container, based on your flock size. Start with one half to one scoop of feed for a flock of twelve. Cover with (non-chlorinated) fresh water, just enough to absorb all the feed, but leave about 4 inches of water over the crops. When they soak up the water, bear in mind that the grains will swell, which is why we need the extra water on top. In the weekend, it is best to do this step so that it is ready for feeding by the next morning. Enable the feed to sit, loosely coated, and soak for 24 hours in the bucket.
Phase 2: Inspect the feed the next morning to ensure it looks okay. You’ve applied so much water and can only pour it out if there is an excessive amount of water left. For the next batch you make, make a mental note of this and adapt accordingly. Give your chickens the soaked food and watch them chow down!
Move 3: To be ready for the next morning, mix up a fresh batch of soaked feed. It’s that!
Keeping track of what your chickens are eating is critical. Usually, with soaked feed, because the nutrient content is greater, you will find your chickens consume less feed, or need less feed. Pay attention to your flock, though and change as appropriate.
Chicken Feed Fermenting
In the twenty-first century, fermenting chicken feed seems to be an exceedingly common activity, but we usually don’t practice it on our homestead. In addition to the fact that it takes up a lot of space in the kitchen pantry or on the counter-p=m-and the squirrels have a field day with it if we keep it outside-p=m-we are able to gain much of the same advantages as fermented feed by making our own feed, soaking it, adding activated cultures, providing beneficial plants, and raising pasture. That said, fermenting food is definitely a fun experiment, and if you’re curious, I encourage you to follow it!
To ferment your chicken feed, here’s a fast and simple way:
Phase 1: Start with a whole-grain feed blend. Generally, it doesn’t fit well to use processed pellets or crumbles.
Move 2: Fill up about three-fourths of the way with feed in a 1-gallon glass jar or food-grade bowl. Completely coat the feed with non-chlorinated water, leaving about 4 inches of water above the feed. Lightly cover the top of the container or bucket with a rag.
Phase 3: Allow the mixture to stay indoors out of direct sunlight for a few days, stirring once or twice a day and adding water if required. The feed should be coated with water at all times.
Step 4: You’ll continue to see bubbles on top of and rising from the mixture after a couple of days. It guarantees that lacto-fermentation has begun. You can instantly feed this to your chickens, or you can leave it to sit for another day or two for a fermented feed that is even richer. Bear in mind, since fermented feed is more readily digestible and best consumed by the digestive tract of your poultry, you can give less feed than a normal scoop.
Try to offset batches of feed such that any time you feed your old stock, you have feed fermenting at all times rather than needing to start a whole new batch. Make the first batch on day 1, build a second batch on day 2, and so on.