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Dionne Armstrong on Fermented Feed

It is my absolute pleasure to welcome Dionne Armstrong from Haddon Hatchlings to guest blog on a topic that truth be told I don't know that much about myself! (looks like we'll both be learning something new today).

Dionne has a Bachelor of Science Degree with majors in Chemistry and Biochemistry, and is a very well respected poultry breeder in our home town of Ballarat. (My Coraline came from Haddon Hatchlings). The perfect person to clue us in on the benefits and how to's of Fermented Feed. 

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Many people are fermenting their own feed and for very good reason. It is not only economical, but the benefits for your flock are significant. Having a scientific background, I wasn’t satisfied in just taking someone’s word for it. I spent a significant amount of time researching the pros and cons of fermented feed. I spoke to many experts in the field of poultry breeding, I spoke to farmers who had years of experience with raising poultry and selling livestock and I read numerous articles regarding the nutritional requirements of poultry at certain times of the year. 

It was difficult to find a ‘recipe ‘ that I could use and develop for my specific needs. So ... I made my own recipe which I am delighted to share with you below. 


What is fermented feed?

Fermentation has been used for hundreds of years by many cultures to preserve and enhance foods. If you have ever consumed cheese, yogurt, sourdough bread, wine or sauerkraut (just to name a few) you have eaten a fermented food.

The fermentation process uses naturally occurring bacteria to partially break down the food, improving its enzyme content and increasing its levels of vitamins B, C and K. It also makes food more digestible, and boosts the "usable" protein level by about 12 percent.

The other benefits to using fermented feed include: 

Feed consumption and waste will drop by 1/2 to 3/4 (this will save you money)

Poultry on a diet of fermented feed are generally healthier and less likely to contract disease

There is almost zero waste as chickens don't scratch through it, kicking it out of the feeder

Stools become more solid and many people report less smell in the coop and run!

Egg yolks of eggs laid by hens on fermented feed will become noticeably larger, and shells will be more solid. 

Wet feeding increases the feed intake and growth rate of Chickens.

Pre-soaking of broiler feeds for 12 and 24 hours significantly increased dry matter digestibility and body weight gain in male broilers (25-40 days of age) compared with dry feed.

Bacterial fermentation of barley and wheat whole meal flours with b-glucan-degrading LAB (Lactic Acid Bacteria) has improved growth and early feed-to-gain ratio in         
broiler chickens.


To summarize, lacto-fermenting or soaking feed benefits by:

Increasing nutrient usability

Decreasing the overall intake of feed to provide the same -or greater-  amount of nutrients (by reducing undigested feed items passing through the digestive tract)

Increasing nutrient content as a by-product of lacto-fermentation (B Vitamins, Vitamin K2 and Enzymes)

Strengthening the immune system resulting in increased ability to resist disease and bacterial infection.

•       NB: Noticeable improvements in your flock may take a few weeks. 


How do we do it at Haddon Hatchlings?

You will need: (Recipe by Haddon Hatchlings)
4 scoops Wheat
4 scoops lucerne chaff
1 scoop cracked corn (omit in summer) 
1 scoop sunflower seeds
Vegetable oil
Egg shells (crushed) or shell grit (medium grain)
2 Tbsp Meat/ bone Meal
1 tbsp Lovimol 

1. On Day 1 fill 2 buckets ( or other suitable container) with your desired amount of  wheat, corn, sunflower seed and lucerne . 

2. Fill your containers with water until it covers the feed by an inch or two.

3. Add a lid and set it on the counter to wait 2 days.

4.
On Day 2 , Drain the water and empty the fermented chicken feed from Day 1 bucket into a bowl . Add other dry ingredients and mix well and feed it to your hens.  Watch them go crazy for it! 
Wash your bucket and repeat Step 1. ( filling the empty bucket only). 

5. Use the second bucket that you set up on day 1 to feed your flock on day 

6. Refill bucket 2 once used. Now you should always have one bucket ready to use and one bucket fermenting. 

Note: depending on the heat of the day, you may only require 1-2 days of fermenting. DO NOT ALLOW TO GO MOULDY.

PS: I will also be growing the wheat in small containers for the brooders for additional nutritional value- a bit like free ranging!

Day 1-2 : filling the buckets:

Day 3: draining the feed, adding dry ingredients and feeding the birds.

REPEAT!




Please feel free to inbox me at https://www.facebook.com/haddonhatchlings/ for more information and guidelines.

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