Should I give my chooks fermented food?

Updated: May 6, 2021

Fermentation utilizes a specific benign bacterium to partially break food down. As a waste, the bacteria supplement the feed’s composition with additional enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.

Chickens fed with a fermented menu experience boosts in many key dietary components, including vitamin B, vitamin C, riboflavin, folic acid, vitamin K, niacin and thiamin.

In effect, a flock’s feed becomes easier to digest and provides even more nutritional value. The process also naturally eliminates many malignant microbes. Compared to other, non-fermented options, your birds will eat half as much food but will gain significantly more nutrients and feel fuller. As a bonus, those results will apply to their feces as well.

Your chickens will defecate less, but the fertilization benefits of that waste will be even more potent.

Ready to get started?

For the fermentation process, avoid the use of metal containers. To avoid contamination brought about by the fermentation’s acidic reactivity, choose materials like thick glass or BPA-free plastic.

1. Fill your container halfway with your chosen dry-feed, leaving plenty of room for expansion without impacting the lid.

2. Using dechlorinated water, submerge the feed until fully covered. Stir the contents at least once every twelve hours. Add water as needed to keep everything submerged and ensure that the lid remains closed as much as possible.

3. Within a week, the container contents should develop a foamy, cloudy surface accompanied by a sour smell. Scoop out a desirable amount for feeding and replenish the

container with an equal volume of non-fermented feed.

It’s that easy!

To recapitulate the benefits of fermented feed once more:

- The eggs produced by your backyard chicken farm will be stronger and tastier,

- Your hens will be healthier,

- Their enclosure will require fewer cleanings due to the decreased waste, and

- Your feed costs should plummet.

Alternatively, you can also add apple cider vinegar to their drinking water to boost their probiotics and reduce harmful bacteria. In short, opting to nourish your flock with fermented feed might be the best decision you’ve made since first joining the backyard poultry community.

To learn more about whether raising chickens is for you, please buy my introductory ebook on Etsy.

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