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Pellet free hens?

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Re: Pellet free hens?

Post Number:#16  Unread postby MaggieJ » Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:04 pm


Yeah, vinegar has to go through the alcohol stage before it goes on to become vinegar. IIRC, there are two different kinds of fermentation involved.

But... but... but... down the sink? Couldn't you at least have given it to someone who does indulge?
Sojourning in 1894 . . .

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Re: Pellet free hens?

Post Number:#17  Unread postby GBov » Mon Jul 24, 2017 5:51 pm


MaggieJ wrote:Yeah, vinegar has to go through the alcohol stage before it goes on to become vinegar. IIRC, there are two different kinds of fermentation involved.

But... but... but... down the sink? Couldn't you at least have given it to someone who does indulge?


That is exactly what my best friend, who does indulge, said! :lol: Only she added a bit of crossness and how could you as well. :lol:

OMG it did smell good, that is why I poured it away, it smelled so nice I was tempted to try it and that would just be bad news for all involved.

Have to figure out how much grain to ferment for the birds now, hmmmmm, wonder what to do it in as well.

Did you ever feel so behind the starting line you cant even see it in the distance? :roll:

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Re: Pellet free hens?

Post Number:#18  Unread postby MaggieJ » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:22 pm


GBov wrote: Did you ever feel so behind the starting line you cant even see it in the distance? :roll:

Frequently. Correction, make that most of the time.

My trouble is I spend so much time in 1894 (the current year in my novel) that I sometimes look out the window and say something like, "Oh, yeah, it's July." :o Thinking for a moment it was April or October or whatever. Who says time travel isn't possible? :lol:
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Re: Pellet free hens?

Post Number:#19  Unread postby GBov » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:28 am


MaggieJ wrote:
GBov wrote: Did you ever feel so behind the starting line you cant even see it in the distance? :roll:

Frequently. Correction, make that most of the time.

My trouble is I spend so much time in 1894 (the current year in my novel) that I sometimes look out the window and say something like, "Oh, yeah, it's July." :o Thinking for a moment it was April or October or whatever. Who says time travel isn't possible? :lol:


You did make me laugh with this one! OMG I do that too, get so caught up in a book I dont know what century it is, never mind season or day! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Speaking of day, its day three of fermented grains for all. Well, I havnt fed it to the rabbits yet, havnt done enough research for that one but poultry and pigs? LOVING IT!!!

Now I need to make a new compost pile beside the hen house/cage so I can give weekly access for the girls. I leveled out the first one I made when we moved in here and it was heaving with maggots :shock: so I cut the bottom off the rooster tractor and plunked it down onto the leveled heap.

Talk about some happy birds!

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Re: Pellet free hens?

Post Number:#20  Unread postby Truckinguy » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:05 am


I've been fermenting the grains for my chickens for a while now, couple of years maybe. Before that I was giving them dry scratch grains and they would scratch through it to find the grains they wanted and it would be all over the place and lots of waste. Now they gobble it all down and very little or no waste at all.

I was soaking them for three days but i was finding that mold would grow on the top of the water so I do it now for two days. I'm going to have to find a lid system to keep the oxygen out while the grains are soaking.

The grains swell up so less grains are needed to feed the birds, in addition to be nutritionally superior. The hulls on the grains are softer so they are easier to digest. They are slightly more acidic which increases the acidity of their gut which helps fight any harmful bacteria that they may ingest. There are many beneficial vitamins that are formed in the fermenting process. It also helps keep the birds hydrated due to the increased moisture in the grains which is helpful in the summer.

If nothing else I have saved a lot of money on wastage. The birds seem very healthy and I rarely lose one. New chicks that are hatched in the coop eat nothing but fermented grains and have been fine until they go outside and have access to whatever the other birds eat.

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Re: Pellet free hens?

Post Number:#21  Unread postby GBov » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:28 am


That is good info Truckinguy, thanks! :D

I have mine in a 5 gallon bucket UNcovered, on the porch. Every time I walk past it I give it a good stir to make sure it all gets good oxygen.

We were just adding new grain to replace what we took out but i am going to start a new bucket today so we can feed from one while the second ferments.

Rabbits had their first taste of it today. We shall see how they do on it as well as everyfurfeatherthing else.

So far, so good!

__________ Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:15 am __________

Have to say, the fermented grain smells GREAT!!! :P

__________ Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:28 am __________

Trolling through the internet looking for information on feeding fermented feeds to livestock I came across this little gem....

http://www.academicjournals.org/journal ... FE2A938971

OMG! That is all I can say, is OMG!!! Who would EVER think, "Gosh, I wonder if I can feed THAT to rabbits?" Or ANYTHING!!! :evil:

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Re: Pellet free hens?

Post Number:#22  Unread postby Truckinguy » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:12 pm


GBov, I've never fed the grains to my rabbits so I can't say what effect it would have on them. I"m interested to see how yours do.

The fermenting process that occurs under the water is anarobic and lacks oxygen. This is necessary for the good microbes and bacteria to do their work. Anything that happens on the surface of the water is arobic which involves oxygen and can result in harmful mold growing on the top of the water which happened to me. My birds still seemed fine but I decided to only go with the two day fermentation as it didn't give the mold time to grow on the water. The buckets should be covered with a loose fitting lid so any CO2 that results from the fermentation process can escape but fresh oxygen can't get in. My Dad used to make wine at home and his big glass jugs had caps on them with a little water system that let the pressure bubble out of the container while it fermented but prevented fresh oxygen from entering the container. I may try to set up something like that.

Also make sure that all the grains are below the surface of the water.

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Re: Pellet free hens?

Post Number:#23  Unread postby GBov » Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:03 am


Thought I would give an update on how the fermented feed thing is doing and its doing great!

Worked out a system that works for me, using just one five-gallon bucket I put in two gallons (one each of scratch grain and duck grower) of feed into the bucket and cover it with about four gallons of water.

That is the start and I have had to start from scratch twice now as my eldest son - I do love him, really - can't remember to not use up all the feed and NOT TELL ME!!!

So, the bucket is now full of water covered grain. The duck grower has seaweed and minerals and alfalfa meal and there is some fish meal as well in there I think. Fed dry there is so much powder that I don't know how it isn't wasted and at the price for organic feed delivered, the thought of wasting even a speck makes my head hurt.

Every day I scoop out feed from the bucket after giving it a good stir and then TOP UP THE WATER.

When the grain gets low I add more and, by morning, it is ready to feed.

After a few weeks the water is a golden yellow color, smells of ripe cheese and slides off my hands in long strings.

Thanks to google, when I got a white bubbly skin on top I could easily find out that it was just a yeast and not to worry about it. I stopped worrying about it and eventually, it went away. :lol:

The chicks we hatched got it from day one, the only difference is I ran the dry through my old hand grinder to make it small enough for them before fermenting. They are now 12 weeks on and doing fantastic.

The rabbits did just fine, at the moment I have just one buck and he leaps into his bowl every day. He is almost totally useless but friendly enough. The does we had did breed and raise kits but I didn't keep them long term, at the cost of the feed it works out better for me to get $5 rabbits at the farm swap and just feed them for 6 weeks.

As rabbits are so delicate inside I found they transition better, and faster, if I have a rabbit that is eating it and put its poo into the new rabbits feed for a few days. They never get any kind of upset with the new food and they hold their weight which is better for all.

The adult hens went onto the fermented grain just fine and while they didn't lay in the winter much spring brought an average of three eggs a day from a flock of four so pretty good. A richer egg as well, more like quail for taste. Of course, now youngest son is allergic to eggs, a laying flock was not much use :roll: :lol: so they are all gone now with just the meat chickens experiment left.

The 10 cornish cross chicks I bought are growing fine on it. Slower than the grow out rate expected but they are MUCH more active than normal, leaping about with the rest of the flock and despite being several weeks behind the rest of the flock, they are holding their own at feeding time.

Pigs love it and the flavor of the pork is fantastic. Due to feed costs I put the sow and her piglets onto commercial feed but after tasting one of them they are now back onto the high priced organic, it is just BETTER!

Sadly the quail didn't do well as I just couldn't get the protein high enough for them but I do pour off some of the liquid into a bucket and use that to ferment their game bird starter. The next quail attempt will be with the fermented feed plus mealworms but the mealworms are still at stage two so nowhere near ready as a feedstuff yet.

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Re: Pellet free hens?

Post Number:#24  Unread postby akane » Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:05 pm


We'd go through 1 bag of feed for dozens of chickens over 3 months in summer but I was free ranging. The predators were eventually why we stopped. Stray dogs were actually our worst loss though until a fishercat moved in. The foxes, owls, hawks, and coons could all be dealt with fairly easily as most would only come at night while chickens were secure and some cover with a few guinea fowl solved hawks. Problem was the guinea fowl had to be yearly replaced because they would not consistently go in a coop and created a nice population of great horned owls. Rats were an ongoing issue but setup won't change that and at least one feral cat was big enough and bold enough to kill even grown standard hens until he was "disposed" of. A fishercat though struck daytime and that was the end. Those things have the strength to rip weaker wire, ability to climb fencing and posts, can dig, don't easily go in traps, and randomly strike months apart to kill large numbers before coming back through again. Odds of killing it without an experienced trapper using lethal methods were low, odds of seeing it to shoot were lower, and keeping it out was going to take fort knox.

Unfortunate downside of free ranging was by fall the eggs started to taste of grasshopper. :lol: Most things you feed do not show up in the flavor of the egg but apparently when made of mostly insect protein it does.

Quail will happily just eat meat. Many don't like to think of their poultry as carnivores but it takes a lot of insects for protein compared to breaking down 1 larger animal and feeding scraps off things. They'd also probably do fine on young mice that if you don't like keeping small rodent pets (gerbils or hamsters are equally good but don't reproduce at the levels of mice for feeder purposes) you can often get mice darn near free from some reptile feeders. For insects soldier fly larvae are superior and relatively easy to grow outdoors in warm weather on meat scraps. Being in town and having Iowa winters I get buckets of them dried and packages of them powdered for geckos, birds, and insectivorous mammals. I also raise dubia roaches rather than mealworms/darkling beetles. Just as easy except they need a little heat, I flipped heat lamps upside down under the bins on a wire shelf, and I use isopods (pillbug, rolly polly....) to clean the roach bins so they do not accumulate more frass than the young use to grow on initially. Dubia don't survive most of the US climate if they do escape. If the climate isn't cold enough then air conditioning will eliminate them from a house shortly. Fishing bait sites are often good places to get bulk live insects without raising them but the butterworms that store for 4-6months in the fridge had their native habitat decimated so they are no longer cost effective to order twice yearly in our cool but not yet frozen windows of weather.

It pays to have your hand in a variety of hobbies because you can find a lot of new sources for doing things a nonstandard way.
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Re: Pellet free hens?

Post Number:#25  Unread postby Deer Heart » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:34 pm


A comment on sprouting in FL, it is possible (I'm zone 9A)! You just have to change what you use by the season and give yourself enough grow tubs to be able to clean and let each tub sit out in the sun for a day between harvest and "reload". I did it for over a year without problems. Oat for dry late fall and winter months. Rye for humid spring - summer and early fall months (it sprouts faster!). I have my feed store at the time to thank for that tip, apparently several other locals were doing a bunch of trial and error over that.
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