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How to soak chicken feed to improve the health and productivity of backyard chickens, and important security checks for toxic feed that can interfere with egg production.
There’s been a lot of talk in alternative news lately about certain brands of commercial chicken feed preventing chickens from laying eggs.
As the mainstream media predictably scrambles to discredit the citizen journalist’s story, social media shows the before and after results of home egg production after replacing the contaminated feed with freshly milled versions. Dozens of videos are very convincing! (1)
These stories are certainly disturbing against the backdrop of many egg facilities mysteriously burning down and egg prices more than doubling. (twenty three)
Why Start Soaking Your Chicken Feed?
There is a simple solution to keeping a small flock of chickens to provide your family with excellent quality eggs and ensure food security.
Soak the chicken feed overnight!
We have found that soaking the feed for 8-12 hours or overnight is the easiest method, rather than letting it ferment for several days.
You can get all the benefits listed below without needing any extra time.
More on that later.
soaked and wet feed
Before I discuss the benefits of soaking chicken feed, I want to clarify that soaking is different from wetting.
Wet feed means water is added before feeding to chickens.
Wet diets show no benefit to chickens compared to dry or fermented diets and may actually reduce heat tolerance. (Four)
Soaking the feed is similar to doing it yourself in a pot of overnight oats.
Add filtered water and give the mixture enough time to start the fermentation process.
Do not use chlorinated tap water for soaking feed.
This chemical threatens the viability of naturally occurring beneficial bacteria present in the feed. Soaking promotes growth for chicken health.
Some people let the wet mixture sit for more than two days, but I live in a fairly humid environment year-round, so I just let it soak overnight to reduce the chance of mold.
Chicken feed will definitely start fermenting, even if soaked overnight. In the morning, you can see a slight effervescence on the surface of the mixture. This indicates probiotic activity.
If you live in a dry environment and want your soaked feed to ferment longer, it is recommended to have two or at most three soaking vessels. For immersion feed, the other one is “Day 2” and so on.
Now let’s take a look at the benefits of soaking your backyard chicken feed overnight.
more nutritious eggs
Studies show that fermented feed for laying hens provides more digestible nutrition, which leads to better eggs.
In a study of nearly 500 hens, hens who ate a fermented diet gained weight.
They also laid heavier eggs with harder shells..an indication of good overall quality.. (Five)
Soaking chicken feed overnight so that the probiotics start to flourish also benefits the health of the hens.
They have a more acidic upper gastrointestinal tract that protects against pathogens such as: Escherichia coli, salmonellaand Campylobacter. (6)
Reduced feed costs
With chicken feed prices rising, it’s good to know that taking the little time needed to soak the feed in filtered water overnight for light fermentation will reduce the amount of food your chickens will eat. (7)
The same thing happens to us! Whether you soak oatmeal overnight or pancake flour, you’ll feel full faster and eat less.
So this small time investment can help reduce feed costs and save you money!
Testing that feed is safe
With reports of contaminated feed circulating on social media, the best thing about soaking chicken feed before feeding it to chickens is testing it for safety.
In the video below, a woman soaking chicken feed shows that contaminated feed that prevented chickens from laying eggs does not absorb water, unlike freshly ground feed or uncontaminated pellets. increase.
how to soak chicken feed
We’ve found that soaking chicken feed at least overnight is a good idea, so let’s talk about how to do that.
Type of feed to soak
You can soak any type of chicken feed, including crumbles, pellets, and freshly ground, but we recommend freshly ground is best.
I have two great brands that I’ve used consistently over the last ten years.
Recommended if you like pellets Modesto Milling Organic and Soy Free Layered Pellets as best value.
I’m sure there are other good brands out there. These are just three I’ve tried over the years and have been consistently happy with them.
mix feed and water
Once the appropriate feed is ready, place it in a sturdy container in quantities appropriate for the size of the herd.
Each chicken eats about 4-5 ounces of feed per day. (9,10)
All I had to do was mark the appropriate fill line on the container to save me the trouble of measuring the exact amount each day.
The first line is for 24 ounces, or 4 ounces of feed for 6 chickens (my flock size). The second line shows where to put 30 ounces or 5 ounces of feed per chicken into the container.
Depending on how much the chickens are eating (more at certain times of the year), fill the container up to row 1 or 2.
Then fill the container with filtered spring water about 2 inches above the top of the feed.
Feed and water can be stirred if desired, but it is not required.
What if I forget to soak the feed?
Don’t worry if you forget to soak the food before bed.
Just feed the chickens dry food the next day.
Giving it wet in the morning and not soaking for at least 8-12 hours will not provide any benefit and can actually be harmful in hot weather.
leave the mixture overnight
After adding water to the feed, put a sturdy cover on top and leave it on the kitchen table overnight.
The lid does not need to be tightened tightly.
The next morning you will notice that the excess water has been completely absorbed and the feed size per grain has expanded significantly.
The photo at the top of the article shows how much the feed grows in volume overnight!
I also consistently notice a few air bubbles seeping into the top of the mixture that indicate probiotic activity.
The soaked feed is ready to use.
Place the soaked feed in a shallow container
The next step is to feed the chickens with the soaked and lightly fermented mixture.
Place the bait in a shallow container and place it on the free-range ground.
Be careful to place your head in a protected area from dive-bombing chicken hawks.
The main chicken run uses an old trampoline as a large “hawk cover”.
This is where I put my food so they can eat in complete safety.
Rinse and repeat
At dusk, when the chickens return to the coop to roost for the night, I take a shallow container, hose it down, and set it aside for use the next morning with the next batch of soaked feed.
By spending the required few minutes soaking chicken feed overnight, you’ll find that you’ll see healthier flocks that eat less and lay tougher eggs.
Also, the feed will absorb water properly and start fermenting with probiotics, so you can rest easy knowing that the feed is not contaminated. There is a possibility
(1) Poultry farmers blame contaminated feed after chickens stop producing eggs
(2) Who’s Burning Down America’s Food Processing Plants?
(3) The price of eggs has almost doubled. Why are eggs so expensive?
(Four) Effect of feeding wet or fermented wet feed Bacillus licheniformis Studies on growth performance, histopathology and growth and lipid metabolism marker genes in broiler chickens
(5, 6, 7) Fermented feed for laying hens: Effects on egg production, egg quality, feather condition, and gut microbiota composition and activity
(8) Toxic chicken feed does not swell when soaked
(9) chicken feed per layer per day
(Ten) How much layer pellets per day?
(11) Should chicken feed be fermented or soaked?