Fermentation is a technique used to increase the FCR and the digestibility of poultry feed by making the nutrients readily available and accessible to the birds. This process is an anaerobic process that takes place in the presence of some beneficial bacteria, which you get to know as you read through.
Feeding chickens with fermented feeds have a lot of nutritional and health benefits; fermentation helps to increase nutrient absorption, nutrient availability and provides an unfavorable environment for detrimental acid-sensitive pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella.
There are some facts I need to let you understand about feed and feeding of poultry birds. Not all the nutrients present in the feeds are fully utilized; this is caused by several reasons; namely:
- The particle size of the feed:
When the particle size of the poultry feed is big, the surface area, where nutrients are available, becomes small. With high particle size, nutrient absorption by the birds is little, even when the formulation is a rich one. It must also be noted that poultry birds have a short digestion period due to the simple nature of their digestive tract; hence, it is essential you prepare a feed with a moderate particle size that will be rapidly digested and utilized.
- Anti-nutritional factor:
Most feedstuffs or ingredients used in feed formulation have antinutritional factors in them, aside maize. The likes of soybean, sorghum, and other conventional feedstuffs have antinutritional factors in them; what the antinutrients do is to inhibit the digestibility of the feedstuff, making most nutrients unavailable for absorption by the birds.
The feed processing operation can as well make nutrient unavailable for absorption. This is because the heat produced during the processing can denature or degrade most of the nutrients present in the ingredients, especially the amino acids. This is why dietary supplements are usually added to poultry feed.
Fermentation of feed helps to solve any problem related to nutrient degradation and nutrient digestibility.
How To Ferment Poultry Feed.
The processes involved in the fermentation of poultry feed are a very simple but delicate one. Fermentation takes 3-4 days. Ideally, on day 3 you can start serving your birds the fermented feed. Have made an authorized video available below, to enhance a better understanding of the procedures.
Before I talk about the processes involved, let us start with the materials needed for the fermentation to take place. You need:
- Three (3) airtight containers, one for each day.
- Untreated Water
- Sieve or strain
You can decide to use just one airtight container but you need to find a means to turn or stir the feed daily until the last day. Using three containers give you the chance to produce in batches and have that turning effectively.
Now the fermentation process proper! Watch the video and read further details on feed fermentation below.
Day 1: Pour the desired quantity of feed in the container and add enough water such that the feed is completely submerged in the water to keep oxygen away from the fermentation process. Cover the container and place it under a shed for 24 hours.
Day 2: Pour the day 1 container into another container and cover it tightly. You would observe the emergence of bubbles and the water turns milky. You can start a new batch of fermentation by repeating the day 1 process in the day 1 container. Keep both for the next 24 hours
Day 3: Pour the day 2 container in the last container and cover tightly. Keep for the next 24 hours before serving to your birds. After 24 hours, use the sieve to separate the fermented feed and the liquid. The liquid has several benefits, which I would reveal later in this article. Transfer the day 1 container to day 2 and day 2 to day 3 to keep the cycle moving.
I must inform you that it is highly beneficial to use liquid gotten from the harvested feed (day 3 bucket) to start new fermentation. This is because the beneficial bacteria, lactobacillus, which facilitates the fermentation processes are densely present in the liquid; when you use the liquid, it speeds up the fermentation process from 3 days to barely 48 hours. This saves time and resources. The liquid can be used to eliminate ectoparasites from your birds; just dip the birds in it and see how mites and lice fall off.
With this process, you have come to the end of the feed fermentation; now how do you know if the fermentation is successful or not.
The fate of the fermentation lies in the nature and characteristics of the fermented feed after harvest.
A good fermented feed has a fruity smell and usually covered by bubbles. A bad fermented feed has a foul smell and covered with molds; please do not feed your chicken such feed. Pour it away and start a new one.
How to feed chickens with fermented feed
Feed and feeding patterns play great roles in the utilization of the feed. Do not serve wet or marshy fermented feed to your chickens; ensure the feed is well-drained before serving your birds.
I think I should answer questions like what quantity of fermented feed should I serve my chickens? before it is asked. Well, fermented feeds are usually increased in size; this is as a result of water imbibitions into the feedstuffs during fermentation.
In other words, you get more feeds when you fermented. Ferment 60 percent of the daily feed intake of the birds; birds eat less of fermented feed; this is because it meets their requirement faster and better than the normal feed. Mind you, you can ferment any brand of poultry feed.
Benefits Of Chickens With Fermented Feed
I may not be able to exhaust the benefits of using fermented feeds but I will share some benefits of huge economic importance.
- Feeding fermented feed to layers helps to increase the egg weight and shell quality.
- Feed fermentation helps to improve the digestibility of the feed by eliminating the antinutritional factors present n the feedstuff
- Fermented feeds have lots of vitamins that are essential to the performance of the birds.
- Fermentation of feed helps to increase the nutrient content of the feed; it is a source of lysine and methionine.
- Fermentation of feed is one of the ways of reducing odor from poultry farms.
- Fermentation greatly saves the cost of feeding poultry birds.
- Fermentation helps to breakdown the inorganic component of the feed into organic component, making the feed organic.
Fermented feed is the new trick poultry farmers are using to increase profit, quality of products and reduce the cost of production. I would advise you try it out and see how best it works for you before adopting it fully.
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