Soaking chicken feed is an effective way to add probiotics into their diet, helping your birds digest it more easily resulting in healthier birds and eggs! Soak, rinse, repeat for maximum benefits.
Start by gathering all your supplies together in an uncontaminated glass jar or ceramic container that fits the size and type of feed your animals require, then adding dechlorinated water until the contents of the jar or ceramic container have been covered with feed.
How to Soak Chicken Feed
Fermenting chicken feed is an organic way of increasing its nutritive value by gathering wild cultures and yeasts from the air to combine with sugars and starches in feed. This process creates a metabolic cycle which breaks down these sugars into lactic acid bacteria (LAB), while simultaneously adding beneficial yeasts for added benefit.
To ferment your feed, place it into a non-metal container such as a mason jar, glass bowl or plastic bucket and add enough dechlorinated water to cover it completely; leave an inch or two for expansion during fermentation.
Close the container loosely to ensure aerobic conditions in which beneficial bacteria and yeasts can flourish. Allow it to ferment for 1 – 4 days while stirring daily before feeding it to your flock when ready.
Soaking whole grains, seeds and nuts prior to feeding them to a flock can improve both their digestibility and nutrient absorption. Soaking breaks down compounds such as phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which interfere with their absorption.
Soaking also releases lower order inositols that support metabolic as well as hormonal health, making it the starting point of fermentation; you can use this process on any type of grain or seed used for chicken feed.
Start by placing your dried grain in a bucket with enough water to cover it, stirring regularly and leaving to soak overnight. You may add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or whey (liquid left over from making butter or cheese) if desired to speed up the process; stir every hour and adjust as necessary as the grain absorbs water. On day three before feeding your soaked grain to animals or humans, take off one cup of fermented liquid from it to reserve for later use; adding this back in will kickstart fermentation more quickly when adding another batch of grain!
Soaking seeds such as chia or quinoa in water overnight is an easy and nutritious way to boost the nutritional content of your poultry feed blends. Sprouted seeds offer much more nutrition for your flock than raw or unpronounceable varieties sold at feed stores.
Soaked seeds provide superior nutrient absorption than raw seeds due to sprouting’s ability to break down phytic acid that prevents birds’ digestive systems from processing certain minerals and vitamins.
Soak any grains, seeds or legumes intended for your chicken’s feed in water overnight before using culture juice (from homemade lacto-fermented sauerkraut or water kefir) to speed up the process and stretch out their meal further while making it more digestible for your flock. This reduces waste that occurs from feeding dry chicken feed as mash or layer mash while also eliminating “beaked out” behaviors associated with dry feed.
Raw nuts contain moderate levels of phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which interfere with your body’s ability to absorb some essential vitamins. Soaking nuts and seeds reduces these antinutrients, enhances their flavor, nutritional value, and makes them easier for you to digest.
To soak nuts and seeds, simply combine your nuts/seeds with twice as much water, along with salt. Soak for anywhere between 20 minutes (for walnuts) to 2 or 3 hours (for Brazil nuts). The longer they soak, the softer they’ll become.
Once the nuts/seeds have soaked for enough time, drain, rinse, and thoroughly dry (I use my oven set on low at 130 degrees) them before storing them airtight jars or Tupperware for storage. Your flock will find this fermented, soaked feed easily digestible; some even prefer it over its dried counterpart! Additionally, feeding fermented, soaked feed provides your flock with beneficial bacteria, helping promote gut health!