Fermented feed for chickens?

Asked January 6, 2017, 7:34 AM EST

A lot of people I encounter are trying to cut their feed bill by fermenting their poultry feed. Does this make any sense at all? I'm inclined to stick with a good quality commercial feed, but people are fermenting grains and even layer pellets. I have concerns about this; for example, I wonder if some of the nutrients used as co-enzymes will be consumed by the fermentation organisms?

The idea behind fermenting feed is that it somehow increases the nutrients available in the feed. I'm not sure if this is more likely to unbalance the ration than to improve it.

Alameda County California poultry chickens

2 Responses

I have no professional experience evaluating fermented poultry feed, nor is there much scientific literature about it. The modern commercially-formulated diets for feeding poultry have been refined over many years and contain all the nutrients required for optimal growth. Fermentation is a form of degradation, breaking down intact molecules into other products. In my opinion, the consequences of subjecting an optimal diet to any form of degradation are unknown at best, and could be detrimental at worst.

Thank you. Years ago I received my degree in Foods and Nutrition, and that is what I thought based on my prior education - but I was concerned that maybe I had missed something in the literature when I looked it up.