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Fermented feed supplies better nutrition that results in animals with a stronger immune system. And studies show that much of this benefit is passed on to the meat and eggs.
Over a decade ago, we began raising chickens when we lived on a quarter acre lot in the middle of a large city. Going against tradition and advice, we removed soy and corn from their diet as we began mixing our own recipe of grains for our tiny flock of six hens. Because we were concerned about supplying all of the energy and nutrients from this new diet, we started some unscientific trials and began to research scientific studies.
As we researched this feed mix, we stumbled across a study that discussed the benefits of feeding poultry wet feed. Each evening, we would mix their ration for the next day and cover it with water by an inch or two, allowing it to soak overnight. By the next morning, the feed would have absorbed all of the water and swelled to almost twice its size. We would then place it outside and the chickens would gobble it up. We continued experimenting with our grain mixture and techniques as we noted how the changes affected the quantity of eggs laid as well as the health of our animals.
In October, 2014, we moved to northeast Texas. We now live on a 43 acre farm and have continued to develop a feeding plan that we feel is not only nutritious, but also manageable for large numbers of animals on a small family farm. Currently, we have moved from soaking our feed to fermenting our feed.
During the fermentation process, the wet food captures naturally occurring bacteria and yeasts from the air, which causes the enzyme content to improve and the vitamin levels to increase. Amazingly, some vitamins will even be CREATED that weren’t there before fermenting, such as some of the B vitamins! The protein in fermented feed has been shown to increase by as much as twelve percent!
Feeding chicks wet feed from the first day of hatching greatly improves their ability to digest and utilize the nutrients in the feed. Likewise, older hens that switch to a fermented diet benefit, because the probiotic organisms are still able to colonize their digestive tract and improve their digestive abilities. Fermented feed actually cause the villi in the intestines to grow longer, thus increasing the ability for them to digest their feed and more fully utilize the nutrients. Studies continue to show that animals on a diet of fermented feed are much less likely to contract diseases. One study actually injected groups of hens with Salmonella and concluded that fermented feed could hamper the infection rate of Salmonella, thus lowering the possibility of passing this infection on to people. These studies show that fermenting animal feed can help animals to maintain a healthy digestive tract as well as a properly functioning immune system.
The improvement in the animals that are eating fermented feed versus non-fermented feed gives us a food product that should be, as studies confirm, higher in nutritional values. So, the next time that you crack open a beautiful, dark yellow yolked egg, or bite into a delicious pork chop, consider whether you are eating the higher nutritious meat/eggs from animals that are fed fermented feed.
As a meat consumer, it is important that we know how that animal was raised. You can rest assured that all Xander Farm works hard to raise happy, healthy animals.