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Chicken DIY Projects: Fermenting Chicken Feed

Chicken DIY Projects: Fermenting Chicken Feed

Why Do People Ferment Chicken Feed?

My hens and rooster love their feed. When the chicks were introduced to the grown-up chickens about six weeks ago, we changed from layer feed to Scratch and Peck’s organic starter feed since the chicks needed to stay on that until about eight weeks. That’s when we’ll put them on grower feed. As I’ve mentioned previously, we always have out a bowl of oyster shell and grit as supplements. But recently I also learned about fermenting chicken feed and now we’re doing this for the ladies! Many farmers do this as part of their daily routine so there is no reason a chicken keeper with a small flock cannot do this!

And at Fang! Pet and Garden Supply we sell all the Scratch and Peck Organic Livestock Feeds. We also talk about fermenting feed with our customers frequently. All Scratch and Peck feed can be fermented – with that in mind, all chicken feeds (except pellet feeds) can be fermented. This post shows their layer feed fermented in the pics below.

This is SO EASY. We decided to use a fermenting kit provided by Scratch and Kit. As a newbie fermenter, it has all the elements needed which made me less nervous. Note for everyone: sprouting is not fermenting. You can sprout whole grains but this post is about fermenting feed. I didn’t know the difference and I actually started “fermenting” grains and then had to start over again. Oops!

Note that these are grains! And you want to ferment feed. Oops!

THIS is the kit showing feed that can and should be fermented.

Day 4: Ready for the ladies

Why Ferment?

Fermenting chicken feed make nutrients more readily available in, feed requirements lessen, and there is also less waste since the chickens love it.

The nutritional benefits of fermenting chicken feed are great:

  • It increases beneficial bacteria in their guts
  • It also decreases pathogens in your hens’ digestive systems
  • Makes protein more available
  • Requires less feed per serving (one of my fave reasons)
  • Decreases coop odor (yes!)
  • Increases water intake as water is consumed with the feed
  • Improves digestibility of feed and nutrient absorption

Ok, How Do you Ferment Chicken Feed?

(I’ve included the daily steps below)

First, you submerge the feed under water for 24-48 hours. This can be done in a bucket. Expert Maat Van Uitert wrote a great book, “Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock” which is my go-to guide for chicken advice.

There is a section on fermenting chicken feed that talks a little about the process. “It’s very, very important to make sure the feed remains under water, which creates the environment that allows the good bacteria to grow,” explains Maat. She likes to leave an inch or two of water above the feed as it ferments.

Note: If it looks moldy at all toss it. But it should smell like sourdough bread! By day two my mason jar absolutely smelled this way and I knew we were getting close (see below).

These easy steps are from Scratch and Peck and please don’t hesitate to ask any of our staff at Fang! if you have questions about how this works:

Day One Steps:

Place feed in a clean container (see my mason jar in the pics) with a loose-fitting lid. The size of the container will depend on the size of your flock. For a flock of just a few birds, a 32 oz mason jar will suffice. A 5-gallon bucket works for larger flocks. Start small, though, and work your way up if needed.. Leave room in the container for the fermented chicken feed to expand. Pour non-chlorinated water over the feed and mix. (we have a well so our water doesn’t have chlorine in it but if your water does follow these tips).

I tried two parts water to one part feed. And just like Maat says in her book – make sure the water is covering the feed completely. Let sit at room temperature at least a day. And stir it once a day. Bubbles will start to form when the ferment is ready and there will be a slightly sour smell. Pea soup is the consistency you’re looking for.

Day Two Steps: 

You can see that it’s starting to bubble on day two. Keep watching as this process can take up to 4 days depending on the temperature.

Day Three Steps:

How does it smell? Make sure to mix it once more on day three. Do you have mash that’s ready to feed your hens?

Day Four:

We’re eating! *note that the mash should be slightly wet and not soupy, so I drained some of the liquid when mixing a new batch! Remember – pea soup!

Fermenting chicken feed was an entirely new concept to me. But the yellow chicken approves. If you have questions, come visit us at Fang! And we can help you!

MARCH CUSTOMER OF THE MONTH: MEET PUPPY, BOWIE

MARCH CUSTOMER OF THE MONTH: MEET PUPPY, BOWIE

Meet Bowie – our March Customer of the Month!

We love Bowie! Why was Bowie nominated for March?  “It’s so much fun to see how much he’s grown since the first time he visited us at Fang! He had to be a Spotlight because he stole our hearts,” according to Fang and Feather’s owner, Nancy Fedelem. We asked Anna (pet parent) to tell us a little about Bowie.

Customer Spotlight

  1. What is your name? Bowie
  2. What is the name of your pet? Anna Heston
  3. What breed is your pet? Boston Terrier
  4. How old is your pet? 4 months
  5. What do they do that makes you laugh? He snores like a pig
  6. What is their favorite treat?  Beef Trachea 
  7. What activity do you enjoy the most with your pet? Playing with Bowie
  8. What silly name do you call your pet when no one is around? Bo Bo
  9. What has your pet taught you? That dogs are babies
  10. Where does your pet sleep? Pup bed in living room, cuz he snores
  11. Lastly, what is most precious about your relationship? That I’m a dog mom too

Our 2018 calendar

Any pets featured as a Customer of the Month will be automatically added to a new calendar we’re debuting THIS year. If you would like to be featured, any of the staff at Fang & Feather can connect you with the form to fill out or please email our store manager at info@fangandfeatherpdx.com. 

Caring for Aging Pets

Caring for Aging Pets

Thanks to our more advanced veterinary care, there’s a good chance you’ll have your pet with you quite a while.  Whether you’ve had your pet throughout their life or recently adopted a senior animal, caring for older pets can be a challenge. You want to make sure they’re comfortable and enjoying life, but it can be hard to make sure you’re covering all of your bases, especially since elderly pets aren’t always able to tell you exactly what they need. Here are some basic guidelines for caring for your older fur kids.

  • Up your annual vet visit to a semi-annual trip

You’ve likely been keeping your pet’s annual visit to the vet on the schedule for years, but older pets can benefit from going twice a year. These extra visits can help your care provider catch early warning signs of disease before they get out of control. The extra time with the doctor will also provide you time to ask questions about caring for your aging pet.

  • Understand geriatric health risks

Elderly pets face a myriad of diseases. It’s important to know what these are so that you can keep an eye out for symptoms in between vet appointments. Depending on the animal, these diseases could include cancer, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, loss of eyesight, and liver disease. Check with your vet about early warnings signs you should be looking for.

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  • Focus on diet

Just like us, aging animals may need to tweak their diet. They often need easily digestible food the older they get. Check with your vet about recommendations. You can also ask the Salty’s staff and the folks at Fang for some ideas.

  • Maintain their mental health

The need for mental stimulation increases as your pet gets older. Take your dog for regular walks, provide toys that offer mental stimulation, and invest in quality time with them while they play. Keeping their mind young can help your pets stay with you longer, and enjoy a high quality of life while they’re here.

  • Choose an end-of-life plan before you need one

It’s devastating to consider euthanizing your pet, and it’s understandable to not want to think about it. However, it’s much easier to consider what you will do when the worst happens well before that moment actually arrives. Many vets can provide you with a quality of life scale, to help you understand when your pet may be suffering. You can also plan with your vet what the day will look like if you have to euthanize your pet. It will be comforting to you that if the moment comes that you have to make this difficult choice, you will know what to expect and will know that your friend will comfortable and loved.

Misconceptions About Cats

Misconceptions About Cats

The “dog people vs. cat people” debate is a long running one. Many people do love both types of animals and even have both in their home, but plenty of people prefer one over the other. Some of those who don’t consider themselves “cat people” have misconceptions about what cats are like, and what kind of pets they are. These misconceptions often extend to people who do like cats and haven’t owned one yet. Cats can offer a life of fun and enjoyment for their owners and make great companions.  Here’s some of the top misunderstandings about owning a cat.

Cats are stand-offish

Those who don’t like cats often say they’re grouchy, mean-spirited animals. While there are definitely grumpy cats (and dogs!) out there, cats are can be loving, loyal pets. Cats do prefer to do their own thing sometimes and like to nap frequently, but they also like snuggle, lay in your lap, and sleep close you at night. Many cats are very people friendly, and get along well with anyone willing to give them under the chin scratches.

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Cats take care of themselves

It’s true that cats don’t need the daily walks dogs require. They spend stretches of their day with no attention from you. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a great idea to leave them alone for the weekend, even with a very full food dish. Any number of accidents can happen while you’re away. Just because a cat doesn’t require as much daily attention as a dog, that doesn’t mean they’re totally safe alone for stretches of a few days. It’s important to still have someone checking in on them or place them at a boarding facility while you’re away.

Cats are not playful

Dogs are known for their lovable, playful attitudes, but cats can be the same way! Cats love to play with ribbons, catnip toys, boxes, and anything else they can get their paws on. Interacting with them during playtime can strengthen the bond with your cat. It also helps them get the brain activity they need to stay healthy. We all know dogs can be big goofs, but cats are also silly! Any cat owner can tell you of midnight “goblin hunts” featuring their cat running around the house at full speed and attacking shadows in the middle of the night.

Cats are quiet animals

Cats don’t often use noise to communicate with each other, but they will vocalize to talk with their owners. This is most often to get their attention at dinner time, but cats have also been known to sit and “converse” with their owners. They also have special chirps for the birds they see out the window, and loving purrs during snuggle time.

What to do if you find a stray pet

What to do if you find a stray pet

We often worry about what we will do if we lose our own pets. It can be a very scary situation! We have to rely on the kindness and knowledge of others to get them home. This means it’s a good idea for you to know what to do if you find a stray pet; you can make the difference in getting them home to their families safe and secure. They may have a collar with contact information that makes it easy, but not always. Here are our top 3 tips for helping lost pets get home.

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  • Use caution when catching the animal

A lost pet is likely very scared, and may be in a less than ideal location. If you notice a lost animal, make sure you are secure first – don’t stop in the middle of traffic or attempt to run across a highway. You will need to approach the animal slowly, and know when they are too scared or aggressive for you to handle alone. If you have treats with you, it may be possible to lure them to the safety of your vehicle or home. Be on the lookout for signs of illness and aggression, and keep yourself safe.

  • Be prepared to assume financial responsibility

If the pet you find is injured, try getting them to a vet or animal hospital once you have safely collected them. However, don’t plan on free vet care or the owner paying you back. Depending on the animal’s situation, this may not be an option. Be prepared to pay for the vet care they need out of your own pocket.

  • Contact the local shelter and animal control

As soon as possible, get in touch with your local shelter and animal control. There is a chance the owner is frantically looking for their pet, and has already contacted these organizations to ask for help. Even if they haven’t called yet, the authorities may know where the pet belongs. It’s also important to be in touch with in case you can’t keep the animal in your home; they will need a place to stay until they are reconnected with their owner. If these organizations haven’t heard from anyone, sites like Craigslist are great resources. Owners searching for pets will often post here looking for help, as well as hang signs in community centers.

Tips for finding an excellent Professional Pet Sitter

 

March 6th – 12th is Professional Pet Sitters Week! We all deserve and need vacation time, but it can be stressful gI_101439_2016 Professional Pet Sitter Week2deciding on care for your pets while you’re gone. It’s not always ideal to just have a friend stop by and check on them; they have their own busy lives to attend to as well. Boarding facilities can be a fantastic option – but the best ones are understandably often booked far in advance. A professional pet sitter can be a life saver and give you peace of mind when you’re travelling. You can hire a sitter to stay at your home, check on your pets throughout the day, or watch your pets in their own home.

You don’t want to just hire the first pet sitter you come across online, however. Here’s some tips for finding a caring, knowledgeable professional to look after your fur kids.

  • Ask sources you trust for a reference.
    • There are lots of useful sites and organizations that can help you choose a sitter, but some of the best recommendations come from family and friends who’ve used pet sitters in the past. You can also ask the experts on our team the next time you come in the store if they have any recommendations.
  • Ask to see training certificates, proof of business insurance, and veterinary associations.
    • Good professional pet sitters put in a lot of time and work to grow their business and their skill sets. When talking with a potential sitter, ask about what training they’ve completed and ask if you can see copies of certifications. You’ll also want to see their proof of business insurance. It’s also good for a pet sitter to have a relationship with an area vet in case of emergencies, so be sure to get this info.
  • Interview and be interviewed.
    • While you’re interviewing a potential pet sitter, see if they’re taking notes about you and asking detailed questions about your pet. A good professional will want to interview you just as much as you interview them!
  • Define quality time.
    • It’s important to clarify what the pet sitter considers quality time with your pets. Even if they’ll be staying at your house or keeping your pet at home with them, you’ll want to know how much time they’ll be playing with, cuddling, and focusing on your pet.
  • Help your pet sitter help you and your pets.
    • Set everyone up for success by making sure your pets are up to date on vaccinations before your trip; leaving detailed instructions; buying extra food and supplies before leaving; and making sure your pet has access to their favorite toys and items during the sitter’s time. Also, set up guidelines for updates from your pet sitter so everyone will know what to expect communication wise.

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