Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cost Savings from Fermenting Feed for Chickens and Other poultry

By Justine -

I'm an accountant by profession. I am really good with numbers and enjoy breaking things down. I wanted to know what we were saving by fermenting/soaking our feed so I could share it with you all.

We fed dry feed for one week and gauged our total feed provided during that week. The next week we fed fermented/soaked feed.

These are the numbers:

Without soaking we would fill two feeders full of dry that would last 24 hours. Each feeder holds 2 scoops = 8 pounds of feed each. Plus one more scoop to feed the Silkies, and another for the chicks in the brooders.
Total fed was 6 scoops or 24 pounds a day.
Equivalent to 168 pounds of dry feed a week.
That would cost us $62.16 a week to feed them. (Feed here costs 18.50 a bag = .37 cents per pound.)
Broken down further, that is about .28¢ per bird per week or $14.56 per year.

Weekly Costs to Feed Flock of 225 (Dry):

  • 42 scoops (168 lbs.)
  • .28¢ per bird
  • $62.16 in feed per week
  • Yearly Total: $3,232.32

Costs to Feed Each Bird (Dry):

  • .04¢ per bird/day
  • .28¢ per bird/week
  • Yearly Total: $14.56 per bird 

With fermented/soaked feed we do 3 scoops of dry a day + 3/5 of scratch + 3 handfuls of BOSS = total cost of $35.98 a week. We are saving $26.18 a week by fermenting/soaking it. (About .16¢ per bird per week or $8.32 per year.)

Costs to Feed Flock of 225 (Fermented):

  • 21 scoops (84 lbs.)
  • .16¢ per bird
  • $35.98 in feed per week
  • Yearly Total: $1,870.96

Costs to Feed Each Bird (Fermented):

  • .02¢ per bird/day
  • .16¢ per bird/week
  • Yearly Total: $8.32 per bird

For us, fermenting/soaking means a savings of $1,361.36 a year!!!!

I’m excluding the grown birds being fed scratch in both scenarios, but to feed them 4 pounds of fermented scratch a day (one scoop) Costs us $1 a day (I am not 100% sure on the price per pound, but putting it at $15 for a 50 pound bag. I know it is less than this. I think it's $23 for 80 pounds, but again, not sure…  It doesn’t make our total savings by soaking it any different. However, it costs us a total of $36.98 to feed all of our birds a week. That is not bad! Not bad at all!

Note: We have at least 40 meat kings, 30 layer chicks, 21 adults, 2 geese, 1 duck, 20 Mottled Houdans that are 6-8 weeks old, 15 Easter Eggers that are 6-8 weeks old, 9 Silkies that are adults (in pens), 1 Margaret, 19 Rocks that are 3 weeks old, 20 Rocks that are 2 weeks, 15 bantams that are 4 weeks, 8 chicks that are 1-1.5 weeks, 16 Silkies that are 7-9 weeks, 5 Naked Necks that are 7 weeks, and 3 Sizzles that are adults in a pen (quarantine).

I had to write that out to make sure I didn't miss anyone. That brings our total to 225 birds. (HOLY COW.) I shouldn't have calculated that - LOL.

- Justine


So tell us…
1. How many birds do you have?
2. What would your own yearly savings be assuming it would cost $14.56 per bird to feed dry or $8.32 per bird to ferment?

         (Number of birds in your flock X $14.56)
Minus  (Number of birds in your flock X $8.32)
      =               Yearly Savings

I myself currently have a flock of 40, therefore, 
 40 x $14.56 = $582.40
- 40 x $3.32 = $332.80
Yearly Savings $249.60
LOL – I am NOT an accountant and in high school I thought I’d never need to use basic algebra…
and now I'm using it voluntarily.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


  1. Wow...math makes my head ache LOL! I want to figure this for my feed some day. (After I get over my math headache...)

    1. Hi Leahs Mom, it's good to see you here too ;)

    2. Hi! Good to see you here :D Come on over and join us on the fermented feed thread!


    3. Okay...the url thing didn't work right. Just cc and paste in your browser:

  2. LOL @ Leahs mom

    Oh this is all so easy to me. Sorry if it's confusing to people who don't deal with it 8 hours a day :)

    I just counted costs for my meat birds. The chart told me they should eat about 20 pounds of feed per birds before butcher. My birds are 6 weeks old. So far they have eaten 4.2 lbs of feed. Two more weeks puts us at 5.6lbs per bird. x .37 cents a lb in feed = $2.07!!! *cheering*

    Yes that is so a win!!!

    1. Justine - awesome news on the the cost of feeding meat birds!!

      Leah's Mom - how many birds do you have now?

  3. I was feeding fermented/soaked feed (using LAB) but I ended up with large volumes of small flies, almost like fruit flies in the coop. The girls loved the fermented feed way more than the dry but it was the only way to slow down the flies. Any suggestions? Right now I'm just feeding fermented scratch and dry food.

    1. I keep an air-tight (fly-proof) lid on my container and I feed outside the coop (a run will do, or the yard if they free range).
      One thing to remember is that although those flies seem nasty to you and me, they are a FREE source of Protein for your chickens! And chickens LOVE fruit flies (and many other varieties).
      The flies do seem to be worse where I live this year because we had tons of rain. I did end up hanging a fly trap in the coop which has helped some.

  4. How do you make fermented feed and can it be made from the store bought feed crumbles? Sorry if this is a stupid question.

    1. Erin - there are no stupid questions!
      Scroll up to the top of the page and you'll see our tabs in red across the top, just under the header photo. You'll find the "Fermented Feed" tab up there.

      And yes - I simply ferment store-bought crumbles for my flock.

  5. When you feed the fermented feed, do you also have dry available? Or if it's only fermented feed do you put it out in the morning and then take out what they don't eat in the evening? So is it available to them all day to eat? I know they like to eat little bits all day so I'd assume you leave it out all day for them???? THANK YOU :)

    1. Everyone does things their own way, but I personally only feed fermented feed. They just waste so much of the dry. I keep FF available all day for the chicks, but since my flock free ranges all day, the older ones prefer to hunt bugs and just eat the FF here and there.

    2. Thanks Leigh. I started fermenting because we left for a weekend, left a new bag of feed out and it rained! I sifted out the wet chunks, and since I hate to waste things I looked for what I could do with wet feed and came across fermented! My chicks absolutely love it, and I do let them out in the yard for a good part of the day...when they seem me coming in the morning they can't wait to get out of their run! And you are right, no matter what kind of feeder I have they find a way to waste it....again....I hate wasting stuff! LOL

  6. nice this blog, its contents cool

  7. I heard one chicken should eat 150g or 6oz feed per day with dry feed. Is it the same amount with fermented feed?

    1. TrueAbundance -
      I believe the amount of dry feed your birds will consume will be different than the amount of fermented feed. If you decide to put that to the test, Please comment again and let us know what you discover!
      Many people find they are purchasing less dry feed when the ferment it.


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