Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Picture of the Day 1/22/2013 Fermented Feed
As we get closer to adding one more chicken to the flock, I found some interesting information about feeding the flock fermented feed. The fermented feed is similar to a pro-biotic for chickens.
There is some science behind the feeding of a wet mash, even an unfermented mash. The villi in the intestines grow longer and have more surface area, which enables them to take up more nutrients. This leads to greater nutritional uptake and better feed conversion. Because fermented feed is wet, it also increases the food uptake, food utilization, weight gain, and egg production. This is from: Engberg, R., Hammershoj, M., Johansen, N., Abousekken, M., Steenfeldt, S., & Jensen, B. (2009). Fermented feed for laying hens: Effects on egg production, egg quality, plumage condition and composition and activity of the intestinal microflora.
What are the effects of fermented feed?
Reduction of pathogenic microorganisms
These studies found that the fermented feed led to a much healthier gastrointestinal tract. One study suggested that fermented feed should be called “fermbiotics” because it provides the same benefits as probiotics in the human diet.4 Primarily, fermented feed causes a reduction of pathogenic bacteria including salmonella and camphylobactor in the digestive tract, most particularly in the crop and gizzard. Because the crop often ruptures during slaughter, the decreased level of pathogens in this area in particular makes contamination of the meat less likely.3
Lactic acid is produced by the lactobacteria. These beneficial bacteria are present in the feces of birds given fermented feed. This demonstrates that they have traveled throughout the digestive system, and they may be killing off pathogens along the way.3 The lactic and acetic acid produced by the bacteria in fermented feed create an acidic environment with a pH of about 4. At this level of acidity, molecules of acid can enter the bacteria through their cell membranes, and the increased acidity within the cells interferes with enzymatic processes, killing the bacteria.3 Fermented feed is somewhat more effective against salmonella than camphylobactor because the lactobacillus also outcompetes the salmonella for nutrients in the feed itself.3 Still, birds fed fermented feed took longer to begin shedding camphylobactor bacteria in their feces after being exposed to the bacteria and were less susceptible than birds on a non-fermented diet.
The references are available on her blog.
So, for healthier birds, especially when introducing a new chicken into the flock, it looks like fermented food will make all birds healthier.