Here at The Chicken Fountain™ we are always looking for ways to stretch our dollar, especially when it comes to our feed bill. The cost of good layer feed seems to be going up every day so we look for ways to supplement our feed with good healthy sources of protein.
One way I’ve found to really give the girls a protein boost is by adding whey to their feed. For those of you that don’t know, whey is a liquid high in protein and it contains 9 essential amino acids. It is a byproduct of cheese making and I was lucky enough to get two gallons of raw milk to make fresh cheese over the New Years holiday.
When you make your own cheese you will quickly see why good quality artisan cheeses are expensive. An entire gallon of raw milk is required to make a baseball size of finished cheese. You are left with a little less then a full gallon of whey to use in many things. We like to use whey as a substitute for milk in pancake and biscuit recipes. I also like to use it in warm treats for the flock. Whey is a yellowish in color and closely resembles water but has a interesting flavor. Don’t let it fool you, it is packed with protein and amino acids and great for you and the flock but as with everything moderation is important.
One way I like to use whey is in our Winter Flock Porridge. In the recipe below I will substitute whey for the water to help boost the protein and moisten the porridge…
Winter Flock Porridge
1.5 lb. Old Fashion Oats
1/2 cup Flax Seed
1/3 lb. cooked pasts (cut into small pieces)
1 cup frozen berries (thawed)
2 cups ground beef or other protein (leftovers work well here)
1 1/2 cups mixed frozen (thawed) or fresh veggies (think leftovers)
8 egg shells (baked and crushed fine)
1 cup scratch
4 cloves garlic chopped
Cooked beans (never uncooked!)
Whole grain cereals (no sugar)
Black Sunflower seeds
I start by placing the oats in a large deep aluminum pan (a catering pan works great). I then add approximately 4 cups of very warm water (or whey) allowing it to sit while the oats soak up the liquid. My cooked veggies, pasta and ground beef are then all mixed in along with my fruits and garlic. At this point I decide if I want to add more warm water (or whey) to make the consistency just right. If so, then I will warm the water (or whey) before adding it so it helps to heat up the oats and other ingredients. (Just make sure that you do not allow the mixture to get too hot. It should be warm similar to the temperature of a baby bottle.) Just before I bring it to the flock I add my flax seed, egg shells, and scratch so they stay a little “crunchy”. That’s it!
Hope this post helps you keep your flock just a little bit warmer, naturally and another use for that whey you may have leftover this winter…..