What should you do if
your chicken feed gets wet? In a perfect world, this never
happens, but the reality is that sometimes rain will leak into the
trash can where we store our chicken feed and the pellets in the
bottom of the bag will go moldy. If you catch the damp chicken
feed on day 1 or 2, there’s no problem — feed it right to the
flock. But after that, you’re risking the health of your birds by
giving them food in which disease-causing bacteria may have had a
chance to grow.
Previously, I’ve played
it safe by composting the problematic feed, but I accidentally stumbled
across a better solution last week. We had dumped the bedding
from our brooder in a pile outside, knowing it was full of spilled
chick feed lost in the leaves but not wanting to find a way to carry
the poopy mass to the adult chickens to be picked through. Weeks
of intermittant sun and rain passed, and then I decided to see how our
five week old chicks would do free ranging through the yard. Four
of them made a beeline for the old bedding and I ran right after them,
worried they were eating spoiled grain and making themselves sick.
I should have given those chicks more credit
for good sense. With a yard full of late summer insects and
garden debris, they weren’t interested in rotten chicken feed.
However, the maggots that had been eating the damp feed were top notch
protein sources. The chicks ate until they nearly popped, and I
patted myself on the back for finding a way to turn that lost chick
feed back into food for our youngsters.
In the future, I think
I’ll try to replicate my success whenever I end up with moldy feed
during warm weather. Mixing wet feed in with leaves keeps the
area from going anaerobic, which allows maggots to thrive. The
only trick is to let the flock in to scratch through the pile at just
the right time so you don’t instead end up with a bumper crop of flies
to plague your days.