Fermenting Chicken Feed with Molasses

Molasses is a syrupy byproduct of sugar extractions from cane sugar and beets. It’s dark and sweet and comes in several different varieties.

Blackstrap molasses, the result of the third boiling process, contains the most vitamins and minerals, which is why it’s used with fermented chicken feed.

If you’re new to chicken feed fermentation, you might be unsure about using molasses in this process. In this article, I’ll cover all the bases regarding fermenting chicken feed with molasses, including all the significant benefits of this combination and some areas that require more attention.

jar of molasses with spoon

How Does Molasses Affect Chicken Feed Fermentation?

When molasses ferments, yeast sugar is consumed, and the byproduct contains alcohol and often gases. For this reason, the molasses doesn’t ferment with the chicken feed, but it’s added right before the feeding.

The fermented chicken feed already has numerous health benefits. If you add high-quality blackstrap molasses, it makes it even more nutritionally rich. Poultry farmers prepare their fermented chicken feed by adding water to pellets, whole grain, or other standard chicken feed and leave it for up to three days to ferment.

When it’s ready, depending on the fermented feed’s quantity, they’ll add several tablespoons of molasses and stir it gently. The goal is to add the molasses just before the feeding time and not let it sit too long in the fermented feed.

Will Molasses Hurt Chickens?

If you’re wary of incorporating blackstrap molasses into your chickens’ diet because you heard that it’s harmful, let’s put your mind at ease.

The most common issue with using molasses with fermented chicken feed is that it could cause diarrhea. However, this can only happen if you give a high dose of molasses to the chickens.

The key is not to overdo it. Another crucial factor in avoiding diarrhea is to use molasses with fermented feed for adult chickens and those laying eggs.

Something that novice chicken owners might question is whether the sweetness of molasses will cause harm to the chickens.

While it’s true that blackstrap molasses will add some sweetness to the fermented chicken feed, this variant of the molasses is the least sweet of them all.

Compared to blackstrap molasses, light and medium molasses are sweeter and less nutritional. Even though blackstrap molasses has a deeper and somewhat spicy flavor, it will add more palatability to fermented chicken feed.

Benefits of Molasses for Chickens

In moderation, molasses is an excellent supplement for your chicken feed. It contains high levels of calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium.

chicken feed on chicken feed on ground

It’s also a fantastic energy source, which is why it’s used as a binder for many livestock types. Let’s go over some of the reasons why having a bottle of blackstrap molasses on hand is great if you have chickens.

Flushes Out the Toxins

If your chickens are free-range, they may eat something that could poison them or cause an intestinal issue of some kind.

Perhaps you’ve noticed some of your chickens acting strangely and suspect food poisoning. Giving them molasses can flush out the toxins. In any case, it’s not going to hurt them, so it’s an excellent system to apply.

Replaces Lost Vitamins and Minerals

If your chickens have gone through a health crisis of some kind, even diarrhea, molasses is the quickest way to replace lost minerals and vitamins. When it comes to intestinal issues, in particular, molasses is incredibly beneficial for poultry.

Additionally, if you have chickens that are feeling sick or don’t have any appetite, adding molasses even to dry chicken feed will increase the feed’s palatability and encourage them to eat.

Bulks Up the Weight of Chickens

If you’re a poultry farmer and need the healthiest recipe to promote weight gain in your chickens, molasses is one of the best options. The key is to add the right combination of vitamin-powered foods with protein content, and of course, blackstrap molasses for extra palatability.

Combats Botulism

Botulism is a fatal disease chickens and ducks can contract by consuming stagnant water or moldy feed. Unless there’s a quick reaction, birds can die within hours of getting the disease.

As an emergency action, you can use molasses for the purpose of “laxative flush.” That means using molasses to give the chickens diarrhea intentionally.

The laxative flush can absorb the toxins and flush them out of the water. There are no guarantees that this will work every time, but molasses can be a lifesaver if your chickens get botulism.

Shipped Chicks Recovery

Mixing molasses with fermented chicken feed is only for adult chickens. However, there are times when adding a little molasses to water is beneficial for baby chicks.

When chicks are shipped, it can be very stressful for them. The water with molasses mixture can give them the energy and nutrient boost they need.

many baby chicks feeding

Great Addition to Cleansing Mash for Chickens

Even if you have a perfectly healthy flock of chickens, you might want to offer them a cleansing mash from time to time. It will have a positive impact on their intestines and the entire digestive tract.

When molasses is combined with fermented feed, it will provide good bacteria to their guts as well. But how do you make a cleansing mash with molasses?

You can use grated or pureed apples with some unflavored yogurt and add a bit of blackstrap molasses. Make sure only to give it to grown hens.

In Summary

If you regularly use fermented chicken feed for your poultry, you’ve probably seen the many benefits. Eggs are heavier, and eggshells are harder. On top of that, your birds probably love the fermented feed even more than dry grains or pellets.

When you add blackstrap molasses to the fermented mix, it becomes a good treat for them. But it’s not just about palatability, which has plenty of value on its own. It’s about providing the best possible feed for your chickens, and fermented feed with molasses certainly delivers.

Just remember to not add too much molasses to fermented feed. Another thing to watch out for with fermented chicken feed is the smell – click here to learn more.