Friday, January 28, 2011

Raw Milk For Chickens?

For those who can not obtain raw milk in your area, I apologize in advance for this post. I'm sure it seems such a waste to feed raw milk to chickens when your children can't even get it. Truly, I'm very sorry and my heart goes out to you!




None-the-less, I've found that my "girls" like clabbered milk, often called buttermilk. Such a treat for them... they go WILD! Rich in Vitamin B, calcium, and probiotics, I believe it's good for them, too.


Interestingly, according to the American Poultry Advocate, Volume 23, written in 1914, "Sour milk, buttermilk, skimmed milk all have a tendency to keep poultry well and in the doing this prevents much growth of worms". Now you might not put much stock in that, but apparently, it certainly wasn't seen as harmful to chickens. Keep in mind, back in 1914, most farmers had their own raw milk source, so don't confuse this with pasteurized and homogenized milk. In order to have probiotics in the milk, it would need to be raw. 


So, do you give your chickens raw milk? I'd love to hear your thoughts!



36 comments:

  1. When we did have dairy goats, I shared milk with the chickens almost daily. They loved it! I would save milk from 1 session every few days just for them. In winter, I would have frozen milk which was put aside for this next purpose. We would mix the slightly warmed {just enough past room temp} milk with their feed. This warm mash on a cold winter day was consumed quickly, every time.

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  2. Yes, I do feed Milk or Whey to the chickens, its a family thing, I learned it from my mom when I was little on the farm and she learned it from her mom and dad on their farm.

    The chickens love it, its a great added bonus to their health in winter.

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  3. By the way, the extra protein helps them during molting as well. And, when the temperature drops, mixing milk into the feed at evening time entices the chickens to eat a bit more which raises their metabolism which keeps them warm at night. And, last but not least, I've found that if I have an egg-eater in the flock, a little milk in their diet everyday seems to keep them from eating eggs. Milk for chickens is a VERY good thing, and if you can get raw milk, even better!

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  4. I never heard of giving milk to chickens. I have some raw milk now, that i was thinking of freezing as it is starting to go bad, or i sometimes give it to our dog. I would rather give it to my chickens now though, they love treats and follow me around begging. love them. thanks for the info.

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  5. Yes, spoiled milk is good for chickens, IF it is from raw milk. Spoiled pasteurized milk might be a different story altogether.

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  6. I have actually seen antique feeders for chickens that are designed for clabbered milk.

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  7. Really? Feeders designed for clabbered milk? I'd love to see one!

    Betty, thanks for the additional information on milk for molting. And I agree that feeding them milk is good for egg eaters; I've known people to give their chickens crushed eggshells for calcium, but this just encourages more egg eating - bad thing! So milk is a much better alternative.

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  8. Raw milk is too precious around here, but I have given mine yogurt that was a bit too sour for us...they LOVED it!

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  9. our raw milk is SO expensive ($14/gal), so I give the chickens whole milk yogurt.

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  10. Yes, I feed milk to the chickens, along with yogurt, buttermilk, or whatever else is left over, I alos feed goat milk to the goats, grown goats, when I have extra. I know that seems like a contradition but really its excellent for them. This is usually when all the girls (does) are fresh and milk is plentiful. Not this time of year when I'm hoarding every ounce for ourselves.

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  11. Amy, thanks for the post. I had never heard about giving the chickens milk. Unfortunately, we don't have raw milk. We have considered acquiring some goats in the future, so I'll keep this post in mind. Once again, Thanks.

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  12. I give my chickens raw milk from time to time. I did it regularly when they were chicks. They sometimes help themselves while I am milking my goats. They peck at the stanchion when I squirt the milk. They certainly do love it. You can also put milk in your garden. It's supposed to be really good for the soil.

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  13. By the way Amy. If you crush the egg shells really good they don't associate it with eggs they lay. My father-in-law has done this for years. Usually he dries the shells first and then crushes them really good before feeding it to the chickens. I usually just crush them really good.

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  14. My hens get yogurt everyday (I make it by the gallon) and I add a bit of molasses and apple cider vinegar to their water...so far I don't have sick birds and they recover from their moults quite easily.

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  15. How cute is that, chickens love milk! What a fun and informative post! How is it I've not found your wonderful blog before now? Happy to have found you!

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  16. Amy,
    I just wanted to tell you that this is one of the GREATEST places to visit!... Daily!
    What a marvelous job you do!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

    Many Blessings Linnie :-)

    PS Shouldn't you be an editor of your own Magazine? ;-)

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  17. Yes, I give my chickens raw milk, sour milk, buttermilk, yogurt and old bread soaked in milk. I also give them "hot oatmeal" for breakfast on cold days ~ they come running when they see me with it! Grandma told me it was good for them!

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  18. Ok. I tried it and they looked at me like I was crazy. They prefer bread and rice left overs. I will try again, but the cats and dogs finished it after the chickens turned up their noses. I knew they were spoiled. I will try making a mash for them this afternoon, it will be cold here in Florida tonight.

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  19. Lol! Now that is one thing I have not seen done. When we were kids my mom would send us out with a steaming pot of oatmeal for our chickens on cold winter mornings. They loved it. :o)

    Cheryl

    http://ldsmomtomany.blogspot.com/2010/11/beautiful-brown-eggs.html

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  20. Linnie,
    How kind of you to encourage me so! We'll see where God takes me on this blogging journey.

    Mona, Thanks for the good info on the crushed egg shells. I'll remember that. I know you give your chickens oats; I hadn't thought of oatmeal though. Thanks to those who mentioned that as well.

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  21. Laurie Ann ~ Welcome! Glad you found your way here, too! Thanks for visiting; I hope you'll come often and comment when you can.

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  22. Yes! We often gave our chickens any left over milk from our house cow, they loved it.

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  23. Never too old to learn...I had never heard of milk for chickens. I'll definitely have to try it. BTW, I LOVE your blog!

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  24. My chickens must be crazy. I've tried giving them yogurt, but they wanted nothing to do with it. I've also tried hot oatmeal which they ignored until it turned into a giant, impenetrable, frozen oatsicle.
    They do get crushed eggshells mixed into their feed and the occasional splash of cider vinegar in their water though.

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  25. OH my! Thank you so much for putting my Potager "class" on your sidebar!

    I don't have access to raw milk but that is good to know for... someday!!!!
    Many Blessing,
    Angela,
    ParisienneFarmgirl.com

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  26. When we have extra/old dairy products the chickens get it, but this time of year we barely have enough to make 1/2 gallon of yogurt per week!

    We also crush our egg shells and feed them back to chickens. I let my 5 year old do it, and they end up quite crushed.

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  27. Amy said: I've known people to give their chickens crushed eggshells for calcium, but this just encourages more egg eating - bad thing!

    I feed egg shells to my chickens when I have them and they never ate eggs. Egg shells are just calcium carbonate...

    The diet in lacking something or bored chickens and overcrowding are what causes egg eating not dry egg shells. Feeding raw milk to the chickens are an excellent idea!

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  28. Yes I feed my chickens raw milk and in the spring time I give them some colostrum, it seems to help bring into lay. And they love it!

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  29. I’ve never done this before but I would love to try it and will. I love to treat my chickens :)

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  30. I don't give them raw milk, because I pay $8.00 a gallon for it (though feeling like I'm getting a bit of a deal after reading that someone is paying $14/gal). I feed it to my family, but not to the animals. When we have goats (hoping to add them soon), I will feed it to them.

    I also feed them ground egg shells, will even hard boil and grind eggs up to feed to them, when they are laying more than I can keep up with.

    @Angela, you can give them uncooked rolled oats. They like them, they are great for overall egg production, and they do not need to be cooked first.

    When I butcher chickens, ducks or rabbits I cook any of the livers, kidneys, hearts or lungs that I'm not using in my own cooking, and then feed those, too.

    Oh, and when I'm done making stock, I take the bones and extra bits that I strain off, and grind those for the birds. They love all of it. So, yes, if I had raw milk to spare, I'd feed it to my birds.

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  31. Amy,
    It certainly doesn't sound like your chickens are lacking any - quite the opposite. It sounds like they are very well fed! Thanks for sharing your feeding ideas.

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  32. We dry our shells in a 250 degree oven. Then we smash or food process the now brittle shells.We then add the smashed shells to the feed. We also feed sour and left over raw milk to our birds.

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  33. I make keifer every day from Vermont raw milk.
    When I make too much OR the keifer grains grow too fast, I share them with the chickens. They love them and its a good boost of protein, roughage and mega probiotics!!
    I give the keifer grains to my cows too.
    www.tailgait.blogspot.com

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  34. I feed my girls homemade yogurt! I read it was good for their digestion. I don't know that for sure. But I know that they love it and it gives them some protein! Wish we had access to affordable raw milk.

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  35. We gave raw milk and cream to our animals and they go nuts for it, I usually give the glasses that end up around the kitchen and dining room unfinished, topped off with the fresh stuff from the fridge, I have never seen chickens so excited about food!

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  36. I just came across your blog and love it! Sorry this comment is for a post so long past but we feed raw milk to our chickens daily. We have found that hens lay better when the milk is soured but the broilers do well no matter how old the milk is. Our broilers get a steady diet of raw milk throughout their lives since we feel that it keeps them healthier and helps to keep their guts in good working order.

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