If you have backyard chickens and a sourdough starter – you’re in luck! You can feed your chickens your sourdough starter discard so that it’s not wasted. It’s full of enzymes, vitamins and good gut bacteria (probiotics) that will help your chickens thrive.
Why Feed Sourdough To Your Chickens?
Sourdough starter (and discard) is generally just flour and water, right? So what makes it so good for your chickens. Well the same things that make it a healthy choice for us, also benefit your backyard chickens. The lacto fermentation that occurs in your sourdough starter means it’s full of probiotics which boost gut health. This in turn assists your chickens digestion and boosts their immune system. Increasing the nutritional content of your chicken’s feed will also help with egg production. Not to mention feeding them sourdough starter discard means that you’re not producing any waste – and that’s a win!
How to Feed Sourdough Starter Discard to Chickens
You can feed unused sourdough starter (sourdough discard) to your chickens. It’s a great way to introduce fermented foods into their diet and a better alternative than yoghurt (chickens aren’t good with dairy).
In this blog I will share 3 ways that you can feed sourdough starter to your chickens:
- Sourdough Starter Chicken Platter
- Sourdough Starter Grain Soak
- Sourdough Starter Seed Balls
Sourdough Starter Chicken Platter
The best way to do it is to spread your discard on a flat plate, around 1cm thick. Then you can sprinkle some of their feed over the top. This makes it easier for your chickens to eat. It’s very sticky so the chickens will use the seed/grain to eat the sourdough discard.
You could also sprinkle with rolled oats, seeds, wheat berries, soaked & sprouted seeds and chopped fruit & veggies. You can see how I’ve done this in the photo below (I’ve used rolled oats, soaked mung beans and cucumber pieces). I just use what I have on hand that day.
Always make sure your chickens have access to plenty of fresh water when feeding them sourdough starter discard.
Sourdough Starter Grain Soak
For this, you take your sourdough discard – I usually do around 100g. Water this down (so add around 200mls of water) and then add to your chicken feed. You can feed it to them as is – especially if you use pellets they will soak up the starter water straight away. If you use whole grains, you could soak them overnight so they absorb all the nutrient rich goodness.
If you’re looking for other ways to use your sourdough discard, you’ll find a tonne of discard ideas here.
Sourdough Starter Seed Balls: The Ultimate Sourdough Treat For Chickens
If you really want to treat your chickens on a hot day try this cool sourdough starter treat.
Mix 125g of sourdough discard with 75g of mixed seeds (I used wheat, mustard and black sesame) until it can be rolled into balls. Roll the balls in extra seeds and then freeze. Once frozen, they can be stored in a ziploc bag until needed. Then just toss a few in your chicken yard for a fun frozen treat.
You could use things like sunflower seeds, flax seeds, rolled oats – even nasturtium seeds if you have an excess. I even add rose petals, sunflower petals or geraniums if I have them. Just another way to increase the nutrition for my chickens. And this of course leads to healthier chickens and better egg production. And that is super important because I have 3 kids who love eggs for breakfast!
If you live in a cold climate, you could just feed these to your chickens at room temp. They do last a long time in the freezer so you could just defrost as you need them or make fresh.
Chickens are fantastic composters and will also make short work of your leftover crusts and uneaten loaves of sourdough.
My chickens love sourdough starter so much that sometimes I will make them some just because I love them – if you want to scale your starter to make more discard – this info will help.
Looking for the easiest sourdough discard bread recipe on the internet? You’ll find it here.