Scoby for chickens

This week I gave my chickens a scoby and I put a short video on instagram of a few of the hens eating it. I got some comments and messages because apparently not many people know that you can feed chickens a scoby! So, let's talk about that. A scoby is the gelatinous cellulose-based biofilm that forms at the top of a batch of kombucha. Kombucha is fermented sweet tea full of probiotics and other healthy stuff.

Chickens eating a scoby for probiotics

It's one of those crunchy-mama, hippie superfoods that's so popular right now. A lot of people make it at home since it's so expensive in single serve bottles.

Every time you make a new batch of kombucha, a new scoby forms. Most of us store these extras all in a big jar called a scoby hotel. Well, when the hotel gets full something needs done with them and since they are loaded with probiotics you hate for them to go to waste. Some people eat them in different ways and they also give them to their dogs and livestock. Nope, I'm not the only one who does this!

I don't actually give them the kombucha though, because it's made with black tea which contains caffeine. Caffeine is bad for chickens. I just give them the mushroom like film that floats to the top. It's a spongy feeling disk about 1/2 inch thick. SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Only the good bacteria of course! A lot of probiotic bacteria is in that culture actually, which is what led me to feed it to my chickens.

Why do chickens need probiotics?


  • Prevent or clear up runny droppings. When a chickens poop is loose it sticks to her bum feathers. Probiotics help with gut health and could be the answer to messy bottoms in adult chickens.
  • Better feed conversion ratio.
  • Helps support egg laying and may increase egg size and shell thickness.
  • Natural resistance to certain diseases and illnesses like e-coli and salmonella. 

Basically there are bad bacteria and good bacteria in your gut at all times. We take probiotics to help the good bacteria outnumber the bad bacteria and keep us healthy. It works the same way for chickens and since a scoby is loaded with probiotics, it just makes sense to feed it to the whole flock.

Related reading: Timber Creek Farmer, Natural Probiotics For Chickens.

chickens eating a scoby.

Last summer my kombucha was really doing well in the warm weather and I had a bunch of scobys. I started looking up what to do with them and saw that I could eat them. Sounds weird, actually doesn't taste bad. It has a slight vinegar taste and a strange texture, but not bad at all. It reminds me of a lychee, but some people say it's like eating raw squid. 

Why would you eat a scoby though? Well, my reason for making kombucha was because it's so filled with probiotics that are great for gut health. The scoby creates the kombucha, so it's full of probiotics too. Plus it happens to be low in calories, high in fiber and protein. A scoby is18 percent protein & 12 percent crude fiber.

I fed it to my chickens for the same reason I ferment their feed in the winter...it's good for them!

How to feed a scoby to the chickens


Cutting up a scoby for chickens.

Carefully remove the scoby you want to use from your jar. Place on a cutting board. Using a pizza cutter, cut the scoby into strips, then cut in the other direction to make bite sized pieces. Normally you wouldn't use metal with a scoby but it's ok to at this point since it's going to be consumed right away.

You can feed it to them straight or mix it in with some on their other treats. I usually just take it out to the coop on a paper plate...but they got the fancy treatment this time since my Instagram followers were watching. lol

Chopped up scoby for chicken food.

The whole flock really likes it and I'm glad that I can use up something that I have extra of! Trust me, if you make kombucha, you'll end up with a lot of these fairly quickly! What odd things do you feed to your chickens?


Want to know more about raising chickens? Click here for my top posts on chicken keeping!

~L

Want information on raising chickens sent right to your email weekly? Click right here to join my list and get new posts sent directly to you the day they're published ... plus, you'll also get 4 free downloads including '25 Ways to save money raising chickens'.

2 comments:

  1. how much scoby can you feed them? I have a gallon jar full of scobys and need to get rid of them before we move. I hate to just throw them away!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know how you feel! We grow those scobys so carefully then suddenly there's too many! I don't see why you can't give it to the chickens every day or every other day. Just watch to make sure nobody gets the runny poops from it. If so then hold back for a few days and give the chickens scoby less frequently when you start back up.

      Good luck with your move!

      Lisa

      Delete