Our new flock of twenty-five laying chicks (including an all white Leghorn rooster) arrived last week. This coming spring we are striving for higher egg production so we ordered mostly Black Star females with a few Red Stars, Leghorns and Buff Orphingtons added to the mix. We have been looking into raising the chicks on a soured milk diet which means feeding the chicks raw milk that has clabbered or soured, meaning fermented. Clabbering raw milk is easy. We just fill a quart jar or two with some of the fresh milk from the morning's milking (either goat or cow will do), screw on a lid and leave on the window sill for a couple of days until the curds separate from the whey.
Raw milk is loaded with enzymes and probiotics. When raw milk starts to sour, it simply means that beneficial bacteria called probiotics have started to use up all the lactose or milk sugar which casues the milk to no longer taste sweet. Soured raw milk has a higher level of probiotics which have initiated the fermentation or clabbering of the milk. (By the way, this only works with raw milk. When store bought pasteurized milk goes bad it becomes a huge food borne illness risk to consume it and should be thrown out.)
All these probiotics can be used as a prophylactic against disease and illness, boosting the immune system and growing stronger, healthier birds. We are looking forward to an abundance of eggs in the spring.
p.s. It is still an amazing thing to think of how much the family cow adds to the homestead, everyone on the farm benefits from the by products!