Clabber Definition

by Merissa on May 2, 2011

in Pet Savings, Thrifty Living

Clabber Definition

Clabber Definition

A few months ago we started to have a problem. My rooster started pecking and eating the feathers off the hens. I've known roosters to be obnoxious and pull feathers off hens before...but not eat them!

Then after looking at him a little closer we realized that his beak was purple. I didn't remember it being that color before, and since he's a mostly white bird I didn't think it was normal.

So I started researching and asking questions about what might be going on with him. And I discovered that the purple beak and feather eating is caused by a lack of protein in the chickens diets. Apparently their feathers are full of protein so when it's lacking in their regular diet, they will eat each other's feathers.

But then I had to figure out what to do about this. My chickens were starting to look no so pretty. As I looked, I discovered the clabber definition and I decided to try it.

Remember the old nursery rhym about Little Miss Muffet? Well it turns out that her curds and whey, is very nutricious! Today, it's not called curds and whey, we call it Clabber. Clabber definition is a thick yogurt-like substance that's the by-product of letting unpasturized milk ferment. Sounds kind of yucky doesn't it?

Clabber provides calcium, protein, and good bacteria to the chickens. What you do is take unpasteurized milk, let it sit in an undisturbed place for a few days (not in the refrigerator). Cover it loosely. After a few days it will start to look like the stuff in the picture above. After about another day the whey (the yellow part) will separate the rest of the way from the white part (the clabber). At this point you can feed it to your chickens. And yes, you can feed them both the whey and the clabber, the whey has the most protein and the clabber has the most calcium.

I know this all sounds a little odd, it did to me at first! But I fed it to my chickens and they just loved it! Plus they aren't eating feathers anymore and their beaks are starting to look better. You can also soak the grains that you normally feed your chickens in the clabber mixture and feed them that way also.

Our chickens are free range but we still feed them grains. We have really been able to cut down on the costs of chicken feed by feeding them clabber and letting them be free range. Plus they look better and are healthier because of it!

Plus, not only do we have all the benefits that I listed above, supposedly, feeding your chickens clabber will make their meat soft and more flavorful. And it possibly will make them better layers.

I know that not everyone has access to raw milk, but for those that do, this is a great way to use up extra milk, spend less on chicken feed, and have healthy chickens!

Learn more about Homestead Living and Raising Backyard Chickens!  Here are some other great articles on raising chickens:

Have you ever heard the clabber definition before?  Have you fed your chickens clabber?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Charity May 3, 2011 at 7:33 am

Thanks Merissa for this post. We get our peeps next Tuesday and I’ve been compiling information for the future to use for the chickens in the case of illness or lack of mineras/proteins arise. Where do you get your raw milk? I don’t know of anywhere around here, but maybe I’ll be able to find some places nearby. Thanks for all the intersting posts. I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it, but I do enjoy reading them so very much.

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2 Merissa May 3, 2011 at 7:40 am

Here is a place for raw milk that comes to Rapid every week. http://www.blackhillsmilk.com/.(I can’t remember if you are local!) Also, just ask around! I just get my milk from a lady in a town nearby each week.

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3 Evelyn May 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Clabber smells sweet and good. Miss Muffet was eating it because it’s tastey. If you heat it up a bit (don’t heat it up too much or it will be like rubber), the curds separate more and Voila! cheese. Add a little salt to the cheese and eat it. Feed the whey to your chickens. The more I use unpasturized milk, the more amazed I am with how much you can do with it and how good it is.

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4 Janette September 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Could I ask what grain you feed then? We’re getting our second round of meat birds and our first layers and are trying to get away from soy which isn’t easy or very economical :\ This sounds like a great way to do it!

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5 Merissa September 13, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Janette, We just feed our Purina chicken feed from Runnings or Tractor Supply.

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6 Bobbi November 15, 2011 at 10:19 am

Hi! My husband and I are looking for a way to feed our chickens no soy. This is going to be it. We are new chicken owners.
Would you be able to help me out about amounts. We have 12 chickens at this time and I was wondering how much clabber to feed them and how much a gallon of clabber will last? Your help would be great appreciated. Also I found that slit peas, oats and sunflower seeds would be a good addition to there diet. Also we are going to get some cracked corn to help them stay warm (we live in new england area) and also purchasing Diatomaceous earth.
Any advise would be lovely.
Thank you!! :o)

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7 Merissa November 15, 2011 at 10:40 am

I’m not sure how much clabber we specifically feed our chickens. I don’t have it all the time so we just give it to them when we do. Our chickens are also free range so they eat alot of bugs in the summer to help fill them up. We give our chickens a heat lamp in the winter to keep them warm and to keep them laying also.

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8 Penny September 9, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I have 28 chickens & use 3 gallons of clabbered milk in their laying mash each week. That’s just under 1/2 gallon per day for 28 – so one quart per day for 12 would be about right. My hens are VERY healthy: they have grown well, their feathers are thick & vibrant, & their eggs have perfectly orange yolks with excellent shells! I use non-gmo feed mixed with the clabbered milk & 2 cups of scratch daily along with kitchen scraps (I will increase the scratch in the winter a bit). Adding the peas, oats, sunflower seeds… is great for variety. I use what is available: this week that is a plenty of split tomatoes, overgrown cukes, & even carrots/squash… in a blender so it is more edible. I LOVE MY CHICKIES!!!

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9 Kathy Ammerman January 17, 2012 at 10:39 am

I have a Jersey heifer here in middle Pennsylvania. My chickens and peahens love the clabber, I just dump the whole thing into a bowl ( a quart), and all 10 hens, 3 roosters, and three peahens love it! I am getting 100% lay now from the chickens.
But, does anyone know why my peahens will not sit on their eggs, ever! My geese and chickens sit come Spring, but never the peahens. Our peacock makes sure they are fertile for sure.
Thanks and God Bless America !!!!!!!!!!

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10 Bethany May 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Thanks for the how to on making clabber. I am weaning my meat goats this week and now I can use my does’ “relief” milk to help feed the chickens.

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11 Flip Flop Ranch March 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Any idea how much it saves you to feed clabber?

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12 Tina Gaskins March 13, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Oh, I am so excited about this. Our goats are close to kidding and we will have a LOT of milk soon. I can’t wait to feed the chickens clabber and see if their feed consumption drops and egg production rises.

Thank you for the info!

Tina

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13 Amy March 31, 2014 at 11:37 am

I set some milk out last week to clabber but its just getting clumpy and thick and has not got the “whey” on top. Is this ok or did I do something wrong? How long does it take?

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14 Merissa March 31, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Was it raw milk?

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15 Amy March 31, 2014 at 3:21 pm

yes it’s raw Jersey milk

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16 Merissa March 31, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Hmmm, I’m not sure then. Mine has always separated from the whey, maybe it’s just not been sitting long enough? There could be a difference between cow breeds I suppose.

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