Learn all about how to make and feed clabbered milk to your chickens. A frugal way to provide your chickens with extra protein, calcium, and good bacteria they need.
Feeding Chickens Clabbered Milk
A few months ago we started to have a problem. My rooster started pecking and eating the feathers off of my hens. I’ve known roosters to be obnoxious and pull feathers off hens before…but not eat them! 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 a chicken’s diets. Apparently their feathers are full of protein so when it’s lacking in their regular diet, they will eat each other’s feathers. Of course, then I had to figure out what to do about this. My chickens were starting to look not so pretty. As I researched, I discovered clabbered milk was a solution and I decided to try it.
Remember the old nursery rhyme about Little Miss Muffet? Well, it turns out that her curds and whey is very nutritious! Today, it’s not called curds and whey, we call it Clabber. Clabbered milk, by definition is a thick yogurt-like substance that is the bi-product of letting unpasteurized milk ferment.
Many years ago, in Little House times, women fermented milk to make clabber to add to their baked goods to make them rise. In modern days, we use baking powder or buttermilk. In fact, you may recognize a brand of baking powder named after this process. (You can read more about Ancestral Fermentation using Clabbered Milk at Cultures for Health.)
Sounds kind of yucky doesn’t it? We won’t be using any clabbered milk in any baked goods, but as it turns out, clabbered milk is very good for your chickens! Clabber provides calcium, protein, and good bacteria to the chickens.
How to Feed Your Chickens Clabbered Milk
To make clabbered milk, you take unpasteurized milk and 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 in a pan. 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.
—Making yogurt? You can strain the whey off of your Homemade Yogurt to feed your chickens too! You’ll have thicker, greek style yogurt, and your chickens will have lots of yummy protein!
I know this all sounds a little odd, it did to me at first too! But I fed it to my chickens and they just loved it! They’ve also stopped eating feathers and their beaks are starting to look better.
You can soak the grains that you normally feed your chickens in the clabber mixture and feed it to 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 our chickens clabbered milk and letting them be free-range. Plus, they look better and are healthier because of it! 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. Because it’s high in protein and calcium, it should also make them better layers too.
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!
Looking for a place to find raw milk near you? You can check out this database to find real milk near you. >> https://www.realmilk.com/
Are your raising chickens on your homestead? Here are some other great articles you will want to check out next:
- How to Increase Egg Production
- Setting Hens
- Chicken Feed Prices
- How to Keep Your Chickens Full and Healthy
- Raising Baby Chickens; A Beginners Guide to Baby Chicken Care
- DIY Chicken Feeder
Have you ever heard of clabbered milk before? Have you fed your chicken’s clabber?
This post on Feeding Clabbered Milk to Chickens was originally published on Little House Living in May 2011. It has been updated as of May 2020.