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Feeding Sourdough Discard to Chickens: A Nutritious Treat for Your Flock

As a backyard chicken keeper, finding nutritious and cost-effective treats for your flock is always a priority. If you’re also a sourdough enthusiast, you might have wondered if there’s a way to repurpose your sourdough discard rather than tossing it out. Good news! Feeding sourdough discard to your chickens is not only a great way to reduce waste, but it also provides your birds with a healthy, beneficial treat. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of feeding sourdough discard to chickens and how to incorporate it into their diet safely.

Why Feed Sourdough Discard to Chickens?

  1. Nutrient-Rich Treat: Sourdough discard is packed with beneficial nutrients, including vitamins B1, B6, B12, and niacin, as well as minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc. These nutrients contribute to the overall health and well-being of your chickens.
  2. Probiotics: The fermentation process involved in making sourdough creates beneficial bacteria, such as lactobacillus, which can help support your chickens’ digestive health.
  3. Waste Reduction: Feeding sourdough discard to your chickens is an excellent way to reduce kitchen waste and make the most of your sourdough starter.
  4. Variety in Diet: Adding sourdough discard to your chickens’ diet provides variety and enrichment, keeping them engaged and happy.

How to Feed Sourdough Discard to Chickens

  1. Moderation is Key: While sourdough discard is nutritious, it should be fed in moderation. Too much discard can upset your chickens’ digestive balance. Consider giving them small amounts as an occasional treat.
  2. Mix with Other Foods: To avoid overfeeding discard, mix it with other treats or their regular feed. This ensures they get a balanced diet and prevents them from filling up on just one type of food.
  3. Bake It: If you’re concerned about the acidity of the raw discard, you can bake it into small treats. Mix the discard with whole grains, seeds, or chopped vegetables, then bake at a low temperature until firm. This makes a crunchy, nutritious snack your chickens will love.
  4. Ferment It Further: You can also ferment the discard further by mixing it with water and grains, then letting it sit for a day or two. This enhances the probiotic content and makes it even more beneficial for your chickens.

Benefits of Feeding Sourdough Discard

  1. Improved Digestion: The probiotics in sourdough discard help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria in your chickens, aiding in digestion and nutrient absorption.
  2. Boosted Immunity: The vitamins and minerals in sourdough discard support your chickens’ immune system, helping them fight off diseases and infections.
  3. Enhanced Egg Production: A well-balanced diet, enriched with nutrients from sourdough discard, can contribute to better egg production in terms of both quantity and quality.
  4. Healthier Feathers: The nutrients in sourdough discard, especially the B vitamins and zinc, support healthy feather growth and maintenance, ensuring your chickens look their best.

Precautions and Considerations

  1. Acidity Levels: Raw sourdough discard can be acidic. If you notice any digestive upset in your chickens, consider reducing the amount you feed or baking the discard before offering it.
  2. Mold Prevention: Always ensure the discard is fresh and free from mold before feeding it to your chickens. Moldy food can be harmful to their health.
  3. Diet Balance: Remember that sourdough discard should be a supplement to your chickens’ regular diet, not a replacement. Ensure they have access to a balanced feed that meets all their nutritional needs.


Feeding sourdough discard to your chickens is a win-win situation. It reduces kitchen waste and provides your flock with a nutritious, probiotic-rich treat that can enhance their health and well-being. By incorporating sourdough discard into their diet in moderation and with proper precautions, you can enjoy the benefits of both happy chickens and a sustainable kitchen practice.

Happy baking and happy clucking!