My first attempt at fermented feed was successful but became a bit stinky. I filled a medium-sized trash can with dry feed, ACV, some yeast, and dechlorinated water. I scooped out what I needed using a sieve on a handle and stirred in some more dry feed. It worked well, but the smell grew more and more sour day by day. The chickens didn’t seem to mind – they all loved the stuff – but it made my mud room smell. And if I can smell it, it must be strong. I have a terrible sense of smell.
Anyhow, for version 2, I decided to use a smaller version of the original idea on the BYC thread I posted before. I would use two buckets – one with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage set into another bucket. I drilled a bunch of holes in the bottom of a dollar-store trash can (check the bottom; I bought some that just broke when I tried to drill because the plastic was to thin) and set it into another of the same size. I put in a few scoops of feed, filled with dechlorinated water until covered, added a glug of ACV, and gave it a stir. I covered the bin to protect it from flies (and my dog, who also loves FF) with a thin washrag and a rubber band.
I had drilled a screw part of the way into the old wooden bookshelf that sits beside the FF bins. The next morning, I simply lifted the top bucket (with the holes) and hooked the lip onto the screw. The liquid slowly drained from the feed while I went about my business. When it was through, I dumped my food into my new dollar-store troughs (washpans) and put the sieve-bucket back into the bottom bucket. The liquid rose through the holes, and I dumped in tomorrow’s food. I added a bit more dechlorinated water, gave it a good stir, and covered it up again.
Today’s mash smelled sweet and good. I like the all-in/all-out system, and I will see how fast the water and small bits that fell through the bottom become sour. I am thinking I might reuse the liquid for a week and then start fresh with ACV and new water. We’ll see. It’s just version 2. 🙂
Update: A reader correctly pointed out in the comments section on this post that the “sour” smell is desirable – this is from the lactic acid fermentation. A sweet smell is indicative of an earlier stage in the process. You do want a sour smell like sourdough. You do not want it to smell rotten. In my case, the smell was beyond “sour” and was too strong for my mudroom which is the entry to my home. 🙂
Fermented Feed Posts:
#1: Fermented Feed