Fermenting/Soaking Grains

At the suggestion of my homeopath, I started feeding soaked/fermented grain to Gwen to help her digestive process. Her mixture includes oats, barley, sunflower seeds, cracked corn, alfalfa cubes and rice bran. The horses are eating the same mixture plus beet pulp, but no corn, also soaked.

I had been soaking the horses’ beet pulp overnight and adding in the grain mixture prior to feeding it. I now add their grains with the beet pulp and soak the whole mixture for a good 24 hours.  I can only do this while it is cool; when it warms up, I’ll soak it less time.

Gwen only gets the grain when I’m milking her. Otherwise, she has constant access to Bermuda grass hay and we give her several flakes of alfalfa hay twice a day.

I add about two gallons of hot water to the horses’ food and another three or four gallons (sometimes more) to Gwen’s. Sometimes Gwen’s grain is still very wet when I feed her so she does a lot of slurping while eating, but she seems to enjoy her food and finishes it up. It’s very heavy to haul out in the morning and usually Wally does the hauling (see, he’s very useful!).

Since I’ve taken the calf off Gwen, her milk production has increased quite a bit. Of course some of this is due to the calf not taking any of her milk, but there were mornings when I had the calf off her at night that she only produced a gallon of milk. Now, in the morning she gives close to two gallons and another gallon and a half at night. Since she’s getting so much water in her food, she doesn’t drink anywhere near as much water. The more moisture you can get into a dairy animal, the more milk they produce. I think once I start milking the goats, I may soak their grains as well.

As I mentioned above, I pour hot water over the grains to aid in the soaking/fermenting process. We soak the grains in the mud room where the temperature is around 60 degrees. Not quite warm enough for full fermentation, but certainly warmer than it is outside.

We are finishing up the last few bags of sweet cow mixture that we were getting from the local mill and once that’s gone we’ll feed just the above mixture. I started soaking the sweet cow mixture yesterday and she seems to enjoy that grain better soaked. This grain is very powdery so when it’s poured out, it looks like wet cement. She wastes less food when it’s wet.

The horses are both looking really good. Sudi’s coat, mane and tail were pretty rough looking when I first got him, but they are starting to shine now and the patches of his mane that he had rubbed off are growing back. He’s going to be really pretty when he sheds out in the spring.

Until later …