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Fermented Pig Feed

 
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
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I've been doing a lot of research lately into the benefits of fermenting grains and vegetable matter for pig food. 

In a few studies I've seen, a marked (10%+) increase of weight gain was observed in fermented vs non-fermented feeds.

I've been fermenting my sows food lately, and they absolutely love it.  I basically cover the grown corn, grown wheat, grown soy, and anything else in water.  I leave it closed for a few days, and then start feeding it to them.

Lots of old timers know this already, and it used to be common to do this with grains.

It seems like fermenting predigests the food and makes more of the nutrients available...

Anyone have any experience with this?  Any tips?
 
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
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for yrs i fermented whole oats for my fowl.  covered them with water with vit/mineral powders in the water and let them ferment.  a well respected chicken man wrote that studies were done that showed the fermented oats did no better than dry whole oats for the fowl.  the fermentation process did cause  much looser droppings. 

i eventually quit fermenting them.  but i still soaked them for a day or two before feeding.  the fowl ate them much better soaked like this.  and they are much easier to digest.  the soaking or fermenting softens up the kernals and hulls of grains.  its claimed to that fermenting will up the protein value of grains. 

if you do ferment, the smell is attrocious.  and will stay on you,  so its best to use gloves.  but the more they are fermented, the more the fowl will love them.  almost like candy to them

i personally have fermented oats and corn.  as mentioned i just went to soaking them.  now i do neither.  but i truly believe there is great benefits to soaking whole grains.  i cant say i noticed weight gain, but i wasnt really looking for that either. so its possible i say.  perhaps its cause they more readily eat it.
 
pollinator
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Pig slop is famous.
I would feel safer fermenting ground grains if I used a starter culture, which for me would be sour skim milk or whey.

I don't think it smells bad, if it smells really really bad perhaps it could be poisonous to the animals. I soak oats and barley for my goats, it smells kind of like apple cider to me. Starts out smelling sweet then later sour.

I read that cows can eat whole soaked grains, seemed to me like a lot of the barley came out the other end whole. Not sure whether or not she was chewing enough of them to make it worth feeding it to her.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
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yeah, it doesn't smell bad to me, smells like corn beer....

There's lots of info online about the bacteria and yeast that are good for pigs... maybe different for chickens.
 
Posts: 164
Location: North Carolina
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I remember my Grandmother soaking corn in a big barrel to feed the pigs.  She just said they liked it better that way.  They were free range too, and I don't think they got any bought feed other than the corn.  She also gave them table scraps, and veggie trimmings.  They were always healthy looking.  Some of my best childhood memories are of the entire family getting together for hog processing time and each family took meat home. 
 
T. Pierce
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
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when fermenting oats.  its a good idea to add apple cider vinegar.  it helps with smell but ACV is also good for digestion.  a good digestion means plenty of food intake, which means a more rapid weight gain. (in theory, of course)

i use ACV in my rabbits auto. watering systems.  not all the time. but quite regularly.  i cant honestly say ive kept written record of it helping the fryers to grow more rapidly, but ACV is known to help digestion, so i figured it can only help.

also with my fowl.  ACV goes into their water quite often too.  good digestion=happy fowl,  happy fowl=good production.

id assume the same would work for pork too.
 
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I've always used the unpasteurized ACV in the livestock water but this year I too am starting with fermented grains for the chickens, particularly the new Cornish Cross chicks I'll be getting tomorrow. They will get buttermilk and starter for a few days and then fermented starter from then on until they graduate to fermented whole grains.

I do have a question...all the studies I've read about fermented grains for livestock indicate that fermentation starts in 8-16 hours at 72 (F) and was wondering if you all found this to be so or did it take longer?
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
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yeah, for me, if the temp is around 80F, fermentation starts within 12 hours. Usually goes for a few days.

I fermented a whole mess of apples last fall for the pigs, and eventually, the fermented apple juice turned to ACV. The pigs loved it.
 
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Hi there, I'm new here and it was finding this thread that led me to this site. I am researching getting a few pigs for market and was interested in finding out if they did well on fermented feed like my Cornish X chickens did. I raised my first batch of meat birds this summer and fermented their chick starter and grower/finisher with apple cider vinegar. They did great on it! Their processed weights were 4.5 to 7.5 lbs dressed, yet they were very much able to run and play and just be chickens right up until their last day. They have a very roomy coop, perches and outdoor run as well which certainly helped. I am doing a batch this fall as well and will be adding some fermented barley to their rations to try and drop their weights a little. I only lost one out of the whole group during a heat wave and am hoping to lose none at all this time around.

Anyway, I was hoping to do something similar with the piglets so am eager to hear what experiences everyone has to share!

Happy to be here,

Gen
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
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my pigs do really well on it, and of course, people have been feeding silage (fermented grasses and forage) to livestock for a long time. For me, fermenting was a way to preserve some of the foods we had in bulk, like windfall apples.
 
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T. Pierce wrote:when fermenting oats.  its a good idea to add apple cider vinegar.  it helps with smell but ACV is also good for digestion.  a good digestion means plenty of food intake, which means a more rapid weight gain. (in theory, of course)

i use ACV in my rabbits auto. watering systems.  not all the time. but quite regularly.  i cant honestly say ive kept written record of it helping the fryers to grow more rapidly, but ACV is known to help digestion, so i figured it can only help.

also with my fowl.  ACV goes into their water quite often too.  good digestion=happy fowl,  happy fowl=good production.

id assume the same would work for pork too.



hello...my i ask how to ferment the food for the pig?what is the procedure how ferment..hope anyone can help please thanks
 
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Location: At home with my soulmate <3 Living in a hot dry place.
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I am certainly not an expert, but I can tell you what I'm currently doing for our three little pigs. I wanted them off feed corn, since it's GMO, and so we have transitioned to wheat (we currently have a free supply, but we're hoping to get to barley, oats, maybe peas eventually).

My husband is the sprout/fodder man, and I do the barn chores. The wheat is getting soaked for 12 hours, and then rinsed and drained every 12 hours. Currently at 2 days some goes into a tray to grow into fodder for the chickens, but the little sprouts mostly go to the pigs. I have a small heater in a non-working refrigerator in the barn. I have two buckets: the first holds the goat milk and the second holds the pig food.

First thing when I go to the barn I dump the bucket to the pigs, otherwise they just get too noisy and wild Then I go back and fill the bucket for the next feeding. I put about 3 qts of cultured goat milk from the milk bucket into the pig bucket and then add a couple large scoops of the sprouted wheat, and a small handful of minerals. The bucket goes back into the fridge until the next feeding. Then I do the milking. Any milk that I'm not bringing back to the house for our use goes into the milk bucket to culture.

Does that make sense? I tend to write a lot of details - sorry!

The reasons for doing it this way are that the milk is supposedly easier to digest once it's been fermented/cultured (like yogurt), and the grains should also be easier to digest and more nutritious once they're sprouted. I'd like to have the grains do a full week of growth to be true fodder, but we currently don't have the right setup. If anyone has suggestions, let me hear 'em!
 
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dont grow the grains to the grass stage as pigs dont have a rumen and wont benefit too much from it, 3 days or so should be perfect.
 
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Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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That's a bit of a myth. Our pigs thrive on pasture which is largely but not entirely grass. Contrary to what you say, pigs do eat and benefit from grass. I feed about 240,000 pounds (120 tons) of hay every winter to our pigs and that is almost all grasses. That is the bulk of what they eat.
 
stephen sinnott
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oh they get something from grass sure but they dont get what a rumenant gets from it, stick to the 3 day stage for ease of prep a few more days wont hurt either if there not on pasture.
 
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Walter Jeffries wrote:I feed about 240,000 pounds (120 tons) of hay every winter to our pigs and that is almost all grasses. That is the bulk of what they eat.



Hello, Walter. How many animals/pigs for how many months/weeks does this 120 tons of hay provide food for?
 
pollinator
Posts: 70
Location: Alekovo near Svishtov, Bulgaria
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dog duck chicken cooking pig sheep
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Perhaps this comment will get me accused of "stirring pig s&*t" but I will take a chance....

Do pigs have their grain fermented for them in the wild or in a free ranging scenario?

I am guessing that the OP and many of the other respondents are raising large numbers of pigs for the commercial market.
 
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Unless raised in confinement it's really impossible to get any kind of exact measure of ration efficiency, so if someone is claiming they can measure percentage changes in FCR I would say that person doesn't know what they are talking about.

You can, however, look around the feeder and eyeball how much food is wasted.  WETTING the feed certainly seems to save a lot of waste for us.  Does some of the wet feed ferment?  Probably.  Are there benefits from fermented grain?  Theoretically.  

Let's posit, theoretically, a gradient of feed efficiency.  Theoretically, fermented feed is more bioavailable.  Empirically, rotten feed is less nutritious.  Empirically, wet unfermented feed gets wasted less.  

If your grain is free, maybe you try to achieve a perfect stage of fermentation.  If you're trying to save money, maybe you just wet it for a day or so, hope that some of it ferments, and feed it before it grows rot.
 
Nick Truscott
pollinator
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Location: Alekovo near Svishtov, Bulgaria
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Walter Jeffries wrote:That's a bit of a myth. Our pigs thrive on pasture which is largely but not entirely grass. Contrary to what you say, pigs do eat and benefit from grass. I feed about 240,000 pounds (120 tons) of hay every winter to our pigs and that is almost all grasses. That is the bulk of what they eat.



Although on a vastly smaller scale (min herd 3, maximum herd 32 pigs plus associated litters of piglets) we followed and tried to adapt to Walter's grazing, free ranging and observational advice - to great effect.  Over the past four years our pigs have been trustworthy "grazers" sharing common land and pasture land which was 80% grasses - with sheep, chickens, ducks, even our horse on occasion.  By trustworthy I mean they didn't do overwhelming digging provided they are moved regularly to fresh pasture. We also made sure that they got a share of tree and hedge cuttings in spring and when fruiting as we do for our sheep.  But put them in a paddock or fenced or electrified area where they are left to graze to the roots they then turn into ploughshares for us - a trait we now use throughout every year that saves us money on not getting a ploughman in.

For our needs (not judging anybody elses) we love our pork very lean, very fit so we expect them to work hard.  And as a "lazy" smallholder, the effort, temperature control, etc. to ferment in quantity for our small number of pigs doesn't seem worth it.

At a guess, last year (2019) when we just had our 3 year old boar and two 2 year old breeding sows (and 4 litters, 48 piglets) our pig food regime consisted of:
25% grass (fresh grass and alfalfa on rotation plus baled alfalfa, baled grass and herb hay after harvesting)
20% non-GMO maize (we feed the whole plant) and unmilled wheat, barley, oats
25% self feeding legumes, roots and brassicas (digging and swallowing) turnip, swede, fodder beet (mangels), sugar beet, stubble turnip, field kale, giant radish, field cabbage, field beans and peas, jerusalem artichokes.
10% processed (rough home milled) grains, especially for farrowing sows and their litters, mixing with our homegrown wormer mix, training, lazy days (oats, bran, wheat, maize, sunflower, barley)
4% dairy: fresh unpasteurized cow/goat milk left to sour, waste cheese and yoghourt products from village supermarket
8% fruit & nuts (what we grow, plus what we can forage and what we are given by neighbours): apples, pears, peaches, apricots, berries, hazelnuts, watermelons (we were gifted 3 tonnes last year which last 3 months - although shared with the sheep and birds!!), pumpkin, squash, cucumber, courgettes, tomatoes
5% fresh animal protein: usually 12 eggs (duck or chicken) every day - the only cooking we do for them is to boil their eggs!, slaughter waste, non-illness culls (e.g. a share of unwanted male birds, raised to table weight or until they get too troublesome in the flock), roadkill quite often
3% the remainder is mainly stuff we forage from hedgerows, or we scavenge if asked to clear a neighbours plot (hops, acacia and pea tree pods, walnuts, etc.) or goodies that come our way like out of date bread, fruit and vegetables from two supermarkets in our village, dairy whey very occasionally, out of date beer.

I do understand the researched benefits of feeding fermented stuff - I just cant bring myself to make the extra effort when we have such a wonderful variety of feed available, very cheaply.
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