In our fermentation of our own human food we learned about different types of bacterial cultures to produce lactic acid bacteria fermentation like those in kimchi, milk kefir, kombucha, sour kraut, sour dough and more. We coupled this knowledge with what we learned about Korean (or natural) farming practices for their fields and gardens using a lactic acid bacteria produced from a rice starter culture. What we had read about the use of lactic acid bacteria in Korean farming was that it was good to give to animals in their water and to spray on their bedding to keep them healthier, so we thought what an excellent starter for our fermented animal feed. See the link below in step #1 to make your own lactic acid bacteria from rice.
It is very easy to set up a routine of fermentation on whatever feed you are presently using for your animals. We are using barley in this demonstration. At the bottom of this video you can tell how much our chickens like it. We are doing this in the dead of winter in Montana, when our free-range chickens don't have access to the usual abundance of flora and fauna. Their egg output became nearly non-existent before fermentation producing about 1 every other day after. After presenting the chickens with fermented grain they have been producing 5-6 eggs per day in middle of January! Their egg yoke's color became the bright sunrise yellowish orange that we typically see in the summer. So, not only is the nutritional value of the grain helping with the animals health and happiness, it is carrying through to our product from the hens - farm fresh eggs!
Step #1 - Learn about lactic acid bacteria or (LAB) and how to make it with rice. Click here is a simple recipe for making your own LAB.
Step #2 - Fill a 5 gallon bucket about half full with grain then add enough water to completely cover the grain plus about 3" over the top to account for swelling of the grain. Add 3 tablespoon of LAB and stir. Note: We prepare enough for 4-5 days, we feed them 4-5 cups/day. We want them to have just enough to clean up every day so there is non left over because it will freeze. We have 20 chickens so you can adjust this to what you need.
Step #3 - Let sit for 24 hours then it is ready to feed out to the animals. We scoop out what is needed for that days feeding and leave the rest in the bucket. It will continue to ferment, but will not over ferment before it is all fed out. Let this mixture sit in a warm part of the house. 72 degrees is ideal for fermentation. We have a spot near our radiator that works well. Also, keep the ferment out of the direct sunlight. You can tell your solution is fermenting because you will see bubbles rise. Repeat through the winter until the chickens can begin foraging again in the spring.