How do you strain fermented feed?

rararanch

In the Brooder
Feb 21, 2017
25
2
49
Hi All. I'm looking for ideas on efficient, clean methods on how to strain the liquid from your fermented feed. I've used the two bucket system where I drilled holes in the bucket containing the feed & placing it inside another bucket, and I've simply used a strainer, but it takes too long still. I find the liquid appears to migrate to the top instead of straining down (which it does eventually). I use pellets, so these may be different to straining grains. TIA
 
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Bluechick2u

Songster
Jan 12, 2016
395
314
177
Prineville, OR
From reading your post, I'm wondering if I'm fermenting mine wrong, mine is in pellet form too but I don't strain out the liquid, I feed it in a batter consistency. Is it necessary to drain it?
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
20,093
25,518
982
Colorado Rockies
I used the two bucket system with holes drilled into the inner bucket when I began fermenting. I was getting FF that was too dry, all the liquid having drained away.

Then I simply began to mix my FF in an equal parts water and feed ratio that renders the final product the consistency of biscuit dough - stiff yet still moist. The chickens seems to enjoy it more at this thicker consistency and it eliminates extra handling.

To get the best FF, I find stirring two or three times during the day improves it overall.
 

Noreaster Egger

Songster
May 22, 2016
240
148
116
603
I use 1/2 gallon canning jars with air locks. I usually drain off as much liquid as I can and then add a small amount of dry feed and mix it in. The additional dry feed absorbs the remaining liquid to give it a thick consistency. I've also served them in those cheap plastic coffee filters before which let's the liquid drip out slowly in all directions. Some of my birds actually like to drink the liquid so I'll occasionally drain it into a small waterer.
 

rararanch

In the Brooder
Feb 21, 2017
25
2
49
I should add that I'm using 7 cups of feed, so it's not a small amount
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
26,888
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
In the early days of fermenting, the recommendation was to do the double bucket. The process has become greatly simplified. It's not at all necessary to cover the feed with water, and then strain that water away. simply mix the feed in your intact bucket. Feed + water + time. That's the only ingredients required. I like to mix my ferment to the consistency of a loose drop biscuit dough. I do multiple buckets. When it's time to feed the flock, I simply grab a bucket of FF, and head out to the coops. I hold back a bit of feed in the bottom of the bucket to "seed" the next batch. But, even that's not necessary. There will be enough culture left in the ferment clinging to the side of the bucket to inoculate the next batch.

You can click on the link to Tikki Jane's article re FF at the bottom of my signature. She explains the how and why of FF in great detail.
 

cholland

Songster
Jan 17, 2017
282
460
142
California
I use a 3 gallon bucket and add equal parts pellets and water. Take a wide mouth mason jar, scoop it full of pellets dump it in the bucket, then fill it with water and dump it in the bucket, and stir.
Turns out like thick oatmeal.
Treat it like a sourdough starter.
 

rararanch

In the Brooder
Feb 21, 2017
25
2
49
I hold back a bit of feed in the bottom of the bucket to "seed" the next batch. But, even that's not necessary. There will be enough culture left in the ferment clinging to the side of the bucket to inoculate the next batch.

Thanks Lazy gardener. Once you have inoculated the next batch, how long are you leaving your batch until you feed it out again? Are you waiting 3-4 days again or is the fermentation time decreased because you have inoculated the batch with the previous batch?
 

FlyWheel

Crowing
Mar 19, 2016
2,119
2,398
302
35.111165 -81.226586
My Coop
I ferment commercial feed, making a single day's ration at a time in two casks which I rotate (48 hours fermenting time per batch). And I found if you use a commercial feed it doesn't matter if you're using pellets, crumbles or mash - at least as far as consistency is concerned as all will end up mush, and that mush cannot be strained. I guess you might be able to rig something up like an espresso machine but I don't bother.

As one poster noted the extra water tends to migrate towards the top (actually it's the feed that settles to the bottom). I would carefully pour this off into a container which I mix into the next batch. I also start with hot (NOT scalding!) water to give the SCOBY a head start.

However I found using the pour-off method still results in a fermented mash the consistency of pancake batter which IMO was too thin. So I gradually reduced the amount of water until now the resultant mash is the consistency of thick oatmeal, just barely runny enough to pour out of the cask into the feeding trough.
 
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lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
26,888
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
I hold back a bit of feed in the bottom of the bucket to "seed" the next batch. But, even that's not necessary. There will be enough culture left in the ferment clinging to the side of the bucket to inoculate the next batch.

Thanks Lazy gardener. Once you have inoculated the next batch, how long are you leaving your batch until you feed it out again? Are you waiting 3-4 days again or is the fermentation time decreased because you have inoculated the batch with the previous batch?
I have a difficult time keeping ahead of the need b/c my summer flock is larger. Ideally, I would like to see the ferment processing for 48 hours. But, currently, I'm happy with 12 - 24 hours. When my flock is culled down in the fall, and the weather cools a bit, I'll aim for 48 - 72 hours. It's also easy to tweak the ferment time by using warm water. I find that it also ferments faster when I add a bit of scratch grain. I think the grains bring an influx of yummy microbes to add to the mix.
 

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