Animal Feed Bokashi - [Part One]

This week in the Flog:

  • Turning Animal Food Into Superfood!
  • Theory This Week, Practice Next Week

Another bokashi Flog! Why another bokashi flog? Because it’s like the composting version of our recipes. It’s all about fermentation, which is what the recipes are based on. And it’s composting! I love composting, as you might have noticed by the composting series earlier this year. And like the recipes, there are so many ways to go about it, and ways to use it. This article is one example of that.

I have roaches out the balcony to feed Opi, our bearded dragon, and to produce cockroach compost from kitchen scraps. The compost is amazing, the plants love it! And the roaches take care of the table scraps that might otherwise go in the trash.

But the roaches sometimes eat faster than we can provide kitchen scraps. I need to make a feed for them, and I’d rather it wasn’t just pure dog food. That’s expensive compared to some other things around, and I can make a more complete food for them if I mix it up a bit. So I’m going to make some bokashi from things I have around, that will be an excellent animal feed for them.

If you read our article on bokashi, you know that you can use the technique to enhance your animal feed before feeding to your pets or livestock. By fermenting animal food 1-3 days before feeding, you can make it more bio available, and increase the health, growth rate, and feeding efficiency of the animals fed. I’m going to do this with the roach food to help them stay healthy and grow quickly so I can feed them Opi!

Since I’m not going through a lot food for them, I can afford to ferment it for much longer than 3 days. Ideally you will ferment animal feed bokashi for at least 6 weeks. We just use the 3 day approach for high volume feeds like pig and chicken. Three days is enough to get fermentation going and get the breakdown process going, while 6 weeks is enough time to really build up the amino and fatty acids and other great byproducts of the fermentation process. It also yields a stable product, so this method is ideal for when you need to store the food after fermenting (low volume feeds).

Let’s see the ingredients. These are some things I either made or purchased cheaply. The dry ingredients are as follows:

  • 4.5kg dog food
  • 2kg copra cake (coconut meal, the dried meat after coco oil is pressed out)
  • 2kg coffee grinds
  • 1kg oats
  • .5kg CRH
  • 2kg brown sugar

You can see I added sugar. This is to help the microbes get started with fermentation. You could actually do this recipe without sugar, the microbes will take their energy from the other things we added, but the sugar is an ideal simple food source for them to get started with. It will help bolster the microbial populations early on, driving a successful ferment. Now, these ingredients are quite dry (<10% moisture) and need to be hydrated. Microbes need a moist environment in which to thrive, and by soaking with a microbe rich liquid, we get them saturated throughout the substrate.

So let’s look at the wet ingredients that will go into this batch:

I added the fish hydrolysate since it is an excellent source of both microbes and amino acids, fatty acids, and enzymes from the fish that was fermented. The anaerobic compost tea is awesome, it is like supercharged BIM, full of extra goodies that will be awesome for the animal feed. The rice wash is another carb source and another fairly simple nutrient source for the microbes to feed on.

I had a bit more liquid than I needed but that’s ok, I’ll use the rest on the garden (diluted of course). For the animal feed bokashi, I’m going to add enough to make the substrate moist, quite moist but not soggy wet.

Now I have all my ingredients together, it’s time to start the bokashi process! This is really interesting, and you’re going to love the results. Next week I’ll share the method and results of this animal feed bokashi. It’s going to be fun!

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