Animal Feed Bokashi - [Part Two]

This week in the Flog:

  • Following up last week’s flog on supercharging animal feed
  • This week we get to see the bokashi in action!

Last week I started the process of bokashi composting animal feed for my roaches. Yeah, roaches. They make awesome cockroach compost and are a great food for my Bearded Dragon, Opi. But I’m also going to use this animal feed bokashi for our dog, Floflo. She will be the real test, if she likes it, it was a success. Dogs aren’t that picky but let’s see, I hope she likes it! This week is all about the process, and the results, including lots of pictures. Let’s get started!

Here are all the ingredients that will go into this animal feed:

Animal Feed Bokashi - ingredients

All these ingredients will go into this bokashi. It will be a nice healthy treat for the dog and the roaches.

The next step is mixing up the liquid portion of the bokashi. I’m mixing in the sugar with the water at this point so it will dissolve and be immediately available to the lacto, throughout the substrate. So the liquid portion of the bokashi will be made of the following:

  • .5L fish hydrolysate
  • .5L Anaerobic Compost Tea (AnCT)
  • 1L rice wash
  • 6L water
  • 2kg brown sugar

This all goes into a plastic 5 gallon bucket where it gets thoroughly mixed until all the sugar is dissolved. The AnCT goes in last, after the mixing is complete and the sugar is dissolved. This is just to minimize it’s exposure to oxygen. Here go the wet ingredients into the bucket:

Bokashi - liquid ingredients

The liquid gets mixed around but not too much. Don’t want too much aeration before sealing it up.

And now for the mixing. All the dry ingredients go into a plastic bag. 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 Carbonized Rice Hulls (CRH)

The liquid I just mixed up gets added and the whole thing gets mixed up. The dog food is a bit slow to absorb the liquid, but it does soak it up well eventually. Here is the batch of animal feed bokashi all mixed up. You can see the dog food isn’t very well broken up yet.

Animal Feed Bokashi - Mixed

Now the liquid and the solids are all mixed up. The substrate has been thoroughly inoculated with microbes.

Once the bokashi is all mixed up, it goes into the fermentation bucket. This is another 5 gallon black plastic bucket. No need for drain holes here, there isn’t enough moisture for it to need drainage. The bokashi goes in a bit at a time, and get’s pounded down each time, to eliminate all the airspace. Remember when making coffee grounds bokashi bran, we did the same thing. This helps make sure fermentation starts immediately, and reduces the chance of bad microbes developing. Here is the bucket partially full of bokashi, pressed down.

Bokashi - packing  it down

The animal feed bokashi gets packed down as it’s added to the fermentation bucket. We want to get all the air out .

I’m using another 5 gallon bucket, full of water, to help compress it at this point. We really want to make it as solid (read: anaerobic) as possible.

Animal feed bokashi - compression

I’m using a bucket of water to help compress the animal feed bokashi. We want to compact it as much as possible.

There is some airspace on top of the bokashi still, imagine with all those ingredients we didn’t even fill up a 5 gallon bucket! This is some nicely compacted stuff. Don’t worry the microbes have tons of space to move around in. But I don’t like the extra airspace on top. I’m putting a black plastic back on top of the bokashi, which fills up the majority of the extra space in the bucket.

Animal feed bokashi - covered

There’s a little airspace so I’m covering with plastic to make sure the surface (at least most of the surface), stays anaerobic right from the start.

And now we wait. Ideally we will wait at least 6 weeks to even crack the lid. We want it anaerobic inside. The sealed bucket just sits out in the shade on the balcony for 6 weeks:

Animal Feed bokashi - Sealed up

After adding and compacting, putting the plastic on, the bucket gets sealed up. It will stay sealed up for the length of fermentation – From 3 days to 6 weeks. In this case, i’m leaving it for 6 weeks.

After that time, time to open up the bucket and see how it is! It looks like there was some yeast/mold/bacterial growth on top where the bag wasn’t directly against the bokashi. It’s really interesting stuff, kind of spongy. Likely it is a matrix of yeast and bacteria. The nice white color is a great sign of healthy microbial growth. This is awesome to see.

bokashi animal feed - results

Finally we get to open it up after 6 weeks. It looks great, with some healthy microbial growth on top.

Now for the real test. Does Floflo like it? Floflo is my wife’s little Shih Tzu. This will be her food too, not just the roach’s food. Though for floflo it will likely be a smaller part of her diet.

She’s eyeing it skeptically…..

animal feed bokashi - testing

I’ve taken a bit out to test with the dog. Let’s see if she likes it. She’s looking at it first…

And she likes it! This has been a success!

Animal feed bokashi - success

Success! The dog loves the bokashi’d animal feed. She will have some as a dietary amendment – the microbes are good for her diet and will help keep her stomach steady.

There you go, animal feed bokashi for your pets and livestock. You can do similar for pig, chicken, cat, etc food. You can do it short term as well if you are going through a lot of food and can’t wait that long. For example when feeding pigs, use 4 buckets, each day feed the last bucket and rotate it back to the front, fill with food, some water and lacto+sugar in small amount, then it ferments for 3 days before feeding to your pigs. Try this and let us know how it goes for you. It’s going to be good!

  • Barry Hocking

    Hi, Thanks for another great post. Just one question How do you make the Anaerobic Compost Tea? Please. With Thanks. Best Wishes and Warmest Regards, Barry and Family.

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