This is my first post!
I am wondering if anybody has suggestions for the process for fermenting batches of vegetables for pigs.
The majority (75%+) of our 5 pigs' diet is very high quality kitchen waste from an organic restaurant in our community, in the summer we see a lot of boxes of broccoli stems and brassicas scraps (outer leaves, stems of cabbages and cauliflower, etc.), which our pigs don't like. The fusspots. I'd like to try fermenting these to make them more digestible. This is what I'm thinking of doing, I'd love to hear some suggestions:
Place the veggies in a large rubbermaid tote.
Inoculate with a starter culture (I'm thinking a half cup or so of yogurt or cheese-making starter culture that I'd keep growing in the house so I always have some)
Add water, mix thoroughly
Wait a few days
Do you think I can get away with leaving the stems whole? I really don't think this will be a worthwhile endeavour if I have to chop them up. Too much time!
Should I add molasses to feed the starter culture in there while the fermentation gets going?
Do I need to add salt?
Does ACV kickstart the fermentation, or would it kill the bacteria? I have heard both.
Finally, should the water cover the level of the vegetables, in making kimchi etc. you need the water to cover the veg so that it remains anaerobic, but on looking online I see different ways of doing it.
Back in my early years I remember going on a fishhead run for pig feed.
We picked up fish heads from the cannery to feed to the pigs.
Cold weather crops were about all we had so cabbage etc. were mixed with this and cooked for pigs.
Cooking the vegetables seemed to make them more attractive to pigs. Cooking also make these vegetables easier to digest.
Do your pigs eat fermented vegetables now?
As for fermenting you can get one of several systems to slice the vegetable matter in large volumes.
CO2 is a heavy gas so you can build a CO2 layer in most containers. The big reasons for water traps and air traps is to keep CO2 in and fungus, mold, etc. out.
If you inoculate you can likely use less salt and still not have fermentation go off.
I look forward to seeing how your pigs like the fermented vegetables.
I've been thinking of using material normally used to make compost (fresh manures and hay/woody materials) and mix various food scrapes, veggie/fruits, grain, dairy. etc., in it to create a diverse food product for pigs to eat. If this method works for chickens, why would it not work for pigs?
I'm always amazed with how little wood it takes to heat up a cob oven to a very high temp. You could build a rough coboven and use it to cook these veggies a bit to soften them. It wouldn't have to be fancy at all if it's out by the hog barn -- not like a pizza oven that would sit outside your back door. And then it take just a few pieces of scrap wood for it to get hot.
I know that that isn't what you asked -- it's not fermenting them, but it would begin to break down the tough texture and might make them more appealing to the hogs. Or slightly cooking them might make them more easily fermentable.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf