I take the above mix, 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (I like Bragg's brand), and soak it for 12-24 hours (I personally prefer 24 hours) in amounts that will last 1-2 days. I used to soak a larger amount that would last 3 days, but I was running into problems with mold. The reason: the barley I get is NOT washed and the non seed portions (flower heads, etc) seem to mold quickly because of this. I take a cotton pillow case (one of you blessed me with this idea, thanks!) put it in the bucket (like a liner), I put a glug of ACV in the bottom, then I put my dry grain mix into the pillow case, then I fill the pillow case lined bucket with water. Let this soak for a few hours, up to 24 hours. The Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) helps prevent mold.
To drain easily, in the morning I place the pillowcase containing the soaked grains in my empty utility sink on top of a large bowl that I place upside down in the sink. I simply place the pillowcase on the inverted bowl and leave the top of the pillowcase hanging outside the sink to keep the pillowcase in place i.e. keep it from falling into the sink. That night at chore time (approximately 12 hours later) is just damp and the sprouts are just starting to peak out. :) At this point I dump them into a bucket, place the bucket in a warm place, and allow them to continue sprouting till the next morning when I begin using them. They will be completely used up in one day.
You can also drain it this way, but it is more work: I place the pillowcase in a new bucket with a colander (or whatever) on the bottom. The water will drain out through the pillow case, leaving the grains. You can leave the grains in the pillow case to sprout, I prefer to transfer them into a bucket, as it is easier for me to dispense the grain out of a bucket. Put this in a warm place to sprout overnight - check for little sproutlings in the morning. :)
NOTE: Don't waste the soaking water! It is rich in amino acids and has the ACV in it - I'd pour mine into their water trough each morning. They would fight over the bucket if I wasn't not quick enough.
When you see the sprouts peeking out of some of the grains, you can start feeding it to the herd. Some grains sprout sooner than others, that is okay - the rest will begin soon. Notice that when you soak the grain it grows, as it has absorbed water. This means that you are feeding LESS than you will be if you are feeding the grain right out of the bag. That is okay, and in fact preferred. :) Just keep an eye on their weight and adjust the amount to suit your herd/animal. My herd is perfect at the below amounts, but PLEASE keep an eye on the body condition of YOUR goats to customize the amounts given for your herd. :
Milking Does * 2 cups of sprouts, 1 handful of wheatbran (wet this down), and 1/2 # of Chaffhaye. I give them this same thing in both the morning and evening on the milk stand.
Dry Pregnant Does/Doelings *: 1 cup of sprouts and 1 handful of wheatbran (I add water to make it damp) once per day the last 2-3 weeks before their due date. Plus the herbs listed on my "Pregnant Doe Care" page.
Breeding bucks*: 1 cup of sprouts per day during breeding season, if necessary. Add 1# of Chaffhaye if his weight is low. Most of the time, my bucks do great on their hay ration only & free choice Thorvin Kelp & Vitalerbs, even in rut.
It is my opinion that unless a goat is pregnant or milking or both, it does not need grain. Feed it plenty of good quality hay (and pasture, if possible) instead. Keep an eye on it's body condition and add Chaffhaye, if necessary.
*plus the top dressings listed below
1 tsp. of whole flaxseed (*Non-GMO & no spray)
To any of the feed mixes listed here mix, you add as top dressing:
1/2 TBSP of comfrey root c/s (cut & sifted) or 1/2 tsp. of the powder.
1 TBSP of red raspberry leaf c/s or 1 tsp powder.
carrots per feeding OR 1 tsp of carrot powder.
Yes, you can use Comfrey Leaf instead of Comfrey Root, just feed 1 tsp of powder OR 1 TBSP c/s.
If you are feeding cut and sifted herbs instead of powdered herbs, change the amount from tsp (powdered) to TBSP (cut and sifted aka c/s).
Update (12/04/2012): See my Goat Minerals page to see what I have been implementing instead of having to use the Top Dressing mix listed here.
Having trouble with your goats not liking the sprouts? Try these mixes instead: