Making Yogurt

Yogurt Barrel Prep

We make yogurt time to time to add to our whey tanks. Yogurt is good for digestion, in people and pigs.

To make the yogurt we sterilize some buckets with hot water and bleach. We then draw off the creamiest batch of dairy we can get, ideally fresh from the truck. To kick start the culture we use active yogurt from the store and blend it with a gallon or so of milk. This mixture is then allowed to sit for a few days in a warm spot. In the winter this means inside our house but in the warm months we do it outdoors. Once the bucket is done culturing we pour one each into our big whey tanks to culture them. After we’ve added the yogurt to the tank it continues to grow, digesting solids in the tank and making those more accessible to the pigs.

In addition to being good for the pigs the yogurt appears to prevent mold from growing in the whey tanks. Other farmers we know with the same setup, getting their whey from the same source and in our same climate have trouble with mold growth in their tanks. We don’t get the mold. I think the difference is the yogurt we add. If we don’t add yogurt for a while then I’ll start seeing a little mold and know it is time to do the yogurt again.

Outdoors: 45°F/36°F 3″ Rain & Attempts at Snow
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/65°F

Daily Spark: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” -Plato

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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13 Responses to Making Yogurt

  1. Teresa says:

    Those are quite the large yogurt containers. I only make a quart at a time for us to eat. I can imagine all those good probiotics in yogurt would be good for pigs.

  2. Eileen Matthai says:

    Yup, good ol’ ‘competitive exclusion’ at work. Seed a culture with the stuff you want, and usually they will establish quicker than the others. I’ll have to try making yogurt with my jersey milk, when she gets here…

  3. mellifera says:

    Yup, that’s probably exactly what’s going on.

    I’ve heard of people using whey (cultured or otherwise) as a preventative for plant diseases– you have to reapply pretty often, but the lactic acid bacteria may be able to outcompete pathogenic bacteria when there are milk goodies on the leaf. Other people do the same thing with compost tea, same idea. It’s one of those things I want to look into more once I’m done with school and have more time….

  4. Nance says:

    times have sure changed. I thought you were going to say “fresh from the cow!” Instead you said “ideally fresh from the truck”! I guess I didn’t know if you were milking or not . . . Now, I would have had to say “fresh from the grocery store!” lol

    • Times haven’t changed fast enough. We plan to get cows but it won’t be for a year or more likely several. Then we’ll have the ability to get it fresh from the cow. In our case fresh from the truck is one stop away from the cow as this is the dairy truck that get milk. We do the best we can.

  5. Stacey says:


    I have been lurking around this blog for awhile now. Great stuff and thanks for sharing. We are currently raising two Berks in a pig tractor for next years garden. Also have a friend that has a dairy that will let me have the excess whey. We are trying to come up with a diet for the pigs that is less expensive and alot less GMO junk in them. We are in Alabama and it is very difficult to find any feed here that is not corn, soy based. We will be moving the pigs to a different pasture next year to take advantage of all of the oak trees. Do you feed the whey free choice ? Any other additions besides pasture to the whey ? BTW our 10 yr old daughter is a black bely in Yoshukai Karate and my wife is a graphic artist. I am just the one that comes up crazy ideas !! Thanks, Stacey

  6. Stacey says:

    not a black bely..she is a black belt sorry..

    • *grin* Black Belly raised some interesting images… Tank Top Karate Kid? Bruised? A new Tattoo Style? Perhaps black belt Large Black piggies… Hmm… :)

      You’re wonderfully lucky to have the oak trees. Rotational graze so as not to damage the trees. Move the pigs through the area quickly gleaning the nuts. On the pasture to managed intensive rotational grazing too. Pasture/hay plus dairy make a wonderful diet for pigs with the pasture providing about 90% of the bulk of their diet and the dairy at about 7%. The dairy provides lysine which is low to lacking on pasture. Richer milk gives more calories. In addition to that we grow pumpkins, beets, turnips and such in our winter paddock gardens. When we get it boiled barley from a local brew pub, apple pomace from a local cider mill and a little expired bread from a local baker are excellent additions. The bread is a wonderful training treat since they don’t otherwise get much. A pig will follow you almost anywhere for a hot dog bun. A wonderful thing about pigs is they are so hardy and versatile. See here

      In your warmer climate you’ll need to watch for parasites more than we do. Managed intensive rotational grazing helps a lot with this. The whey has deworming properties. Garlic is a good natural dewormer. Our cold and the copper in our soils helps to kill worms. If parasites get to be too much of an issue still I would suggest Ivermec or SafeGard (Fenbendazole) but be sure to observe the withdrawal times. See here

  7. Adam Figgo says:

    Yogurt is one of the essentials of life for me. Your piggies must do very well on such a diet. It puts all kinds of good bact in their gut.

  8. Sarah Poyser says:

    Hi Walter,
    We are looking at getting yoghurt seconds from a local dairy. Are there concerns with warmer temperatures if it is kept outside in shade?

    • That would depend on your climate. Here it has never gotten above 86°F (30°C) so it stores well but in a hotter climate it would be a potential issue. Ground contact and a cool cellar could help. If it is in sealed containers it should keep longer.

  9. Farmerbob1 says:

    “We make yogurt time to time ”
    I believe you are missing a ‘from’ between ‘yogurt’ and the first ‘time.’

    Very interesting that you practice a little practical evolution in your whey storage.

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