Doug H. asked:
A friend has offered us her goat whey for our 3 pigs. We are in western Washington State. It is usually cool, but gets into the 90’s for a few weeks every summer. Is it OK to leave the whey in barrels, or do I need a walk-in to keep it refrigerated? How long will it last if kept unrefrigerated?
We don’t refrigerate ours. It doesn’t get that hot here, max of about 86°F, so our situation is not exactly the same. We also go through whey very quickly. Try it and see how it lasts for your situation.
If you’re concerned with the heat you might try sun shading it or using an insulated container, even foil-bubble-bubble-foil (FBBF) will make a difference in keeping it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
Another trick is add some yogurt to the whey and mix it in well. The good bacteria in the yogurt help keep the dairy from spoiling in a way you don’t want and it improves the pig’s digestion. See these posts about yogurt.
Our whey doesn’t sit around very long so unless a pail of it gets set down somewhere and forgotten I almost never see spoilage. Even then it takes more than a week in hot weather. We go through about 1,500 to 1,800 gallons a day with deliveries running about every one to two days, sometimes a three day delivery delay depending on the cheese maker’s schedule. We currently have about 3,000 of tank capacity and about 4,000 gallons with troughs included. This means that sometimes the whey does last several days before being eaten. Since it is always flushed through the tanks and troughs within a few days we have no problems with it spoiling. Note that these numbers have changed over time depending on what is available from the cheese maker and how many tanks we have setup, etc so other blog posts will be different.
For us the cold of winter is more of an issue than the warmth of summer. We have to make sure the tanks and troughs have whey flow through them regularly or we can get freezing as it gets down to -20°F regularly and as low as -45°F. Sometimes we have to lift out chunks of ice from the troughs and thaw valves. Snow banks and the FBBF insulation both help. If I know I’m not going to have enough whey coming in I drain out and close down a tank, leaving the valve open, so it doesn’t freeze solid on me. See this post about how to unfreeze valves and tanks incase you ever have the miss-fortunate to have to deal with this.
You may also be interested in this post about clean out. The yogurt that accumulates at the bottom of the tanks is a real treat for the pigs and they’re very eager for it.
See this search pattern for feeding whey.
Outdoors: 82°F/63°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 75°F/67°F
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