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Making barley extract

micearguersmicearguers CambridgePosts: 605
Have people attempted to make barley extract themselves? The commercial products are quite expensive I think. I assume a bottle may last quite a while, still it is yet more plastic and more importantly, it would be fun to make it.

I could not really find any instructions or experiments on the web. Two weeks ago I put a large bundle of straw into a bucket with some stones on top and put water in it. Yesterday it had a stink of a smell, indicative of an anaerobic process. I've decanted it and mixed it with rainwater. Now planning to use some of it.

Once concern that I have is ... do I have barley straw? I bought it in a pet shop and was told it was barley straw. Pictures online do look the same as what I have. Is it commonly used for rabbit hutches and chicken coops?

Anyway, some mystery surrounds the barley straw extract. I've read in a few places that barley straw acts as an algae cleaner by releasing hydrogen peroxide in low quantities during the decomposition process. This raises the question: If that's true, how does the commercial barley extract work?


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,545
    Geoff Hamlton thought it was enough to stuff some barley straw in an old pair of tights, add a stone and chuck in the pond.  Why bother with extract?
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • micearguersmicearguers CambridgePosts: 605
    @Obelixx good point. I've done that for two-three years, and it was quite a bit of faff and didn't seem to work very well. The faff having to get a pair of tights, straw escaping, having to fish it out again, making sure the small critters that took up home get back again et cetera. Not sure why it didn't work; my pond has a ring of soft slate in it, I wonder if it leaches nutrients. Additionally the pont has a slate overhang, perhaps it acts as a heat trap.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,100
    I would never use barley straw for pet bedding because of the sharp awns. 
    Its often used as feed for cattle, goats and some horses (usually ‘chopped’). 

    I would expect to find wheat straw being sold for pet bedding ... but to be honest I’ve never looked as I have farming contacts. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • micearguersmicearguers CambridgePosts: 605
    @Dovefromabove thanks, that's very useful. I will definitely double-check that first, as 'sharp awns' does not really fit what I have. Have to find some barley straw then!
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