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  • Pearl Barley

    I am considering experimenting with pearl barley to be used as a two month feeding plan. Wound like some opinions please.

    What has prompted me to do so is I intend on showing some koi in two months. I feel my shiroji is not what it could be and I would like to improve the white. I feel the sumi and hi is good, but the shiroji is not clean. I believe it because I feed high protein diet pretty much all year long. I ocassionaly give them a rest of several days and I do skip a day every week or so. My intent is to flush the koi's body and rid some of toxins that cause yellowing. A body cleanse, so to speak...

    I could probably buy some Hikari white and achieve worthwhile results (maybe?), but I'm a cheap ass and want to go the homemade food route if possible. Talking with Bill McGurk of Purdin Koi Farm, he suggested I look into this pearl barley stuff, so I scoured the forums and Google U and was quite surprised at how many results I found. It seems to me that pearl barley is used more in countries other than the US, particularly in the UK (not surprising considering US hobbyists tend to not experiment with foods, imo). I found various recipes, and most have similar ingredients just in different quantities. Most of the recipes consisted of pearl barley that has been soaked (so it can rehydrate) and then slow cooked to soften. Cool product. Combine with calcium bentonite clay, some honey (for sweetness), garlic (for taste and health), and some hobbyists add orange juice (vit C). The mixture is combined and formed to small clumps. Feed for two months. I have read that this can help keep the bulk somewhat, but also would clean the shiroji up.

    Tim
  • #2

    Give it a try or you could just use potassium permanganate.

    Comment

    • #3

      Hope it works Tim. I like your spirit. And I prefer your approach using natural methods.

      I think it's tough when we have to feel spirulina and astaxanthin and other colorants to koi. It is hard not for the shiroji to be affected. I oftentimes wonder if koi are fed leaves and sweet potatoes and other food with carotenes such as zeaxanthen and lutein, if they would be enough to provide coloration to the beni without the effect spilling over to the shiroji the way spirulina does. Maybe the answer is definitely a negative.

      An approach I'm considering is to heavily spirulina and colorants for six months, and then for the next six months (which precedes the show) to skimp on colorants but instead compensate by feeding leaves and sweet potatoes, just enough to maintain the beni, so that the shiroji can be allowed to recover from the effects of feeding colorants. Again, just a thought.

      Of course, if there's a way you could control your water parameters such that ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate would be so spot on perfect, a month before the show, that would help. But again, easier said than done.

      Hope the pearl barley will work wonders.

      Comment

      • #4

        For many years dick Benbow recommended pearl barley as an initial food following a long winter fast. I do not believe he mixed anything with it, but he was not using it for so long a period, and coming out of a fast the koi did not need sweeteners to encourage eating. If feeding for two months, I would be concerned by the limited vitamin content.

        Comment

        • #5

          Tim, Personally I don't get it.

          After all the TIME, EFFORT & COST to make this food, are you really being a Cheap Ass? I see it being like feeding Watermelon, it's more for You than the Koi. I've seen how well these "Shiroji Enhancing" Foods can work, that's the direction I'd suggest.
          President : GLK&GS
          Officer : NMZNA
          Certified Judge : AKJA

          Comment

          • #6

            How does a person go from feeding Kenzen to feeding pearl barley for two months?

            Comment

            • #7

              Originally posted by MikeM View Post
              For many years dick Benbow recommended pearl barley as an initial food following a long winter fast. I do not believe he mixed anything with it, but he was not using it for so long a period, and coming out of a fast the koi did not need sweeteners to encourage eating. If feeding for two months, I would be concerned by the limited vitamin content.
              Was thinking about Coach yesterday, as I get a FB feed of Japanese scrolls (Kakejiku). Would love to hear from him.

              I could probably get rid of some honey and garlic, but figured I would follow the instructions before ammending the ingredients. I too have a concern about vitamin or mineral deficiency. But it certainly can't be worse than a complete fast, which has been recommended for decades, granted I don't agree with an extending fast, buuuuuttttt..... I am also a user and proponent of clay use, and from my understanding, the clay provides some mineral content that aids in digestion and may/might aid is skin and scale recovery (health), although benefits may vary from pond to pond. But for my water I feel I benefit from period use of calcium bentonite. Oddly enough, I've never been a big believer of using orange juice for Vitamin C, but over the years I am warming up to the idea that it may benefit the koi. My understanding is that Vit C degrades substanially over time. I get fresh pellet koi food but I recognize that there is nothing that beats raw or fresh foods in terms of nutritional values.

              I will use this for about 5 weeks, so it will not be the full two months as I originally thought I would.
              Tim

              Comment

              • #8

                Troy and Rick, I think I can answer both questions.

                As you both know, I have been feeding Kenzen faithfully for over five years now. Nary any other pellet has hit the water. Long and short of it is I know this product well and I also know my koi quite well. I feel I can now adjust some feeding strategies with low risk. It's not about cost, but moreso just having a relationship with my koi and to see if I can improve in some areas. This is more of an excercise than anything, and in the past I have tried different foodstuffs, but I lacked interest. This is not a long term feeding plan, and I will resume with my regular feeding habits.

                I will say it's not expensive, but cost was never my concern. The real issue is that I can't feed continuously throughout the day, whereas with pellet and autofeeder I can. Definately a PITA, but I'm hoping to gain something, even it it means it wasn't worthwhile.
                Tim

                Comment

                • #9

                  Originally posted by ricshaw View Post
                  How does a person go from feeding Kenzen to feeding pearl barley for two months?
                  I have an open mind and recognize that there are alternatives that can be explored.
                  Tim

                  Comment

                  • #10

                    Always consider the source credibility and how current this practice is.

                    Comment

                    • #11

                      I use to sometimes feed my Koi cooked short-grain rice (sticky rice). The reason I fed rice, I was a cheap ass (Tim's words) and 30 years ago I heard that some Japanese Koi hobbyist fed cooked rice (not Uncle Ben's).
                      I also knew of some Koi dealers that fed cooked barley. Again, I think because they were cheap ass (Tim's words).
                      Tim's post made me curious about the nutritional benefits of cooked barley. The following link is a comparison of Pearled Barley (cooked) vs. Rice, white, short-grain, cooked:

                      Nutritional Comparison: Pearled Barley (cooked) vs Rice, white, short-grain, cooked

                      Comment

                      • #12

                        Originally posted by ricshaw View Post
                        I use to sometimes feed my Koi cooked short-grain rice (sticky rice). The reason I fed rice, I was a cheap ass (Troy's words) and 30 years ago I heard that some Japanese Koi hobbyist fed cooked rice (not Uncle Ben's).
                        I also knew of some Koi dealers that fed cooked barley. Again, I think because they were cheap ass (Troy's words).
                        Tim's post made me curious about the nutritional benefits of cooked barley. The following link is a comparison of Pearled Barley (cooked) vs. Rice, white, short-grain, cooked:

                        Nutritional Comparison: Pearled Barley (cooked) vs Rice, white, short-grain, cooked


                        Not my words, go read Post #1.

                        Tim got me thinking about the Fasting thing a couple years ago. The last two winters I've really cut off Fasting and just really slowed down on the feedings. I feed sinking in the winter as I still question the amount of reserved energy I want my Koi to have to use to get a few pellets. I think less energy is used when the food comes to them. Understand my winter is much different than many of yours.
                        President : GLK&GS
                        Officer : NMZNA
                        Certified Judge : AKJA

                        Comment

                        • #13

                          Originally posted by HEADACHE6 View Post
                          Not my words, go read Post #1.

                          Tim got me thinking about the Fasting thing a couple years ago. The last two winters I've really cut off Fasting and just really slowed down on the feedings. I feed sinking in the winter as I still question the amount of reserved energy I want my Koi to have to use to get a few pellets. I think less energy is used when the food comes to them. Understand my winter is much different than many of yours.
                          Thanks! I made correction.

                          I consider Koi judges to be "experts". Have you ever heard of feeding cooked barley to improve shiroji?

                          Comment

                          • #14

                            Originally posted by ricshaw View Post

                            I consider Koi judges to be "experts". Have you ever heard of feeding cooked barley to improve shiroji?

                            Not hardly.

                            Have I heard this practice? Yes, it's been around for years. And years ago it might have been a better option than the foods that were available at the time, but is it better than the foods today? I question that it is even close.
                            President : GLK&GS
                            Officer : NMZNA
                            Certified Judge : AKJA

                            Comment

                            • #15

                              IMO, pellets contain nothing more than ingredients most hobbyists can obtain. For me the real issue is the inconvenience in not only preparing but feeding as well. Basically any non-pelletized food has to be hand delivered and not by way of an auto feeder. To me this is the big issue, how do I get enough to the koi? That is where pellets excell.
                              Tim

                              Comment

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