Thursday, March 20, 2014

My $10 fodder system

Growing fodder to feed livestock isn't a new idea,they've used it in other parts of the world for quite some time but it's really caught on here over the past few years with people with a few animals or small sustainable farms. The concept involves taking a pound of grain and in about 5-6 days time sprouting and growing that grain into about 5+ times that amount of feed for your animals. I start 1lb of wheat everyday for 22 chickens, I use a system that uses 3 small buckets and 3 1020 greenhouse growing flats. I soak 1lb of wheat for 12hrs, next it goes into another bucket that I drilled the bottom full of 7/32" holes, the grain spends 48hrs in that bucket. Usually by the time it comes out of the bucket it has little short root hairs on it. From the bucket it goes into the 1020 trays, I put holes in either end of the tray so water will drain out after I water, that's the only thing special with the trays. My watering schedule is every 12hrs, I water at 7am and 7pm but I have already skipped 1 watering with no ill affects. When I water, whether in the buckets or the trays, I rake the seed around with my hand then pour in about a gallon of water that floods the seed and then I just wait about a minute for most if the water to drain off. That's about the extent of it, it's really simple, in the beginning I figured it added about 40-45minutes per day to my schedule but after I got going it didn't take long until it was an extra 15minutes each watering. Figuring what it has saved me in commercial feed it is well worth the little bit of time. I feed fodder at about a 2/3-1/3 ratio of fodder to commercial feed, my chickens really love it and they have been laying just fine.

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