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fodder how to's, lets share ideas.

 
Peter Smith
Posts: 83
Location: NEPA
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I have no idea if this is the right place to post this, it could go so many places, but I couldn't find it any where else. It is winter here, so there is limited green stuff around for livestock. This seems a perfect time to supplement feed with a little fodder. I did some research on the YouTube and got some ideas.I have a small working system, but need to make it better. Anybody have good experience or ideas?
My system has 6 trays(8x12) and a soaking tub on a wire rack. The trays have holes drilled in one end, and are elevated on the opposite end. They are arranged on the 3 level wire rack in opposite directions so when water is put in top 2 trays, it runs back and forth down the trays to the bottom where I have a bucket to catch the final water.
I am using organic barley seed from Green Mountain Farms. I soak about 2/3/4 cups dry seed for about 12 hours. The seed swells when soaked, and in the trays I have that ends up being almost an inch deep. I'm not sure yet, but that might be a little too deep for best sprouting. I soak 1 batch each day, and feed on day 6 of growing not counting soak.
System seems to work OK, but holes in trays are just big enough to let a few stray seeds through, but trays still don't drain as much as I would like. I have to tip trays pretty steep to get it to drain better, I am afraid of mold or rot if it has too much water.
Anyway, that is a little of my thoughts and experience and would love to hear from others so we can improve the system in a joint effort.
 
John Elliott
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Your chickens eat sprouts? I'd be afraid the birds would turn into snobs.

Here in the South, there's lots of green stuff for fodder. What seems to hold up best through the winter though is chicory. It puts on more growth through the winter than the radishes, collards, and turnips, and seems to be less affected by the occasional hard freeze.
 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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I'm not sure it counts as fodder, but I've soured milo (sorghum seed) and fed it to the birds. I'm sure this thread will catch Adam's eye--he sprouts seeds for his poultry.

I've noticed that areas where the chickens free ranged in the summer are still still contain green plants. This is under ice and snow. There's yarrow that still has green leaves, grass etc. The only place this has happened is where the chickens and geese have been.

I think there's some research to be done for poultry regarding no hay solutions and cattle. What if you have an animal that knocks away the snow to get to forage and you follow the animal with chickens?
 
Guerric Kendall
Posts: 102
Location: zone 6a, NY
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chicken duck forest garden
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I've been spouting seeds for my chickens for nearly two years now. Mostly BOSS for protein during the winter and a little barley during the summer. I soak for 24 hours though. And boil it first for black oil sunflower seeds. They sprout slowly and tend to harbor mold without a good soaking.

Glad to see somebody else sprouts fodder for their chickens and will be keeping an eye on this thread. Good luck with your first batch!
 
Peter Smith
Posts: 83
Location: NEPA
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I did not know anyone sprouted BOSS, I'm gonna have to look into that. Thanks.
 
Adam Klaus
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Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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Jeremey Weeks wrote:I'm sure this thread will catch Adam's eye--he sprouts seeds for his poultry.


Most definitely, a topic of interest for me! I use the sprouted grains in the spring-fall only. In winter with just my hens and no meat birds, they dont get sprouts. Too lazy I am. I could maybe sprout in my greenhouse, but I am just not up for all the carrying it would entail. Maybe someday I will pay the kids to do it.

I save any 5 gallon buckets that are already cracked, and drill a bunch of small holes in the bottom. I fill it part way with whole grain triticale seed (similar to wheat). I then take an intact bucket and fill it with water. I lower the first bucket with the grain, into the second bucket with the water, and let it soak overnight. I then pull the grain-filled bucket out of the water, and it drains automatically. I let the soaked grain sit for a few days outside under a tree, until it is sprouting. Then it gets fed to the chickens. I typically have several buckets going at a time, so each day there is a fresh bucket of sprouted grains ready to feed.

The system is really easy and efficient, very minimal labor involved.
 
Peter Smith
Posts: 83
Location: NEPA
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Just one soak, and then wait 3 days? Doesn't it dry out? I'm jealous, it sounds too easy
 
Adam Klaus
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Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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No, it doesnt dry out, because it is still in the bucket. Maybe a thin layer on top dries out, but it still seems to sprout fine. I live in a really arid climate too.

Easy is good. Farming is hard enough work as it is.
 
Chris Duke
Posts: 30
Location: Torrance, Ca
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Adam Klaus wrote:No, it doesnt dry out, because it is still in the bucket. Maybe a thin layer on top dries out, but it still seems to sprout fine. I live in a really arid climate too.

Easy is good. Farming is hard enough work as it is.


Ha! Nice idea! I just posted today over in the aquaponics area about where to find cheap trays to grow fodder in using my fish water. It could be I'm slightly over thinking things.
 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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I'm investigating mung beans right now. Typically, the bean sprouts you see in the store or in chow mein are mung beans.

Still looking for them in quantity and researching nutrition.
 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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I'm also considering growing stuff that will stick out of the snow for my chickens. I could use some ideas here. Right now I'm considering rye and camelina.
 
Nathan Hale
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When is it best to feed the sprouts. In other words, I see someone above say that they feed the sprouts at day 3, but why not let the sprouts actually grow up into grass blades? I've read somewhere that with barley it's best to soak the seed for 12+ hours, lay it one inch think in a try, let it grow up to ~6 inches tall and that's the best time to harvest because the protein content will start to fall after 6 inches(I think that was the number). Has anyone else read that 6" is the best time to harvest? Another question I have though is whether it adds nutrient value for the water to have nutrient in it and have it in sunlight so it can photosynthesize. I used aquaponic water in my trays and some of the root mats started to get slimy and the sheep and chickens would steer clear of those mats. I think the next thing I'll try is to put a little bleach in the water when I soak them, put them in the trays, water them with clean water until I see green shoots around day 4-5, then start watering with aquaponic water until the mat is harvest height. Anyone see any holes in that approach? I'd love some feedback.
 
Peter Smith
Posts: 83
Location: NEPA
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I feed 6 days after soaking, I believe the jury is still out on when is the exact moment of maximum nutrition. I have seen 6-9 days.
 
Richard Hoffman
Posts: 18
Location: Willow Springs mo
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I was fermenting a mix of wheat,corn, and milo and the girls would come running when they seen me with the bucket. They laid all winter and seemed to be eating less. I need to get more now that are now in missouri and they girls are still in ks
 
dj niels
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Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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I feed only scratch grain all year, plus whatever kitchen scraps and garden greens etc we have. In winter, I sprout the grain (a mix of wheat, oats, barley and milo) for several days. I use 2 gallon buckets I got free at the bakery department of a grocery store. I soak the grain overnight, then pour it into a bucket with holes, rinse it and drain again. At night I just shake the bucket to loosen the grain. The next morning I rinse again, and drain, and shake again at night. By the 3rd day it is just starting to get the little white roots and is ready to feed. My girls love it. But then, they love anything I bring them, and come running as close as they can get when they hear me come out the back door.

I have a tiny house and don't have room for trays of greens, though I have tried them in the past. I am hoping to develop some chicken pasture this summer, and to try the compost chicken feeding system geoff lawton showed in one of his recent videos. I also purchased some meal worms in the fall and have a small set-up for those. Several times a week I scoop some out and add to the chickens feed. I always just throw the scratch grains and scraps on the ground and let the girls scratch for it in the deep bedding.

I just ordered some seed for fodder radishes and mangel beets, that I plan to try for fall/winter forage crops for my chickens. And a deep woodchip mulch or compost pile is said to provide a place the chickens can scratch and find insects etc even in winter. My girls don't seem to mind the cold here in NW CO, as long as we throw some mulch on top of the snow. Also I am hoping to set up a paddock system and plant some vines, trees and berry bushes etc around the edges so they can have things to forage on that don't require a major effort to produce, as well as to provide some shade and shelter from the harsh winds and intense high elevation summer sun.
 
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