Sherry Willis

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since Jun 09, 2010
Missouri Milkmaid
Missouri
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Recent posts by Sherry Willis

Hi Abe,

I've not noticed any increase in hay consumption with the switch to Fodder. I have noticed a decrease in water consumption, but this is to be expected. It is nice not to have to buy pellets any longer and I take some comfort in the fact that I really do know what I'm feeding (it's pretty hard to know for sure what's in pellets).

I only let my Fodder go for 6 days. I've not had any serious mold issues, but if it shows up at all, it's between day 5 and 6. Part of the reason for letting it go a bit longer is it's easier to feed. The root mat doesn't really take hold until about day five. There's also about 2 1/2" of growth during these last two days. While some of this is water, some of it is also living matter, gleaned from water, air, and light.

We all know spring grass gives maximum production, yet it is extremely high in water. So high, in fact, that it can cause metabolic problems such as grass tetany. So why, with such low dry matter, would these increases happen? All I can figure out is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts somehow. That there is something in lush, new growth that either isn't noticed or is destroyed by the very act of measurement.

I accept the fact that all of these nutritional recommendations out there are just guesses. There are so many things we don't understand about living bodies. The problem comes in when we ignore the fact that our knowledge is limited and try to apply it as if it weren't. You then get the "one size fits all" solutions of industrial agriculture, that often do as much or more harm than good or only prove to be a short term solution. Fodder is a great feed supplement, but it is only one thing. I try to get weedy hay since it tells me that it probably wasn't sprayed with poison much and contains a good variety of plants. I also feed trimmings and scraps for variety. I probably don't get the production of a commercial rabbitry on pure pellets, but I don't spend much and I'm happy with that.

Sherry
6 years ago
Abe,

I don't quite understand what you want from me....

You obviously have very strong opinions about what is important with Fodder. I personally don't care about DM as the chickens and rabbits I feed it to look great and produce well (I only feed 3% to lactating animals 2%ish to the rest). I've cut my feed costs considerably (no pellets or scratch only hay for bunnies). Fodder is a way for me to make up for the fact that the hay in Missouri is CRAP(It has plenty of DM though...but that's about all) and I only have three city lots to work with. If I still lived in Wyoming where I could get great alfalfa hay for a decent price, I would never have considered Fodder.

Good luck with your growing.

Sherry

6 years ago
Hi Abe,

The only real way to know how much DM YOUR Fodder has is to have it tested. You'd have to test it each time you switch grain, and each time the growing conditions change.

I tend to just look at the condition of my animals to determine what needs be fed. So far I haven't had any issues. I've purchased a couple of Kinder goats that will be here this summer. Since milking is a HUGE drain on an animal's resources, I will defintely put my Fodder to the test.

I am not terribly picky about the "bottom line". If that was my main concern, I would simply buy my food.

Sherry
6 years ago
Hi Abe,

I've never seen a dry matter recommendation for Fodder. All recommendations are for the Fodder as is. The 3% recommendation is wet weight. I've seen a total feed dry matter recommendation, but any shortage of dry matter in the Fodder would be provided by hay or whatever roughage you are feeding.

Sherry
6 years ago
Hi Abe,

Drying the Fodder automatically reduces nutrients and Fodder never completely replaces hay, which is pretty much ALL dry matter. Also all that math you are doing and the recommendations the math is based on are fine in a laboratory, but not so great in the real world where it is impossible to provide the kind of controlled environment a lab would. All I know is that my test animals are doing splendidly on Fodder. Quantifying why has never been all that important to me.

That being said, I do have plans to send a sample for nutritional testing so I can post the results on my website.

The pvc does not bend at all, even on the largest sytem. This is a photo of the 18 tray system, which is the largest I offer.
Somehow my photos always look like they are tipping....:hunf:

6 years ago

gary reif wrote:What kind of spray heads do people use for watering?



Hi Gary,

I designed this system to sit inside on carpet so the water doesn't actually spray. It trickles into the top trays and then drips through the next trays all the way down into the sump. This minimizes splashing and water everywhere.

Sherry
6 years ago
Hi everyone,

Finally got some good pictures of the 12 tray system and a video of the 18 tray system running. Be gentle, I hate the camera!! http://youtu.be/c82qSZF2OZI





6 years ago
CJ,

I also thought about aquaponics with this. However, I think all the starch from the grain might be an issue. The water gets pretty slimy with it after a few days. However, the gravel might really help with that too.

Sherry
6 years ago
Hi Jorja,

The room is just room temperature, so it varies from 65-75 depending on time of day.

The filled resevoir is heavy, over 100 pounds. I usually just slide it out the front door and scoop the water out with a pitcher to water the plants with. Even full it slides easily across the carpet. You could use the pump to drain most of the water, but you would have to be very careful not to let the water get below the level of the pump as it is water lubricated and can't be run without water. Still, it's not very tall and you could probably easily lift the sump with what water is left.

Sherry
6 years ago

R Scott wrote:I have been spending my time finding a source for sproutable grain of a suitable quality.



That can be the real challenge. I tried whole oats the first time and had HORRIBLE luck. It had maybe a 20% sprout rate, and was slimy and nasty very quickly. The wheat I got works great. Barley isn't readily available here. If I couldn't find feed wheat that would sprout, we have a store that sells wheat for human consumption. It's expensive at $25 a bag, but it still comes out for me since I don't have space to grow my own feed conventionally.
6 years ago