Originally Posted by AngelaKern
How do you get started growing the fodder?
There are as many ways to grow fodder as there are people doing it. There are so many variables for each individual that no single way will work for everyone in the same way.
My system is only used in the winter when the green turns to brown outside and my flock can't find greens from themselves.
They are free range all year but when the snow cover is down, they venture out only in the shoveled paths.
I have a flock of around 15 - 20 throughout winter and feed a shoe box sized "block" to them each day.
I keep my set-up in my house which is heated with gas forced air and a wood burning fireplace occasionally.
I rinse the seeds (do a really good job of winnowing http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/winnow
and then rinsing if you use grains that have not been cleaned well) and then soak them overnight. I use the strainer below and add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of grains at a time.
I rinse the grains the next morning and put them in a clear plastic shoe box that has holes drilled in the bottom as in the pic below.
I have seven of these containers. They cost $1 apiece and came with lids that I don't use.
I will put a damp paper towel over the seeds and put a second box (with a bit of weight in it) on top of the paper towel for the first 24 hours.
I remove the box the next day, moving it to the next box I start. I rinse the seeds and replace the damp paper towel.
I remove the paper towel on the third morning after soak.
I rinse the seeds morning and evening, not letting them get dry between times, but not letting them sit in water either.
Here are some black oil sunflower seeds (bird seed purchased at Tractor Supply) at day five.
I like to feed them when the leaf starts to show. The root will show first, the leaf a day or so later.
Here is a small "greenhouse" purchased for $15 that I use. This picture is from when I first started, it is using kamut grain that I had for our use. The green blades are too long in the two boxes on the second shelf for my chickens. I used scissors to cut the blades to 1 inch or less and then fed the pieces and roots to the chickens. I don't let the blades get that long now. I just feed when the green blades/leaves start to show like in the last picture.
You can see the progression from bottom left to top right, box with weighted box on seeds-day after soak, the damp paper towel on rinsed seeds-day two after soak, just the seeds after rinse in the morning-third day after soak, etc. You can see the boxes drain into a plant tray.