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Growing fodder for chickens - Page 77

post #761 of 3880
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PAchickengirl View Post

I gave them some of the sprout today, they went nuts over them! I am just doing small food containers on top of my microwave.
Here is some we did a few weeks ago. It wasn't as thick as I'd like, but they liked it anyway!

I'm glad they liked it! Have you tried putting some black oil sunflower seeds in your mix? My birds really like those. In fact...they pick those out first. LOL

Black Copper Marans - Golden Cuckoo Marans - Black Tail Buff Marans - BBS Orpingtons - Jubilee Orpingtons - Bantam Cochins - Muscovy Ducks - Quail - Midget White Turkeys - QCU Poultry Drinkers / Feeders
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Black Copper Marans - Golden Cuckoo Marans - Black Tail Buff Marans - BBS Orpingtons - Jubilee Orpingtons - Bantam Cochins - Muscovy Ducks - Quail - Midget White Turkeys - QCU Poultry Drinkers / Feeders
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post #762 of 3880
Not yet. I have some sunflower seeds from my MIL, that were grown in my back yard the year before. The love them, but only get a handful a day. I might try putting them in the next batch. I might borrow a few shelves in my MILs green house to do bigger trays. My son took some to start, but I haven't gotten down to check on them. I am afraid she is just sprit zing them and they are not wet enough to actually grow. Beggars can't be choosy, so when I get enough time, I'll start walking down in the afternoons to do it. If they sprouted, I'll bring the sprouts up, they seem to like them too.
2 PBR's, 2 BA's, 2 GLW's, 2 EE'ers.
Snickers, Tiny, Jazzy, Sparkles, Punky, Sassy, Mya & Bertha
They're not poultry to us, they're pets with benefits!
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2 PBR's, 2 BA's, 2 GLW's, 2 EE'ers.
Snickers, Tiny, Jazzy, Sparkles, Punky, Sassy, Mya & Bertha
They're not poultry to us, they're pets with benefits!
Reply
post #763 of 3880
Quote:
Originally Posted by pawtraitart View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by PAchickengirl View Post

I gave them some of the sprout today, they went nuts over them! I am just doing small food containers on top of my microwave.
Here is some we did a few weeks ago. It wasn't as thick as I'd like, but they liked it anyway!

I'm glad they liked it! Have you tried putting some black oil sunflower seeds in your mix? My birds really like those. In fact...they pick those out first. LOL

mine looked like this on day 6, except shorter grass, so i started to think something went wrong. sniffed it and yup, pretty sure it started to ferment. rinsed it and checked for mold (none) and fed sprouts to the chickens. i think i didnt have enough drainage holes so am going to start over this weekend. i hope it goes better this time, cuz i bought 3 lbs of mixed seeds!

OCD = Obsessive Chicken Disorder

 

HURRR "Member of the Derperella Club-- We're all just goin' round' the rooster, here!"

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OCD = Obsessive Chicken Disorder

 

HURRR "Member of the Derperella Club-- We're all just goin' round' the rooster, here!"

Reply
post #764 of 3880
Quote:
Originally Posted by PacaPride View Post

Hi all,

 

I read through some of the comments and posts from those considering fodder for their poultry.  I'll chime in as someone who has both poultry (22 in our coop and a summer run of a chicken tractor for meat birds and brooding egg-layers for city coops) as well as alpacas, and we have been operating our production fodder system for a couple of weeks after trials all this year on a smaller scale.

 

I was lead to this thread from another who called out an article on my blog via a link, so let me add the links to the articles that I've currently written:

http://pacapride.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/from-seed-to-feed-in-8-days-barley-fodder-sprouting-trials/

http://pacapride.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/barley-fodder-sprouting-trials-continued-new-flood-and-drain-tray-system-installed/

http://pacapride.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/barley-fodder-from-trials-to-production/

 

If you are located in Western Washington, I offer a fodder primer if you visit our farm. There is a fee for this consulting.  If you want to see a working fodder room and learn the nuances and technical details, I recommend scheduling a visit. (www.PacaPride.com) Meanwhile, here are some notes from my experience...

 

Chickens vs. ruminants regarding fodder:

   - For our alpacas we target a goal of 18% protein content which happens around the 7-9 day mark of sprouting.  This requires grow trays and a flood and drain approach. For chickens, such a system is a bit of overkill; at the 7-9 day grow point, the chickens generally avoid eating the long sprouts and instead target the smaller, ungerminated or slightly germinated grains left in the mat.

  - For chickens, instead of a grow tray operation, one could simply use a bucket operation. Two buckets,one with drain holes sitting inside the other, soaking grain seed for 24 hours, then drained for 24hours, then briefly wet again (just a dunk and drain), and let sprout for the next 24-36 hours.  The result is a bucket full of sprouted grains that look like a "day 2-3" fodder mat: This is perfect for chickens and results in very little waste.

 

Soak Times: Information on this varies widely. Interestingly enough, I have found that researching under the "fodder" category, soak times are generally shorter (less than 6 hours), but researching under the category of "sprouts for humans", soak times are generally longer (24 hours or at least overnight).  I am having the most success with a pre-wash and rinse of the seed, straining off chaff and cleaning the "field run" barley I use, then leaving it to soak in a mild (1tbsp to 1gal ratio) bleach solution for a 24 hour period.  This has given me the highest germination rate as well as shortening the deviation among the seeds germinating (ie they all grow at the same time with no stragglers or late germinators). It sanitizes the seed hulls without impacting the seed and kills mold spores and yeast that may be on the hull. It also results in my procedures being limited to a once-a-day visit to the fodder room.  Yes, there are other sanitizers out there, I personally find that household bleach still lands at the top of the list for a variety of reasons.

 

Grow Environment:  I am consistently seeing bunches of people trying to include their fodder operation in a greenhouse setting. IMHO, this will cause you more problems than it is worth.  A dedicated fodder room, temperature controlled, cleanliness controlled, is best.  A grow room temp for barley fodder is 60F degrees. If your room is at 70F or above, you can bet molds will appear at some point. Ideally, barley is a cold-weather crop, it germinates when temps are as low as 45 degrees. Keep your grow room temps low. 

 

Water: Use fresh water vs. recycling via a reservoir. The runoff from barley fodder is starchy and creates the ideal environment for yeasts to take hold and start fermenting. If fermenting begins in one tray, recycling will cause the other trays to do the same as well, regardless of how far along the grow cycle they are. In fact, I have found in my trials that this causes a more mature tray to get slimey roots and begin to have an off-smell of fermenting.  A fresh tray of a barley fodder mat should smell like cucumbers picked from the garden.

  

AIR: Keep in mind that AIR is just as important as WATER!  My watering cycles, once the pre-soaked seed is spread in the trays are 4x a day, for 4 minutes long, just enough to cover freshly seed trays with water and just enough for trays further along in the gorw cycle to get enough water.  The trays drain automatically with the more mature trays taking the longest to drain completely.  Once watered and drained, a fodder mat that has established a root mat stays wet for quite a long time, mature trays need less water than freshly seeded trays do. The roots need air as much as they need water. If you are harvest mats that don't smell fresh like cucumbers, or show grey slimey roots (not vibrant white), then you are watering too much and the sporuts aren't getting the air they need.

 

Lighting: No fancy lights needed, a few CFL's or some LED rope lights will green up the sprouts just fine. Do set them on a timer to simulate a day and night cycle. Mine is set at 16 hours on 8 hours off. No watering occurs during the night cycle.

Wow...this is great...can the moderator make it into a sticky??

Breeding Silkies, SG Silkies, Crele Crested Polish & Ameracuana. Wonderful DH & 2 sons! 2 TN Walkers and 6 cats. Searching for good quality Araucana eggs.    "If you love life, never take it for granted!"

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Breeding Silkies, SG Silkies, Crele Crested Polish & Ameracuana. Wonderful DH & 2 sons! 2 TN Walkers and 6 cats. Searching for good quality Araucana eggs.    "If you love life, never take it for granted!"

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post #765 of 3880

Sorry I did not explain fully on my suggestion for hoop coops used for fodder. If you use one for that covering with a tarp would cut the light out enough for them to sprout. When I was running my greenhouse and was rooting something I always put it under one of the shelves that was darker...they just really rooted so much better. 

I did my first fodder today!! Boy what a rookie mistake I made. I did not quite a gallon of mixed oats and wheat not thinking that was going to be A LOT of starter. It is going to be way, way more than my chickens can eat. Do you think I would be able to break it up into 3 days?? The sprouts would be longer by the last day. So...now I know to cut down to about a quart a day to keep a daily fodder available every day. I got tickled at my son...he came in for the weekend and I had the guest bathtub full of fodder trays!! I used some smaller containers for the caged chickens too. This is almost as much fun as hatching eggs. wink.png  I am so glad to enjoy this thread. I am going through my garden seeds that are over a year old to see what I can sow from them...if the seed has the insect dust that some companies put on seeds...do you think it would wash off??

Breeding Silkies, SG Silkies, Crele Crested Polish & Ameracuana. Wonderful DH & 2 sons! 2 TN Walkers and 6 cats. Searching for good quality Araucana eggs.    "If you love life, never take it for granted!"

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Breeding Silkies, SG Silkies, Crele Crested Polish & Ameracuana. Wonderful DH & 2 sons! 2 TN Walkers and 6 cats. Searching for good quality Araucana eggs.    "If you love life, never take it for granted!"

Reply
post #766 of 3880
Quote:
Originally Posted by PacaPride View Post

Hi all,

 

I read through some of the comments and posts from those considering fodder for their poultry.  I'll chime in as someone who has both poultry (22 in our coop and a summer run of a chicken tractor for meat birds and brooding egg-layers for city coops) as well as alpacas, and we have been operating our production fodder system for a couple of weeks after trials all this year on a smaller scale.

 

I was lead to this thread from another who called out an article on my blog via a link, so let me add the links to the articles that I've currently written:

http://pacapride.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/from-seed-to-feed-in-8-days-barley-fodder-sprouting-trials/

http://pacapride.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/barley-fodder-sprouting-trials-continued-new-flood-and-drain-tray-system-installed/

http://pacapride.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/barley-fodder-from-trials-to-production/

 

If you are located in Western Washington, I offer a fodder primer if you visit our farm. There is a fee for this consulting.  If you want to see a working fodder room and learn the nuances and technical details, I recommend scheduling a visit. (www.PacaPride.com) Meanwhile, here are some notes from my experience...

 

Chickens vs. ruminants regarding fodder:

   - For our alpacas we target a goal of 18% protein content which happens around the 7-9 day mark of sprouting.  This requires grow trays and a flood and drain approach. For chickens, such a system is a bit of overkill; at the 7-9 day grow point, the chickens generally avoid eating the long sprouts and instead target the smaller, ungerminated or slightly germinated grains left in the mat.

  - For chickens, instead of a grow tray operation, one could simply use a bucket operation. Two buckets,one with drain holes sitting inside the other, soaking grain seed for 24 hours, then drained for 24hours, then briefly wet again (just a dunk and drain), and let sprout for the next 24-36 hours.  The result is a bucket full of sprouted grains that look like a "day 2-3" fodder mat: This is perfect for chickens and results in very little waste.

 

Soak Times: Information on this varies widely. Interestingly enough, I have found that researching under the "fodder" category, soak times are generally shorter (less than 6 hours), but researching under the category of "sprouts for humans", soak times are generally longer (24 hours or at least overnight).  I am having the most success with a pre-wash and rinse of the seed, straining off chaff and cleaning the "field run" barley I use, then leaving it to soak in a mild (1tbsp to 1gal ratio) bleach solution for a 24 hour period.  This has given me the highest germination rate as well as shortening the deviation among the seeds germinating (ie they all grow at the same time with no stragglers or late germinators). It sanitizes the seed hulls without impacting the seed and kills mold spores and yeast that may be on the hull. It also results in my procedures being limited to a once-a-day visit to the fodder room.  Yes, there are other sanitizers out there, I personally find that household bleach still lands at the top of the list for a variety of reasons.

 

Grow Environment:  I am consistently seeing bunches of people trying to include their fodder operation in a greenhouse setting. IMHO, this will cause you more problems than it is worth.  A dedicated fodder room, temperature controlled, cleanliness controlled, is best.  A grow room temp for barley fodder is 60F degrees. If your room is at 70F or above, you can bet molds will appear at some point. Ideally, barley is a cold-weather crop, it germinates when temps are as low as 45 degrees. Keep your grow room temps low. 

 

Water: Use fresh water vs. recycling via a reservoir. The runoff from barley fodder is starchy and creates the ideal environment for yeasts to take hold and start fermenting. If fermenting begins in one tray, recycling will cause the other trays to do the same as well, regardless of how far along the grow cycle they are. In fact, I have found in my trials that this causes a more mature tray to get slimey roots and begin to have an off-smell of fermenting.  A fresh tray of a barley fodder mat should smell like cucumbers picked from the garden.

  

AIR: Keep in mind that AIR is just as important as WATER!  My watering cycles, once the pre-soaked seed is spread in the trays are 4x a day, for 4 minutes long, just enough to cover freshly seed trays with water and just enough for trays further along in the gorw cycle to get enough water.  The trays drain automatically with the more mature trays taking the longest to drain completely.  Once watered and drained, a fodder mat that has established a root mat stays wet for quite a long time, mature trays need less water than freshly seeded trays do. The roots need air as much as they need water. If you are harvest mats that don't smell fresh like cucumbers, or show grey slimey roots (not vibrant white), then you are watering too much and the sporuts aren't getting the air they need.

 

Lighting: No fancy lights needed, a few CFL's or some LED rope lights will green up the sprouts just fine. Do set them on a timer to simulate a day and night cycle. Mine is set at 16 hours on 8 hours off. No watering occurs during the night cycle.

 

Thanks for the writeup!

 

There's an article writing contest here at BYC ... I hope you submit this as an article and enter it in the contest.

 

I have a couple of popular questions maybe you can share your informed opinion about:

 

1) If we are replacing "green" feed (pasture/free-range) with fodder for our chickens, does the seed need to be sprouted long enough to send up shoots and turn green, or is just the wormy white stage "green" enough?

 

2) How deep do you layer seed into your trays for the best sprouting?

 

3) How big are the holes in your trays to allow for proper drainage but not let the seeds through? How many holes in your trays? Pattern of holes? Can you share a photograph?

 

4) Have you worked with grains other than barley, and if so, how are they different?

 

5 ... this one is a cluster question) How much "fodder" should we be feeding our chickens per day? Do we measure that in dry grain or in cubic inches of sprouts or by weight of fodder?

 

6 ... also a cluster) Is this a supplement to "regular" feed? If so, what is your "regular" feed? Or are you using this as your primary chicken feed?

 

And my current favorite question ... 7) Do you use food-grade containers for soaking and sprouting?

 

Again, thank you for the writeup! I'm eager to check out your links.

post #767 of 3880

I am having the most success with a pre-wash and rinse of the seed, straining off chaff and cleaning the "field run" barley I use, then leaving it to soak in a mild (1tbsp to 1gal ratio) bleach solution for a 24 hour period.  This has given me the highest germination rate as well as shortening the deviation among the seeds germinating (ie they all grow at the same time with no stragglers or late germinators). It sanitizes the seed hulls without impacting the seed and kills mold spores and yeast that may be on the hull. It also results in my procedures being limited to a once-a-day visit to the fodder room.

 

Thank you!! This helps TONS

post #768 of 3880

1) If we are replacing "green" feed (pasture/free-range) with fodder for our chickens, does the seed need to be sprouted long enough to send up shoots and turn green, or is just the wormy white stage "green" enough?

  • Sprouting is taking a grain seed, that on its own, is about 30% digestible, and making it 80% digestible and more bio available. That said, each day of sprouting will change the protein content as the seed germinates and starts growing. For ruminants, we want longer growth which gets to around an 18% protein content (when measure on a DRY feed analysis basis). For chickens, once the grain is germinated, it is ready to be eaten. That means a very short grow cycle, 36-48 hours. It's more of a waste to grow long grassy-like sprouts for chickens, IMHO, nothing more is gained. In fact, a chicken that eats a whole dry grain will most likely keep it in the crop causing it to either ferment or germinate.

 

2) How deep do you layer seed into your trays for the best sprouting?

  • My trays are 13"x40", my seeding rate is 6lbs of grain to a tray. This is about what it takes to make a seed bed about 1/4" deep.  Thicker seed beds and some covered grains may ferment and not geminate. Error towards a lower seeding rate than one that is deeper.

 

3) How big are the holes in your trays to allow for proper drainage but not let the seeds through? How many holes in your trays? Pattern of holes? Can you share a photograph?

  • The trays used have two drain holes at the end of the tray and channels molded in the bottom of the tray that guide the water towards the drain fittings. One fitting is level with the bottom of the tray, one is about an inch higher acting as an overflow drain.  The main drain has a plastic cap that prevents the grain seed from flowing into the drain. Because of the channels at the bottom of the tray, I do not tilt my trays on the shelves.  Check out this link on my you tube channel of our Trial phase for a closer look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_6hfN_4KCo&feature=share&list=UUULPbHWFTB9muGKFVQk02pg

 

4) Have you worked with grains other than barley, and if so, how are they different?

  • Fodder mats can be grow with practically any grain, but some are more suited to this application than others. Wheat is the second most grain used. I've trialed triticale (wheat-rye cross) and it wasn't very conducive to this application.  Some fodder producers will even sprout a mix of grain and other seeds or legumes like field peas depending upon the nutritional profile they are seeking. Barley, as a cold weather crop which loves moisture, does well in this approach and is considered a super food. I'll be trialing some varieties of wheat here soon (soft, hard, and durum) just to have options.  For alpacas (not the case for other animals) I will avoid doing this with oats as they can accumulate nitrates and be too rich for their diet.

5 ... this one is a cluster question) How much "fodder" should we be feeding our chickens per day? Do we measure that in dry grain or in cubic inches of sprouts or by weight of fodder?

  • Keep in mind, my goal is a winter feeding diet for a herd of alpacas and llamas. My feed rate is 2% total herd weight in fooder per day and 1% hay for fiber and roughage. I have no insight of a chicken feeding schedule.

6 ... also a cluster) Is this a supplement to "regular" feed? If so, what is your "regular" feed? Or are you using this as your primary chicken feed?

  • For my 22 birds in the coop, they have a free choice Purina pelleted layer ration along with oyster shell. The feeder is kept full of feed (with a bit of diatomaceous earth sprinkled on it), but since we no longer close our coop at night (the design of our barn layout gives to coop an "alpaca moat" which eliminates all predators for us) they hardly rush through that feed preferring to forage the property instead. To call the layer ration my "regular" feed is a bit silly for me because they go through it at a fairly slow clip. Their "regular feed" is on the ground and with the barley fodder mats, they are the clean up crew.

And my current favorite question ... 7) Do you use food-grade containers for soaking and sprouting?

  • I don't see the necessity for food grade certified containers for this approach. As long as a container is cleanable, you can sprout in it. My buckets are food grade certified (wash and presoak stage) and my grow trays are molded black plastic and very easy to clean as well.  In a fodder operation, where you are taking a mat to 7-9 days growth, cleanliness of the grow environment is imperative over the long term.  It is possible to produce very successfully at first, but then to experience a slow decline over time and more prevalent mold issues if controls are not taken to prevent.  Mold spores and yeast are in the air we breathe, consider closely the enivornmental factors over which types of trays to use or not use.
post #769 of 3880
Quote:
Originally Posted by PacaPride View Post

1) If we are replacing "green" feed (pasture/free-range) with fodder for our chickens, does the seed need to be sprouted long enough to send up shoots and turn green, or is just the wormy white stage "green" enough?

  • Sprouting is taking a grain seed, that on its own, is about 30% digestible, and making it 80% digestible and more bio available. That said, each day of sprouting will change the protein content as the seed germinates and starts growing. For ruminants, we want longer growth which gets to around an 18% protein content (when measure on a DRY feed analysis basis). For chickens, once the grain is germinated, it is ready to be eaten. That means a very short grow cycle, 36-48 hours. It's more of a waste to grow long grassy-like sprouts for chickens, IMHO, nothing more is gained. In fact, a chicken that eats a whole dry grain will most likely keep it in the crop causing it to either ferment or germinate.

 

 

Wow! You really are the guru on this! Thank you so much for this awesome and thoughtful answer. I really appreciate your willingness to share.

 

I'm still getting stuck on the idea of getting the fodder to the green grassy stage for the chickens. I read what you write and I can tell you know what you're talking about, but for some reason I just WANT to feed my chickens something grassy instead of just sprouty. Besides my preconceptions about what "fodder" should be, this is because I really am trying to give them a pasture substitute ... right now that area is pretty much bare bones and when the weather drives them inside where they could use some low-impact entertainment. 

 

Like your flock, mine still has free access to commercial layer feed at all times and I presume their chicken instincts will help them eat enough of that for proper nutrition as long as I'm not putting too many easy "treats" under their noses. But as the value of "pastured" poultry surely comes from the "pasture," I'm trying to get them something green and pasture-like without upsetting their nutrition. So ... I'm weary of sticking super-nutritious piles of barely-sprouted rye grain in front of them. Maybe if I were sprouting a very scientifically balanced mix of things I'd be more comfortable with the sprout-bucket idea. I'm just not informed enough about chicken nutrition to even know where to begin with that.

 

Am I making any sense here, or am I just sounding deeper shades of chickenpoocrazy the more I type?

 

ps; you're making me want alpacas.

post #770 of 3880
Quote:
Originally Posted by PacaPride View Post

1) If we are replacing "green" feed (pasture/free-range) with fodder for our chickens, does the seed need to be sprouted long enough to send up shoots and turn green, or is just the wormy white stage "green" enough?

  • Sprouting is taking a grain seed, that on its own, is about 30% digestible, and making it 80% digestible and more bio available. That said, each day of sprouting will change the protein content as the seed germinates and starts growing. For ruminants, we want longer growth which gets to around an 18% protein content (when measure on a DRY feed analysis basis). For chickens, once the grain is germinated, it is ready to be eaten. That means a very short grow cycle, 36-48 hours. It's more of a waste to grow long grassy-like sprouts for chickens, IMHO, nothing more is gained. In fact, a chicken that eats a whole dry grain will most likely keep it in the crop causing it to either ferment or germinate.

Sprouting is not fodder they are two entirely different things. A sprout is considered a grain food fodder is considered a green food. Chickens need both. Sprouts are considered anything under 4 inches long after 4 inches it is considered fodder.

2) How deep do you layer seed into your trays for the best sprouting?

  • My trays are 13"x40", my seeding rate is 6lbs of grain to a tray. This is about what it takes to make a seed bed about 1/4" deep.  Thicker seed beds and some covered grains may ferment and not geminate. Error towards a lower seeding rate than one that is deeper.

I put my seeds 1/2 inch deep and expeirience no problems with it fermenting. My trays are 60 inches by 3 inches. I soak 3 cups of rye to achieve this. 

3) How big are the holes in your trays to allow for proper drainage but not let the seeds through? How many holes in your trays? Pattern of holes? Can you share a photograph?

  • The trays used have two drain holes at the end of the tray and channels molded in the bottom of the tray that guide the water towards the drain fittings. One fitting is level with the bottom of the tray, one is about an inch higher acting as an overflow drain.  The main drain has a plastic cap that prevents the grain seed from flowing into the drain. Because of the channels at the bottom of the tray, I do not tilt my trays on the shelves.  Check out this link on my you tube channel of our Trial phase for a closer look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_6hfN_4KCo&feature=share&list=UUULPbHWFTB9muGKFVQk02pg

I have 25 7/64 inch holes in the end caps of my trays that allow full drainage without losing seeds. I do tilt my trays 3/4 inch up on the water entry side.  I also have an over flow at the top of my end cap that is 3 holes 3/8 inch each.

4) Have you worked with grains other than barley, and if so, how are they different?

  • Fodder mats can be grow with practically any grain, but some are more suited to this application than others. Wheat is the second most grain used. I've trialed triticale (wheat-rye cross) and it wasn't very conducive to this application.  Some fodder producers will even sprout a mix of grain and other seeds or legumes like field peas depending upon the nutritional profile they are seeking. Barley, as a cold weather crop which loves moisture, does well in this approach and is considered a super food. I'll be trialing some varieties of wheat here soon (soft, hard, and durum) just to have options.  For alpacas (not the case for other animals) I will avoid doing this with oats as they can accumulate nitrates and be too rich for their diet.

I do winter rye with very good success. I will be doing oats next they are not to rich for chickens.

5 ... this one is a cluster question) How much "fodder" should we be feeding our chickens per day? Do we measure that in dry grain or in cubic inches of sprouts or by weight of fodder?

  • Keep in mind, my goal is a winter feeding diet for a herd of alpacas and llamas. My feed rate is 2% total herd weight in fooder per day and 1% hay for fiber and roughage. I have no insight of a chicken feeding schedule.

Everything I have read about fodder and chickens says 1 square inch per day without having loose poo issues. I feed a 1/3 of a tray a day in the morning that would be about 35 square inches for my 24 Black copper marans and 6 Easter eggers. 

6 ... also a cluster) Is this a supplement to "regular" feed? If so, what is your "regular" feed? Or are you using this as your primary chicken feed?

  • For my 22 birds in the coop, they have a free choice Purina pelleted layer ration along with oyster shell. The feeder is kept full of feed (with a bit of diatomaceous earth sprinkled on it), but since we no longer close our coop at night (the design of our barn layout gives to coop an "alpaca moat" which eliminates all predators for us) they hardly rush through that feed preferring to forage the property instead. To call the layer ration my "regular" feed is a bit silly for me because they go through it at a fairly slow clip. Their "regular feed" is on the ground and with the barley fodder mats, they are the clean up crew.

I feed fermented with ACV  feed mill ground layer mash at night.When I get home from work. I would like to tell you the amount but it is 6 kitty litter scoops of fermented feed and two kitty liter scoops of dry mash mixed together in a bucket and fed in a 5 foot long trough. My chickens free range with guard dogs and there is oyster shell and granite grit sprinkled on the ground.

And my current favorite question ... 7) Do you use food-grade containers for soaking and sprouting?

  • I don't see the necessity for food grade certified containers for this approach. As long as a container is cleanable, you can sprout in it. My buckets are food grade certified (wash and presoak stage) and my grow trays are molded black plastic and very easy to clean as well.  In a fodder operation, where you are taking a mat to 7-9 days growth, cleanliness of the grow environment is imperative over the long term.  It is possible to produce very successfully at first, but then to experience a slow decline over time and more prevalent mold issues if controls are not taken to prevent.  Mold spores and yeast are in the air we breathe, consider closely the enivornmental factors over which types of trays to use or not use.

X2 exept I soak in a gallon jar

This is not in dispute to the helpful information that you provided. It is an addition to it. I only grow fodder for chickens so chickens is all I have researched the use of fodder for.

I am going to expand to feeding fodder, fermented feed and sprouts. 

My fodder system is automatic. There are 3 trays right now that drain from one to the next in a zigzag at the end the water is filtered and recycled. The water runs into the top tray every 6 hours very slowly for a half hour takes about another half hour to 45 minutes to drain all the way threw to the recycle basin where the pump is. The water in the recycle bin has to be changed twice a week as do the filters which are washable.

I am working on reducing the size of the grow trays to only be 11/2 inches wide that will be 45 square inches of fodder then I will add 3 to 4 more trays and the tray will be carried to the coop / run and double as a feeder. I tried 1/4 inch or seed instead of 1/2 inch but that left bare spots because of water wash out. I'm sure that more will change with this system as it probably will with yours, It seems like an ever changing thing for me every time I think that's it I think of a better way. I may even add flathead minnows some day to help keep the water cleaner and provide more nutrients to the fodder water. 

If I had a camera I would post pics.


Edited by pigeonguy - 11/30/12 at 5:19pm

Eveything I post is just In My Opinion.  No I don't have pigeons anymore.

Reply

Eveything I post is just In My Opinion.  No I don't have pigeons anymore.

Reply
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