Dried pelletized fodder anyone?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by frenchblackcopper, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. frenchblackcopper

    frenchblackcopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With todays rising feed costs,and people wanting to save more money,if you have the land space available,the skys the limit. Our laying chickens are getting rather old and not too productive anymore.They should all be going to freezer camp but at some of their ages I doubt a pressure cooker would make them palatable.So,this winter I have been researching meat rabbits. Mainly American and Silver Fox breeds.

    I see many advantages to rabbits,1) No hard feather plucking 2) Meat is higher in protein,and less fat.3) Instead of waiting 6mos to get eggs,rabbits are 3/4 grown by this time.

    I'm sure many can give opposite views pro and con to each,,sure I like eggs but for a family of just 3,buying a dozen that lasts for a week is cheaper and less risk than raising or buying,then maintaining-feeding chickens.We have over 100 peacocks now,(I know,their a cash cow too) but the rewards of breeding them if only for 3-4 months a year far exceeds what little it takes to put a smile on my face.

    As with everything,feed is the main imput. Granted Peacocks don't eat as much as chickens do but they are very finicky eaters,often leaving the most needed ingredients of the feed at the bottom of the feed bowls,mainly the soybean meal and alfalfa meal.

    I've done a lot of reading up of raising your own fodder,and rabbits are especially fond of this feed. But once again,each day you feed this,in order to have the feed available 7 days from today, you must soak and start fodder. I do not have the time daily to soak seeds,and spread seeds in trays for germination and growing but what to me makes more sense is to spend one night a week,or a half day on weekends to start enough fodder to last an entire week.

    I'm going back and forth here somewhat,but for my peacocks to get 100% of the nutrition I put into the feed,it all needs to be pressed onto feed pellets. Fodder I believe,if taken out of the trays at 6-7 days when it's at it's peak in protein levels,put in a cool,dark room with a dehumidifier in it,could be dried down to a level low enough to make pellets out of.

    I'm trying to justify making myself my own pellet mill,to make peafowl feed and want opinions on drying,then pelletizing fodder for rabbits too.. It would much the same as cutting hay,it is cut,left to dry,possibly turned once and when it's dried down enough,it is then baled.

    If anyone that has a slight amount of mechanical-shop-welding abilities,you can make yourself a pellitizer for maybe a few hundred bucks,as I'm hoping to start building by months end.I cannot see paying $2000 for something that is so simple in design,and initial cost. So my questions are,anyone here have their own pellet maker? Anyone ever thought of drying fodder and growing enough at one time to last more than 1 days worth of feed? And if any mechanical gurus out here wants to exchange ideas on making your own pellet mill,please pm me,,,thanks
     
  2. fintuckyfarms

    fintuckyfarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't understand, why dry it when fresh is best! Admittedly I only have 12 chickens but it only takes about 10 minutes a day and that is all by hand. I plan to automate my system as it gets bigger but even when I doubled production it didn't double the time, it just added an extra minute or two. This is my current system and it was only about 30$ to start then I doubled the containers at 97 cents each. [​IMG]
     
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  3. frenchblackcopper

    frenchblackcopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    East central Illinois
    Drying it down, then making pellets out of the fodder would give me much more free time and also allow me to build up a surplus of feed. Granted, pellets can be made from anything including grass clippings if the grass has been allowed to dry. Pellets are best made at around 12-15% moisture, which is the same dryness that is used when storing grain such as corn-wheat and soybeans. I would rather spend 1/2 day sprouting-and pelletizing, than every day mess with it. I've read the protein of barleygrass is around 30% but commercial pelleted rations are 16% protein, which is what the breeder I'm working with feeds. By drying the fodder down to 12-15% moisture I would have to believe the protein level would drop but still be in the 15% range suitable for rabbits. If you think of alfalfa pellets that are commercially bagged then sold, the exact same principals has to be used in drying, then pressing them. It would be very possible to work hard for a few weeks growing fodder then pelletizing it and go for a few months before needing to grow-pelletize again. Growing fodder requires certain temps and humidity and if you don't have a building or place set up with controllable levels, growing spring and fall would ease these controllable needs in growing.
     

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