Fodder for the girls

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by usedhobarts, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. usedhobarts

    usedhobarts Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2014
    Hi all, I just wanted to share my new experience with fodder. First and foremost my chickens nearly hyperventilate when I bring the fodder.

    I have been reading on this for some time and thought I would give it a shot and see if it as easy as most claim. If your disciplined enough to commit about 15 minutes a day of simple maintanance you can grow and feed your flock healthy fodder for pennies on the dollar.

    I'm going feed 24 hens and 1 horse fodder from October 15 to march 15. I just acquired 650 lbs ( 10 bushels) of certified red seed wheat directly from the field here . This field had no pesticides or herbicides used this year on the crop as the Minnesota weather was ideal for a weed less season. [​IMG]
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    I bought 20 five gallon pales w/ lids at Home Depot for 90.00. A bit of an investment but it allows me to store 600 lbs of wheat safe from rodents, dry and mold free in my garage in a very small footprint stacked. This investment will last for years.

    When reading online about fodder one thing I found was that the trays people used had to be replaced every so often. My thought was why or more importantly why so hard to handle. I'm using some commercial cambro containers as you see in the photos. These are full hotel size 6" deep and each container holds 2 lbs of soaked seed and produces 12 lbs of fodder every seven days. For me with 2 containers that is 8 lbs daily for my 24 girls and 18 pounds for my other girl, Maeflower, the horse. This will cut my feed bill by 75 % or so monthly. The crazy thing is that I'm not cheaping out to save money. I'm saving huge money and feeding my girls better.

    Below are the pics of day one thru 5. One thing I noticed about getting online info on fodder is that the people who are good at it withhold just enough info to keep you from building your own system. I will post some pics of my completed system in a couple weeks as I'm still experimenting on drainage angles and air flow to optimize my production.

    My point in this post is simple. Growing fodder is easier than tying shoes unless your fat like me. lol.

    I know some will ask why wheat And not barley? For me it's based solely on the fact that I live dead central in the most fertile, productive land in the country and beer is not paying the bills right now. No barley is grown around here lately. Set that aside wheat in fodder form is 20-24% protein. Barley is 12-15.

    I'm a newbie to chickens and I'm posting this so others can see how easy fodder is. I'm not going to try to sell you a fodder system. However if if your inherently lazy and like mine let me know lol.
     
    2 people like this.
  2. brains

    brains Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Really looking forward to your progress. I tried it but ended up with some mold type growth. Need to retry b/c they really loved it
    Ed
     
  3. usedhobarts

    usedhobarts Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2014
    What I'm finding is that it appears air flow is more of a factor which means more drain holes. I'm finding that when I grew a batch at slight angle with drain holes only on one end of the tray with intent of having the water drain into the tray below at the opposite angle the fodder grows thicker , taller and quicker on the end with the drain holes. They way my trays are designed I believe I can still use a gravity type flood and drain watering foremat with out angling the trays and using uniform holes throughout the bottom. It seems the fodder that is directly above air flow ( drain holes) sprouts nearly 100% of the grain.[​IMG]

    I'm going to run a test batch this week on a level based tray and see what happens. I have not got any mold as of yet. I'll update in a week with new test run results.

    Thanks
     
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  4. usedhobarts

    usedhobarts Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2014
    Hi, I'm on day six of my second test run. The results this run were amazing. In the first run I had unven growth with the bins gravity draining at a slight angle.

    I drilled more holes in the others ends and in the center. I also did this entire test run in my laundry room at a controlled 70 degrees around the clock with about 65 % humidity. There is no major direct sunlight in this room othe than thru the single window in the early morning hours. My bins sat level this time and my fodder is nearly twice as thick, taller , greener and I had nearly a 100% sprout rate. My first batch run I could pull the fodder apart by hand as the root matting was loose with quite a bit of un sprouted grain. I am now thoroughly convinced that a level tray setup will produce a more consistant fodder and I believe getting air flow from below thru drain holes through out the bottom of the trays played a key role also. My fodder this run will require a sharp knife to cut into smaller sections.

    I'll post pics of my completed system in a week or so now that I'm confident on the final design and will build it this week.

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    1 person likes this.
  5. brains

    brains Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2013
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    Nice job. How big and how many holes did you make. I only have mine at one end now but will lilely update if it proves to get a better outcome
    Ed
     
  6. usedhobarts

    usedhobarts Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, I'll post a pic of the bottom of the tray tomorrow after I remove the fodder on day seven.
     
  7. usedhobarts

    usedhobarts Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good morning, here is some pics of my drilling pattern change. As I previously stated I originally drilled just one end. You can see in the completed 7 day fodder both height and nice solid matting the new drill pattern produced. At 7 days I'll not getting a true 6/1 ratio in weight but closer to 5/1. This could be that I weighed it without any watering today but I'll be happy with a 5/1 production rate. If this holds true in a full run than I'm producing fodder at a cost of 13.3 cents per finished pound. For me that will equate to about a buck a day to feed 24 chickens .[​IMG]
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    1 person likes this.
  8. brains

    brains Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2013
    Geauga County, Ohio
    Thanks. I will have to try it in mine when this round is done. I have it in the garage which has 2 windows but not much light. They are growing and should be done in a few days
    I will post pics when I have a chance
    Ed
     
  9. usedhobarts

    usedhobarts Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2014
    I forgot, the bit size I'm using for the holes is 3/32
     
  10. usedhobarts

    usedhobarts Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2014
    Just a quick correction. My math was off on cost . The wheat cost me 8.00 per bushel (60lbs). That's 13.3 cents per pound of raw wheat. I'm using 2 pounds of wheat to produce 10 pounds of fodder. Essentially 1 bushel is giving me 10 pounds per day for 30 days. So that comes out to 26.6 cents per day to feed the 24 chickens. I'm going to go a full week with the chickens on 10 pounds of fodder per day and still give them unlimited access to layer pellets available 24/7. If I just feed layer pellets I go thru a 50 lbs bag a week with 24 adult large breed chickens. 16.00 per bag.

    If my projections are reasonably close I think the layer pellet consumption will reduce by 75%. In this case my feed cost will be 1.00 per bird per month. 24.00 total feed cost. Seems crazy but it seems this will be the case.
     

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