Grazing Frame - Fodder Table Box - Continuously Grow Fodder & Seedlings & Sprouts For Chickens

Nifty-Chicken

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Hopefully that title was keyword-rich enough to have a good discussion on this topic!

Over the years I've seen various versions of this idea, but never got far with it.

The Basic Idea: Chickens have a continuously growing supply of fresh young greens, but don't have access to scratch them up / out so much that the plants are destroyed.

If you search for "fodder system" or "fodder tray" or similar, you'll find HEAPS of info about growing vast amounts of fodder from seed, THEN giving it to the chickens, but I'm more interested in building a "grazing frame" that is somewhat continuous and won't get destroyed by the girls digging up stuff by the roots!

@aart has an article on the idea here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/grazing-frames.73645/

... and I'd LOVE to hear more stories, ideas, experiences, etc. with these!

A few questions on my mind that I'd LOVE to get consensus on:
  1. What types of seeds / plants are best for a system like this? Which have you tried?
  2. What size wire mesh do you think is best and why?
  3. How high off the ground is too low, too high, or just-right?
  4. What have you done with this system to make it as trouble-free and successful as possible?
  5. What would you avoid?
  6. Any and all other tips, tricks, and/or experiences?
Great pic from @chickencoop789 :
 

Nifty-Chicken

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Might have better luck online?
Actually, I think I hit the jackpot!

First my GF and I went to a place called "Harvest House" with a BUNCH of stuff, and they even had a section just for sprouts:

1604528304574.png

1604528320166.png

We picked up alfalfa (for us and for chickens), and "hard red winter wheat".

Then we headed to "Concord Feed" where we found even more bounty!

5, 10, 20, and 40 lb bags of individual seed or "bird mixes".

I got a 20lb bag of the mix:
1604528434960.png


The added oil and cracked-corn may be an issue, but we wanted to give it a try, so my GF and I took a bunch of seed, soaked it in an apple-cider vinegar / water mix, and then separated the seeds out into cups:

1604528706913.png


Some of the stuff we separated didn't seem to be listed in the bag (like the wheat and what looked like quinoa):

1604528684801.png


In addition to the cups, I'm also going to put some mixes in various soil, etc. to see how things go. I also did a cup that I didn't pre-soak with vinegar and didn't sort... to see how it goes.

If some seed does better than others, we can order big bags of just one type of seed.

It will be an interesting experiment!!
 

Nifty-Chicken

Administrator
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California - SF East Bay
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I love a good experiment!
I can't promise it will be "good", but hopefully it will be fun and productive ;)

Why the ACV...to fight mold??
I've read a lot of places that say to use it or (smaller amounts) of bleach to kill bad stuff and/or increase viability / probability of sprouting. I'm not 100% convinced, so that's why I'm testing without it as well.
 

ladybrasa

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I just had a few little square frames sitting around for a long time. Laid on floor of the run, filled with garden soil, sprinkled left over grass seed for the lawn in it liberally. Stapled hardware cloth on two and ran out so used chicken wire. Definitely use hardware cloth! It can take the chickens standing on top. Chicken wire not so much. The only thing I’m not sure about, is a few times the box just spontaneously died, so just replanted. Not sure if that is expected or not?
 

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