Growing fodder for chickens

pawtraitart

Songster
12 Years
May 30, 2007
1,725
256
231
Idaho
In the interest of spreading my poultry feed budget, I'm growing fodder for my flock during the winter months. So far, for every one pound of seed, I'm getting 6 1/2 pounds of green fodder. They eat the seeds, the roots, and the green shoots. I prefer to use barley, but I haven't been able to get bulk barley this year so I'm growing wheat with a handful of black oil sunflower seeds per flat. Anybody else grow fodder for their birds?


 

pawtraitart

Songster
12 Years
May 30, 2007
1,725
256
231
Idaho
I soak my seed in a bucket that has holes which is set inside a bucket without holes. (Actually, it's a pair of empty plastic ice cream containers.) You want your water level twice that of the seed. Rinse your seed well before leaving to soak. The water should be clear. The next day, give the seed a very good rinse and then spread onto the tray. Below is a picture of a set of trays seeded with wheat which is a few days old and just beginning to sprout some green. Wheat grows pretty well and is less likely to mold than barley, (and can be grown at higher temperatures) but barley grows a thicker leaf than wheat so that's what I like when it's available. I gather up my trays in the morning and give them a good rinse in the sink (the tray with holes is nested inside a tray without holes....) and then set back on the shelf. If in doubt, it's better to water too little than too much. You do NOT want water to sit in the trays. Pour out the extra water after rinsing! The seeds themselves hold enough water to grow and usually only need a rinse once or twice a day. You want the seeds moist inside but not overly wet on the outside for very long or you encourage mold. I have my trays next to a window for light. In the middle of winter when it gets dark really early, I have a fluorescent light that turns on with a timer.


 

pawtraitart

Songster
12 Years
May 30, 2007
1,725
256
231
Idaho
It takes 6 to 8 days from start to finish. I usually get my seed from a local mill or farmer friends. If you don't have a local mill, the wheat grain sold in buckets at Walmart will work, it just costs more. It still works out to be pretty cheap when you consider how much food you are producing per pound. :)
 

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