Growing fodder for chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by pawtraitart, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. I've been trying something a little different in the last week or so.

    I soak my grains first in a weak bleach solution. I try to remember to only soak them this way for like the first 30 minutes to an hour but often I forget until the next day that I have grains soaking... anyway... I use a lot of yogurt containers and this is what I soak them in. After draining, dumping them into a colander and rinsing well, I put them back in their soak container (after rinsing it out really well) and leave them there. They seem to like weight on top so I stack my yogurt containers with the soaked seeds and for the top one, I just put a couple inches of water in it for the weight. I take and rinse daily. Then, once the grains have lots of nice little rootlets growing, I put them into a pan that only has one hole in the corner for drainage. I rinse really well with lukewarm water. You can see bits of stuff come up with the water. I rinse until I don't see this happening any more.

    I'm thinking that milky stuff that comes off might be either just starch or maybe some mold spores that were trying to get a foothold in my pan. There is also something else that comes up, it is more chunky but still little tiny pieces that float... I wash them all away.
  2. UrbanMamaHen

    UrbanMamaHen Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2012
    Southern California

    I use a plastic bin with no cover. For moisture, I've used apple, carrots, potatoes - whatever I have that I could spare. Don't peel the fruits or vegetables. Keep the cut side up to keep the substrate dry to prevent mold. I use 100% wheat bran as substrate, and put several layers of paper towls and brown paper (from grocery bags) on top to give the worms and beetle places to nest. The paper makes it easy to "harvest" the worms. I just lift the top piece of paper, and gather the worms that are on bottom layers.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  3. Oregonbeek

    Oregonbeek Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 18, 2013
    I used barley and made a tray of fodder in my utility sink about a year ago. It took a few failed attempts but we got it working perfectly eventually.

    My question is: Has anyone tried giving fodder to quail? Wouldn't it be a good way to lower feed costs for quail, which tend to be a bit higher than chicken feed because quail require higher protein levels than chickens?

    If anyone knows anything about giving fodder to quail I would LOVE to hear about it!

    Thank you!
  4. FreedomLover

    FreedomLover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2010
    I read this thread and now have 1 tray (one of those noodle bowls you get at the grocery for $0.99 lol) with sprouting wheat and another batch of wheat soaking. I'm going to try this for the roosters and our rabbits. May give some to the hens as a "treat". :)
  5. corancher

    corancher Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2007
    I have quail but have not given them any of the fodder yet. I will give them some this weekend and post on how they like it. At this point, the fodder I am making has been in addition to regular food for the geese, ducks, chickens, guineas, and turkeys. I can tell on the days that I feed the fodder the consumption of the regular food goes down which is a good considering the cost of feed.

    I thought I would mention that the guineas love the fodder. I think they like it best of all the birds that I have given the fodder to.

    All of our birds are nuts over the fermented feed so I am going to up production. I am using the bucket with holes inside another bucket method which seems to be working okay. No more big mess.
  6. fireflyhatchery

    fireflyhatchery Chillin' With My Peeps

    I feed fodder of barley to my quail right now and they absolutely love it! Just watching them scratch and peck and just eat it all up is quite a site to see. Plus the fodder last a lot longer as a feed source too.
  7. DMRippy

    DMRippy Pallet Queen Premium Member

    May 18, 2011
  8. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY

    Got my wheat soaking :D i always forget how much it sucks up water ! :D
  9. spiritrancho

    spiritrancho Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 7, 2013
    I ended up abandoning the pumped recirculating water. Now i water by hand and drain to the orchard. At first I recirculatedused fish water from my aquaphonic system but the high starch killed all my plants and the crawdads. In my home wheatgrass system I use misters on a timer but drain to a pail to be emptied into a drum to dilute urine for the garden.
  10. Phottoman

    Phottoman Chillin' With My Peeps

    How to grow fodder, for the person/people that haven't already read the whole thread, here is a synopsis of what I have been doing to get grass from barley
    1. Get the amount of seed that you need. Roughly one half pound of seed for every square foot of tray space. I've found I use a little less, but this is a pretty good general rule.
    2. I use a half-gallon milk container. Cut the top so that the handle is attached, and the side is down, make’s a scoop out of the container so you can easily pour your seeds in. (you can use many different containers, depending on the amount of seeds you want to grow. I use the milk container, so that is what I will refer to throughout this process…)
    3. Drill some 1/8 to ¼ inch holes in the bottom so the water can drain out.
    4. Place your seed in the modified milk container
    5. Get a large container (an old stew pot, a large tote, a 5 gallon bucket, anything along those lines) and put in a 1 gal to 1 tbs bleach mixture. Make sure that there is enough water to cover your container holding your seeds, but not so much as to flood them out of your container.
    6. Place your milk container with the seed in it, into your larger container with the bleach solution. The water should cover the seeds.
    7. Wait 6-8 hours while your seeds soak. During this time, the bleach solution is killing any residual mold or bacteria that may be present on your seed hulls. At the same time, the water is softening the husk of the seed, and kick-starting the germination process. I usually begin the soak in the morning. This is the only point in which you will be using bleach solution.
    8. Remove your milk container of seed from the bleach solution. Place somewhere it can drain. I usually do this right before I go to bed.
    9. After about 12 hours (or in the morning), rinse your seeds with fresh water (NO BLEACH), still in their milk container.
    10. Place back in the draining area
    11. 12 more hours (right before you go to bed), rinse again, place back in drain area
    12. 12 more hours (in the morning), rinse again, place back in drain area. At this point you will start to see small roots coming out of the seeds. This is the point at which you will place the seeds into their flat container.
      1. Flat container: I use seed starting trays that measure 11" X 22". They came with no holes drilled into them. I drilled holes along one end so I can stagger the trays and they will drain into each other. The key is to get the trays set so that the water will drain completely out.
      2. Spread the seeds evenly in the container. The seeds should be about 2-3 seeds thick, just covering the bottom.
      3. Place tray in an area with some air circulation. DO NOT COVER OR IMPEDE AIR FLOW AS THIS PROMOTES MOLD GROWTH
    13. Every 12 hours, rinse the seeds heavily with water, but ensure that all the water drains out within 3-4 minutes.
    14. After 3 days, you will see little green shoots starting.
    15. After 4 days, there will be definite shoots 2-3 inches high. For chickens, this is as far as you need to go, but you can continue the full 7 days to get the most nutrition and fodder for the buck!
    16. After 6-7 days you will have 6 inches of green, and nice white root mat. If you notice any discoloration or mold, you need to make sure to adjust your water and air circulation. Standing water will be your enemy!
    17. Pull the fodder, roots and all, from the tray, and give it to the lucky animal of your choice! One 11 x 22 tray is enough to feed 30 chickens, so plan accordingly with your seed quantities!
      If you are still reading, I made a few changes, some for the better, some not.
      I bought storage trays from Walmart, they turned out to be very effective for all of this, and I place one on top of another with the drilled holes staggered from side to side. Place the tray with the holes on opposite sides from the one below it, so your water will run down into the tray beneath it, then that water will flow across the tray and into the one below that one and so on.
      I bought the lumber I need to build a stacking system for in the house instead of having all these trays in the kitchen where we constantly have to walk around them.
      I soak my seeds in the bleach solution for 24 hours instead of the eight hours called for here, it seems to work better for me, and I have had NO MOLD problems at all. Others have to remove some of their seeds due to mold and other problems, but I have had NO PROBLEMS with any of mine and I have been doing this for several months.
      I never went the gallon container route, I went from the bucket that I soak seeds in with bleach directly into the first tray and then started another batch in the bucket. I water this tray twice a day, morning and night, then when I dump the second bucket of seeds (24 hours later) into the new tray, I place that below the first. Then each day as I add a new tray of seeds from the bleach soak, it goes on the bottom of yesterdays seeds in a new storage tray. You can go as high as you want, but I felt uneasy about seven or eight trays stacked so I broke it up into two towers. THAT'S why I am building a storage rack for all of those trays. When I get it all completed I will take a picture of it so you can see what I am talking about. Each row of trays will be tilted down on the end that has the drainage holes, just a half inch is all that's needed, then it drains to the tray below it, and that goes to the tray below that one, all the way to the bottom and there is one last storage bin (same size) with NO HOLES, so right before I water the top tray, I empty the water and give the top tray about a half gallon of water to drain all the way to the bottom.
      (whew) I didn't mean for this to be a book, maybe I should do a video and post that on YouTube, eh?
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
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