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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by pawtraitart, Oct 3, 2012.
You are my hero. Thank you for sharing all the details and pics on your blog. This is great.
And thanks Michelle for starting the thread=)
Thank you to all of you! I am definitely give it a try!
Trying it here too. I've been trying to figure out how I'm going to give my poor geese some greens this winter.
This is a great idea.... I have thought about it, but I have 300 chickens. Not sure I could keep up, but it would help.
I have a couple of questions:
Could you not make a green house type container to grow them in so you would not have to water so much? or heat? They would stay warmer.
If they trays don't last long, I know they are probably that thin plastic like you get from the green houses when you by flats of plants, could you use plastic totes.... with tops?
I know when I start my plants for the garden I use a top to keep the heat and moisture in...plastic wrap works too. They don't need light till they sprout, right? Why do you have to water them 3-4 times a day? I ask these questions because I don't have that much water available and no way to get it to the garden.
Hopefully Michelle or melwynnd will chime in soon and answer your questions, I've only done it on a small scale, so I couldn't say for sure... I know you need to wash them frequently because you don't want them to get moldy, and you don't want the spot to be too warm, either, for the same reasons... but otherwise the experts would probably know...
Since this is done hydroponically you have to put your ideas of sprouting seeds in soil away. You soak the seeds for 24 hours before you place them into the tray. Since there is no soil, you have to water them multiple times a day to keep them moist or they will not germinate and sprout. It also helps rinse the starch away and keep the mold down. Barley is a cold weather crop so you do not want it to be hot. Ideal temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees. You also do not want the humidity to be too high or they will mold. We feed my 30 chickens one tray a day, plus they get to forage the rest of the day. During the winter we soak chicken scratch in milk to help them stay nice and plump. I have found feeding milk to my heritage breed meat birds increases their growth rate. So you would need 10 trays per day, we do 6 per day for our entire ranch with room to do 10 when we get cattle and fiber sheep. We plan on purchasing the FarmTek trays that are 20 feet long by 9" wide in the Spring. They have a 20 year warranty.
I've been doing some experimenting with my flats and I've found that I can cut back my watering to 1x a day if I "soak" the flat for about 5 minutes. My pans are nested so one has slits and the bottom one doesn't. In the morning, I add water to my flats, let them soak, and then drain them. So far, doing it this way I have had zero mold using wheat/BOSS. My fodder trays are next to a window. No additional lights are needed unless you want to grow them for longer than 7 days. I'm running 7 trays. Next year, I'm going to build a hydroponic system so that things are more automated. For now, I'm fine with soaking/draining by hand. It's a pleasant part of my morning.
Thanks. I can do 1 time a day, but 3-4 is too much. I am thinking I should do 7 trays a day, I could do 1/2 a tray a day in each pen. Mine don't get to free range. I would love to start this. Might have to work my way up to 7 trays a day. When I was thinking heat, it is already getting cold here at night. If they had a top or something it would keep the heat they get during the day in a little longer that would help I may just need to build my green house. That should help. I use rain water for most things We have water but it is on someone else meter so I limit my use.