Growing fodder for chickens

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

  1. pawtraitart

    pawtraitart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can get cleaned whole wheat at Walmart for around 12.00 for 22 pounds....or I can use poultry wheat that has some broken pieces in it for 8.16 for 50 pounds. Hey.....does anybody know the nutritional difference between barley fodder and wheat fodder? I know folks usually use barely for livestock, but I can't get any this time of year, only wheat. Would wheat fodder be okay for horses, sheep, pigs, and goats?
     
  2. RoyalPayne

    RoyalPayne Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you!! Vindication, and info. Now, I have 63 chickens, so I need help figuring out how many trays I would need every 6 - 8 days. I'm assumig this is a supplement, meant for once or twice a week. Yes? Space is no problem, trays are no problem, so 15 - 20 trays are possible, per wk. Any help, from anyone with larger flocks who do this would be an a bonus.
     
  3. melwynnd

    melwynnd Out Of The Brooder

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    Wheat is fine for all of them. I don't use Barley since it's so hard to find here. I would try your Poultry wheat first. The broken pieces won't sprout, but they will ferment during the sprouting process. which ups the available nutrients in them as well. If there aren't TOO many broken pieces you won't see much difference in your grain to Fodder conversion.

    Fodder can be used as a supplement, but most people use it as a main source of feed. Barley Fodder is slightly more nutritious than wheat, but I don't feel the difference justifies having to ship barley in. Wheat Fodder is still over 20% protein. The 12 tray system in the picture above should feed about 80 chickens daily will very little additional feed.

    Sherry
     
  4. DMRippy

    DMRippy Pallet Queen Premium Member

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    Has it really got EVERYTHING chickens need to feed as the MAIN feed? I think I would use it as a big supplement to their diet so as to cut the high feed bills, but I don't think I want them to miss some needed vitamins.

    Temp more than light.... interesting.... I have a room I could keep at 60 at night and then up it to near 70 during the day. In the summer those temps are about the same with out AC. Something to think about.
     
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  5. pawtraitart

    pawtraitart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Sherry. I've found that the poultry wheat sprouts pretty good. Each bag varies on how much is broken but I've been happy with it and I like the price! I'm all set for next year to get barley for next to nothing once the local farmers start emptying their granaries so I'll have a choice at that point.
     
  6. greenhorn

    greenhorn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been checking out this thread and doing some research about fodder feed set ups. I really think a hydroponic grow tent would be a great thing to use for growing fodder in. They have a nice bottom to help prevent leakage and other water damage from misting etc.. I could put one in my garage and use lighting to keep the tent warm. I think they would also work great for keeping the humidity at a desirable level. I was thinking about using a shelve system with lighting above so the sprouts can germinate on the darker lower shelves and the top 2 levels get light. . Maybe use solid colored shelves below the day 6 tray and a clear shelve under the top or day 7 tray.

    Would have to rotate each tray every day but I think that's how most of these fodder systems work anyway.

    So to do this i need to know how many lbs of fodder a chicken eats per day. From what I understand it's quite possible to grow 6 lbs of fodder in a garden flat. I'm guessing it might feed maybe 12 chickens a day? I read or watched a video somewhere that it was .05 lbs of fodder each day but that just seems too little to me.

    The other thing I was thinking is that fodder could be used to feed insects like crickets which has me on an entirely different topic again. Seems to go hand in hand with the topic and was just wondering if others have thought about this and what their ideas might be. Crickets and fodder might be a pretty good nutritional combination for winter feed.

    Also wondering if it would be a good plan to offer the birds different kinds of fodder. Like one day barley, the next say wheat, the next day BOSS etc. Seems like offering only one kind of grass might lead to nutrition problems down the road.

    I'm definitely interested in growing fodder and it probably won't be long before I order that grow tent, just need to figure out what size to order. Might even order another one for crickets...
     
  7. melwynnd

    melwynnd Out Of The Brooder

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    Fodder has a much higher vitamin and enzyme content than any grain. You could definitely increase your variety by adding some other types of sprouts such as BOSS, amaranth, alfalfa, etc. These additional and much more expensive seeds could be added in small amounts to your grain staple.

    Greenhorn,

    I believe you will find that your grow tent does not allow for enough air circulation unless you have a fan running. Because the Fodder is seeded so thickly (I find 3/4" in my tray to be ideal) it is very prone to mold as it gets taller. Closing it in like that will exacerbate that problem. Mine is designed to sit inside in open air. The water recirculates from a tub and drips back down in. I wouldn't worry about lighting as sprouts don't really need much at all and rotating trays is not necessary and adds a lot of extra work. My garden flat size trays average 12 pounds and can feed about 40 chickens.

    Sherry
     
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  8. Daloorashens

    Daloorashens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have those garden flat trays, but still wondering how I keep the wheat in them.... is it ok to loine the bottom with plastic that hs some holes poked in it for drainage??
     
  9. melwynnd

    melwynnd Out Of The Brooder

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    I buy the trays without holes and put in my own. You might try lining yours with some window screen..... That would keep the wheat in and let the water out.

    Sherry
     
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  10. pawtraitart

    pawtraitart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a different experience with wheat fodder as I only use one pound of seed per 10" x 21" flat which makes the seed layer less than 1/2 inch. I'm not using a hydroponic method at the moment. I soak the trays 1x per day for five minutes on average and don't have any trouble with the seeds failing to sprout. The key in my experiments has been making sure that the seed soaks up enough water without actually being wet all the time. Once they start to form a root mat, it's even easier to keep a good amount of moisture in the tray. Soaking/rinsing removes excess starch and prevents mold from forming in stagnant pockets. Also, for me, with a thinner layer of seed, I minimize mold. I am, however, going to go with the standard hydroponic drip/timer system next year to cut back on the time needed to take care of the flats. I want to expand my capacity beyond what I do for my birds.
     
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