Growing fodder

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by FlutterbyChicks, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. FlutterbyChicks

    FlutterbyChicks Chirping

    Jan 21, 2015
    Hi all. Haven't even gotten my chicks yet, but I'm already thinking ahead with feed.

    I've started to read through 2 fairly big threads regarding the subject of fodder, but I have a hard time sifting through that many pages. 2 quick questions.

    1. If I grow say, a tray of black oil sunflower seeds, a tray of wheat, and a tray of barley (or multiple of each), and supplement with some scratch and some meal worms, will this be enough for the chickens? Or would I still need to supplement with a feed?

    2. How much fodder should each chicken get per day? Pound wise or square inch, whichever way is easier to answer.

    I love to garden, so I'm not worried about the work involved. I just want to make sure I'm prepared.

  2. Nupe

    Nupe Songster

    Jun 13, 2014
    If you want a balanced diet for your chickens, commercial feed is it. Scratch is not much more than candy and sunflower seeds are also a treat and should be limited. I'm guessing that you will be collecting eggs and not raising meat. You will need to provide extra calcium, either in a layer ration, oyster shell on the side or both. If you do provide extra food in table scraps and free ranging, I would provide both.

    Because of predators and neighborhood dogs, I cannot free range so my flock lives in a fully enclosed run. I also have roosters, so feeding a layer ration is not ideal. For my 16 hens and 2 roosters, I free feed a 20% protein pellet and provide oyster shell and grit in separate cups. This would be considered sufficient for the health and production of my flock but I also wanted to give them more and considered exactly what you want to do. The more research I did, the more I realized I would be attempting to reinvent the wheel when it comes to chicken nutrition and I wouldn't do a very good job of it.

    I still decided to provide fodder for my girls as an experiment over the winter when grass clippings weren't available and I must say I'm quite happy with the results. I could always tell the difference when chickens are free ranged or not in the eggs, with these, I really can't.

    I combined 3 parts wheat, 3 parts barley, 1 part sunflower and 1 part winter pea in a bucket and sprout 2 cups of it per day in a Walmart shoe box sized container for the whole flock. After 1 day of soak and 7 days of rinsing I have around 3.5 lbs of fodder. Before feeding, I sprinkle 1 cup of scratch on top as "icing on the cake." To keep the frenzy down, I just rip the fodder cake in several pieces and toss it all over the run. First they eat the scratch, then go for the seeds still attached to the sprouts and then the sprouts themselves. Within a couple of hours, its mostly gone. A few sprouts get missed or buried in the wood chips in the run which continually provides a bit of entertainment to scratch around and find them.

    With this as a daily routine, I buy one 50lb bag of food about every 2 weeks. The flock is still less than a year old. I expect their intake hasn't peaked yet and have been considering increasing their fodder grain to 3 cups per day.

    Hope my experience helps you.
  3. matt44644

    matt44644 Songster

    Sep 14, 2014
    Sanilac County,Michigan
    coarse food for livestock, composed of entire plants, including leaves,stalks, and grain, of such forages as corn and sorghum.
  4. racheous

    racheous Hatching

    Feb 1, 2015
    Ipswich, QLD Australia

    Our fodder on day 4 (wheat)

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