Guess what season it is in the Northern Hemisphere?! - Its FODDER Season! 🍀

WannaBeHillBilly

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No, i have not abandoned this thread, but an issue with the dog from an unrepentant neighbor required some immediate action. A duck was dognapped, one died and i am trying to install an electric fence without electrocuting me.

But i did grew some fodder! In the picture below you can see the mini fodder-tower bins with Field-Rape-Fodder (left) and Flax-Fodder (right), yes, that flax-seed that turned into an awful pudding did actually grow to a nice fodder and the ducks loved it:
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Unfortunately flax-seed is way too expensive to buy. It seems to be only available for humon consumption in microscopic amounts, like a pound or so; i have not found a source for actual flax-seed. Here's another detail picture of the flax-seed fodder:
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As for the field-rape fodder, it wore out: At first the ducks were crazy about the new taste, but after three or four days they stopped liking it and left it in the bowl.
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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As for the turnip-seeds: They turned out to be very, very sensitive to mold! In the morning the bin looked fine in the evening it was all blue/green mold and stank like rotten onions. Promised the ducks to use the seeds in spring to grow some turnip-greens…😖
Then i bought a bag of Wild Bird Seed at the local supermarket, it contains Milo, Millet and BOSS, sieved out the boss and tried to germinate the small seeds: Nada! Absolutely nothing sprouted. I am pretty sure that stuff is heat treated before bagging to sterilize the seeds.
Good thing is that the ducks like to phish for the little seeds in their supper-soup, so it is not wasted.
 

Sally PB

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I'm on my third batch of barley. One thing I did differently this time is rinse the seed several times during its 24 hour soak. I did 12 hours last time; totally forgot about it this time and it went for 24. Seems fine. One of the soaks was with some bleach/water for about half an hour. I mixed up a pint bottle of water and put a scant half teaspoon of bleach in it. It's for watering/rinsing if I see any slime/mold starting.

It's day three, and the little bit of water in the pan is still clear. I had a fight with slimy looking water in my last batch. I ended up rinsing it with bleach/water and then plain water on about day 5 and calling it done, even though it wasn't "done" yet.

I think the extra rinsing in the first soak helped get rid of excess starch that feeds whatever it is that turns into mold or slime. The soak with bleach/water is probably helping too. I'm putting that in my "notes for next time."
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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So barley has a lot of excess starch that you need to wash away?
That is weird, with the Winter Wheat i just fill the jar with the seeds once, discard everything that swims, fill up again with a little bit of bleach and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Basically for the time i need to pull the top bin with fodder out, shift all bins one up and flood the tower.
Then i drain the jar again, fill up with fresh water and let it soak. No excess starch or slime building material present after that.
 

gtaus

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FWIW, I have grown my new batch of barley seed into fodder and my results this time are only slightly better than the last bag of seed earlier this winter. I am only getting about 20% germination on this new bag of barley seed, but, at least no mold. I have tried different initial soak times of 6 hours, 12 hours, and 24 hours and really don't see any difference in the germination rate. What does germinate grows beautifully, but at only 20% germination rate, about 80% of the seeds are just sitting in the fodder bins doing nothing. That is very disappointing,

I am giving my girls a full (1 pound dry weight) bin of barley fodder each morning, which is 80% just non-germinated seed and maybe 20% grass, so I cut back on the chicken scratch each morning which is mostly corn and grain seeds.

I am really glad last year I had good barley seed and got to see how great fodder can be. If I would have started off my fodder growing experiment with poor quality seeds like I got this year, I doubt I would have gone very far. I have tried a number of times to contact another feed mill a few towns down the road that sells "seed" quality barley, which should have almost 100% germination rate, but they just don't answer their phone - probably a COVID-19 shut down issue.

Well, my girls are getting a little fodder greens every day along with a good helping of soaked barley seeds that did not germinate. I don't know if they appreciate my effort in trying, but as with any fodder, everything gets eaten - germinated and grown into grass or not.
 

gtaus

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I think the extra rinsing in the first soak helped get rid of excess starch that feeds whatever it is that turns into mold or slime. The soak with bleach/water is probably helping too. I'm putting that in my "notes for next time."

If you find something works, it certainly is worth remembering. A short is almost always better than a long memory.

So barley has a lot of excess starch that you need to wash away?

That has not been my experience. But, I have learned this winter that successful fodder all starts with good quality seed. If you have poor quality non-germinating seed, nothing seems to matter - using bleach, extra rinses, soaking times, etc...
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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FWIW, I have grown my new batch of barley seed into fodder and my results this time are only slightly better than the last bag of seed earlier this winter. I am only getting about 20% germination on this new bag of barley seed, but, at least no mold. I have tried different initial soak times of 6 hours, 12 hours, and 24 hours and really don't see any difference in the germination rate. What does germinate grows beautifully, but at only 20% germination rate, about 80% of the seeds are just sitting in the fodder bins doing nothing. That is very disappointing,

I am giving my girls a full (1 pound dry weight) bin of barley fodder each morning, which is 80% just non-germinated seed and maybe 20% grass, so I cut back on the chicken scratch each morning which is mostly corn and grain seeds.

I am really glad last year I had good barley seed and got to see how great fodder can be. If I would have started off my fodder growing experiment with poor quality seeds like I got this year, I doubt I would have gone very far. I have tried a number of times to contact another feed mill a few towns down the road that sells "seed" quality barley, which should have almost 100% germination rate, but they just don't answer their phone - probably a COVID-19 shut down issue.

Well, my girls are getting a little fodder greens every day along with a good helping of soaked barley seeds that did not germinate. I don't know if they appreciate my effort in trying, but as with any fodder, everything gets eaten - germinated and grown into grass or not.
I too am experiencing issues with the fodder this year: It doesn't really grow into the same lush greenery than last year. The germination rate of the wheat is high, >80%, but it grows extremely slow and i barely get some green leaves, even after letting the bin sit in the window for two days. Maybe the garage is colder this year than last year?
I am growing some Wheat fodder now in the mini-tower in the bathroom to figure out what the problem is. Temperatures are much higher than in the garage, promptly causing some mold issues. I need to keep i drier.
I just wish somebody would press the fast forward button and skip February…
 

Sally PB

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I don't know if barley has excess starch... that might not have been the issue. The soak with some bleach probably did make a difference. I mixed up some approximately 1 tablespoon/gal ratio water. If I see any cloudiness to the water around the roots, I use that for the watering. I have seen a little bit of white fuzzy mold, but not much and the bleach water takes care of that too.

In the seed I bought, I found a few broken seeds and bits of chaff, but overall, the seed was very clean. Obviously, chaff and broken seed won't sprout, but will add unwanted contaminants to the water.

I have another dish of barley sprouting now. It's in a terra cotta saucer, like what you'd put under a plant pot. This batch is looking very good! I don't know if the porosity of the terra cotta is the reason, but I plan to use it again for the next batch. I have the saucer in a pie pan of water so that it doesn't dry out too much between waterings. The air is DRY in my house!
 

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