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

gtaus

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Mar 29, 2019
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Half a cap in how much water?
I grow my fodder in Dollar Tree dish bins which hold 2 gallons. So, when I do add bleach to my water, it is about half a cap per 2 gallons.

I bought a ~1 gallon jug of bleach last year at the Dollar Tree and still have about 75% left in it. I fed my chickens barley fodder all last year and can't remember throwing any fodder out due to mold issues. I sometimes also use a small amount of bleach to clean out the fodder bins between use, but most of the time I find just dishwasher soap and water is enough to clean the bins. Anyway, bleach is really cheap and it is a good disinfectant.
 

MissE

Chirping
Oct 17, 2020
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Northern MN
Used to grow fodder when I had meat rabbits. I used 10x12 inch stacking bins generally used for garage organizing. They were similar to this, but cost less:

https://www.uline.com/Product/Detai...yl-llwsbuzkpSgc_QPxoCThYQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

I drilled holes in the bottom for draining. I set a grate over the laundry sink, and stacked them. I would flood the bins twice a day using a short hose attached to the faucet. I think I used 1/2 lb of winter wheat per bin and fed them after 7 days. I would rotate them each day. New went on the bottom and the top bin was dinner.

I tried feeding to the chickens, but they didn't like the mats. The preferred 4 day old sprouts, so I just sprout the grain now in quart Mason jars. I use 1/4 cup of wheat and a tablespoon each of clover and alfalfa seeds. I use it as a daily treat, so if I wanted it to be the majority of their feed, I'd use the bins again. The main problem using the jars is getting the sprouts out, but the don't take up much room. I'm in northern MN, so there are only a few months a year where they can access fresh greens outside.
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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Sep 2, 2018
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I just want to say thank you to the person who put this out there.
Iv been raising fodder for my birds for almost a year now. Took allot of trials tubs what have you but I raise it in a oversized Bath tub I will never use.
My Geese are grazers but we had a drought this year. I spent most of the summer planting winter wheat and barley for them. Our fill in has been fodder
time it takes now that winter has set in is worth every second I put forward.
I only do Barley its the easy one and they like it. not just the geese but in the morning my runners call out till they get it and my geese eate theres every night they would rather forage and play in there pond during the day.. Its not a full food source but it is a great pasture food when the birds cant get it. And mine all love it.
Again thankyou to
WannaBeHillBilly

that shared this with all "here" it is Fodder season all year round.
and my waterfowl appreciate that.
You are actually thanking the wrong person: Without @gtaus fodder tower story i would not have started to grow fodder last fall!
Thank you @gtaus for sharing your story and the fodder-tower idea!
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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I grow my fodder in Dollar Tree dish bins which hold 2 gallons. So, when I do add bleach to my water, it is about half a cap per 2 gallons.

I bought a ~1 gallon jug of bleach last year at the Dollar Tree and still have about 75% left in it. I fed my chickens barley fodder all last year and can't remember throwing any fodder out due to mold issues. I sometimes also use a small amount of bleach to clean out the fodder bins between use, but most of the time I find just dishwasher soap and water is enough to clean the bins. Anyway, bleach is really cheap and it is a good disinfectant.
The dish-bins are only used to grow fodder, they never come into contact with the outside.
I clean the bins between use only with hot water (my wife insists that the boiler here is turned to lava-hot) and let them dry out entirely, face down, so that no dust (and spores) can fall inside. Letting the bins dry out entirely is important and the reason why you should have some extra bins.
The most important step is to thoroughly clean the grains before soaking them for some hours. Remove everything that floats and everything that is not grain. I wash the wheat three times in a ½ gallon cucumber jar:
  1. Fill the jar up to the neck with warm water, put the lid on and shake it violently. - Careful that it doesn't slip out of your hands. Let it settle for a moment and pour out the water and everything that swims in it or on top.
  2. Repeat step 1 with less water - The water should remain significantly clearer than in step 1 and there should be much less swimming debris.
  3. Fill the jar to 1/2 with warm water and add a "spritz" of bleach, shake and let it sit for a minute then drain the water and fill in fresh water for soaking.
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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Sep 2, 2018
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Used to grow fodder when I had meat rabbits. I used 10x12 inch stacking bins generally used for garage organizing. They were similar to this, but cost less:

https://www.uline.com/Product/Detai...yl-llwsbuzkpSgc_QPxoCThYQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

I drilled holes in the bottom for draining. I set a grate over the laundry sink, and stacked them. I would flood the bins twice a day using a short hose attached to the faucet. I think I used 1/2 lb of winter wheat per bin and fed them after 7 days. I would rotate them each day. New went on the bottom and the top bin was dinner.

I tried feeding to the chickens, but they didn't like the mats. The preferred 4 day old sprouts, so I just sprout the grain now in quart Mason jars. I use 1/4 cup of wheat and a tablespoon each of clover and alfalfa seeds. I use it as a daily treat, so if I wanted it to be the majority of their feed, I'd use the bins again. The main problem using the jars is getting the sprouts out, but the don't take up much room. I'm in northern MN, so there are only a few months a year where they can access fresh greens outside.
That is ingenious! A fodder tower without the tower!
This could be used to produce smaller amounts of fodder for smaller flocks or some extra treats for a larger flock to keep the mood up during the cold and gray winter season.
I think i will drive to the local Dollar Tree and buy a dozen of these today:
1607190290330.png

It just dawned me: I could use those stackable bins in spring to pre-grow vegetables in the house.
 

gtaus

Crowing
Mar 29, 2019
2,115
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Northern Minnesota
My Coop
Used to grow fodder when I had meat rabbits. I used 10x12 inch stacking bins generally used for garage organizing. They were similar to this, but cost less:

https://www.uline.com/Product/Detai...yl-llwsbuzkpSgc_QPxoCThYQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

I drilled holes in the bottom for draining. I set a grate over the laundry sink, and stacked them. I would flood the bins twice a day using a short hose attached to the faucet. I think I used 1/2 lb of winter wheat per bin and fed them after 7 days. I would rotate them each day. New went on the bottom and the top bin was dinner.

I tried feeding to the chickens, but they didn't like the mats. The preferred 4 day old sprouts, so I just sprout the grain now in quart Mason jars. I use 1/4 cup of wheat and a tablespoon each of clover and alfalfa seeds. I use it as a daily treat, so if I wanted it to be the majority of their feed, I'd use the bins again. The main problem using the jars is getting the sprouts out, but the don't take up much room. I'm in northern MN, so there are only a few months a year where they can access fresh greens outside.
I like your solution, growing fodder in stackable bins. I notice that your stackable bins are about the same size as the Dollar Tree dish bins I grow fodder in on my fodder tower. But you only use 1/2 lb. of seed. I use 1 lb. of seed in my bins to get a nice root mat. I found that if I only used 1/2 lb. of seed per bin that the root mat was too thin and the fodder did not hold together. Do you have that problem? Or do you prefer a very thin root mat?

My chickens love the root mat. In fact, some of the chickens prefer the root mat over the green blades of grass. But everything gets eaten pretty fast.

The only place I have seen stackable bins is at our local Menards, and they are not cheap. Your link has them listed at just over $1.00 per bin, that would be a great option if I read that correctly. At my Menards, stackable bins of that size are $8.99 each. I was not willing to pay out about $100 for 10 plastic stackable bins to grow some fodder. But if you can get them for just over $1.00 per stackable bin, that is a game changer.

Menards: Quantum Storage Systems® Clear 11"W x 5"H x 10-7/8"D Stackable Bin


I typically feed my fodder at about 8-10 days, and by then the grass is maybe 7-8 inches tall. So, your 5" bins stacked on top of each other would not allow that, but maybe work just fine if you feed the fodder at day 5-6 instead.

Also, on my fodder tower, I have the bins slightly tilted for better drainage. Do you find the holes you drill on the bottom of the stackable bins to provide adequate drainage? Any chance of a picture of how many holes you drill in the bottom of those bins?

Anyway, I loved your idea of using inexpensive stackable bins. Thanks.
 

gtaus

Crowing
Mar 29, 2019
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Northern Minnesota
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I used 10x12 inch stacking bins generally used for garage organizing. They were similar to this, but cost less:
Yeah, I went online to maybe order some of these stackable bins, but in the checkout they were $7.35 per bin. I must have misread the ad, because I thought there were 6 bins per carton and the carton was $7.35. But in the checkout, it states minimum order of 6 bins at $44.10. You have to order in quantities of 6. So 12 bins would cost $88.20. And the shipping cost was over $23.00. So, over $100.00 for that setup. I did not place the order.

Do you remember where you got your stackable bins and how much they cost?

I think one of the biggest selling points on the fodder tower I built was that I spent only 10 dollars total on 10 Dollar Tree dish pans and used scrap wood for the tower. It was a cheap way to see if you really want to try to grow fodder or not. I do like the idea of the stackable bins, and wonder if it might be possible to convert the cheap dish pans to a stackable design. That might be another option if workable.
 

Sally PB

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Aug 7, 2020
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Think there is a side trip to the dollar store on my next grocery shopping trip... and a trip to a feed store for some barley or wheat.

Greens of any kind are getting scarce. Gonna grow sprouts for the chickens till I can get some fodder going. This thread is such an inspiration!
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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Sep 2, 2018
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Big Chimney, WV
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Think there is a side trip to the dollar store on my next grocery shopping trip... and a trip to a feed store for some barley or wheat.

Greens of any kind are getting scarce. Gonna grow sprouts for the chickens till I can get some fodder going. This thread is such an inspiration!
It is colleagues like you why i have started this thread! Be inspired and do something good for your chickens, they will thank you with better and more eggs. - My ducks went from 3-4 eggs per day to now 9-12 in one month of fodder being added to their diet.
And please keep us updated on your progress!
 

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