Is my math on this fodder feed cost breakdown correct???

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ashlieneevel, Mar 19, 2015.

1. ashlieneevelChirping

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Ok for the sake of simplicity let's say your only going to grow barley for fodder and use it as the primary feed. (this is more about the process i am coming to these numbers by as opposed to the specific seed being used -- math was never my strong suit)

I've found non GMO untreated barley for 24.99 for 48# plus shipping by ups ground delivery at a cost of 18.94 for a total cost of 43.93

If each pound of dry seed turns into 6 pounds worth of live plant fodder (some places say 7 lbs) than that equates to 48 x 6 = 288 pounds of feed per bag.

Now if 288 pounds of feed costs 43.93 that would make the feed cost per pound 43.93 / 288 pounds = 0.1525347222222222 cents

If a large breed chicken on average has a live weight of 7 pounds and a chicken requires 3% of its body weight in fodder that means the chicken would require
7 x 3% = .21 pounds of fodder per day (plus grit and calcium supplement) but for the sake of convenience we'll round that up to 1/4 pound of fodder per day.

And if Fodder per pound costs 0.15 cents than 0.15 / 4 = 0.0375 cents per quarter pound. Which translates into (minus supplemental grit and calcium) to

0.0375 x 365 days a year =\$13.6875 annual food cost to feed 1 single chicken.

If that chicken gives you 150 eggs a year

13.6875 / 150 eggs = a cost of 0.09125 an egg for a total cost of \$ 1.095 a dozen

Is that correct?

This would mean you could feed 3.2 chickens for a full year off this one bag

Can you really feed a chicken for 13 dollars a year?

(of course im not factoring in other expenses which would jump of the price some)

To me it, if my math is correct, this would be a no brainer to choose.

If my math is horribly off I apologize to anyone who may have gotten excited about the prospect i presented.

Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
2. Chris09Circle (M) Ranch

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No, your forgetting there regular feed that you will have to feed them.

3. ashlieneevelChirping

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New Port Richey, Florida
I appreciate your response but I wasn't forgetting anything because people can and do feed fodder as their "regular" feed. I chose, for the sake of simplicity, to list only one seed type as opposed to a blend created for better nutrition, I also noted that supplements such as grit and oyster shell are excluded in the cost break down as well as other misc. cost. The whole point of the post, as I had stated, was to see if I was mathematically coming to these numbers correctly because "math was never my strong suit". I hope you don't take this snarky because it wasn't my intention. Perhaps you just didn't read the post as well as I had hoped for which is surely a fault belonging to me due to the way I have worded things. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my post and give your input.

Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
4. chickengeorgetoCrowing

To make this as plain as possible, if you feed a chicken an increased amount of H2O in the form of sprouted grain, the increase in weight does NOT represent any increase in food value or nutrition. In fact the nutrition is less because a large part of the food value found in the barley is used up by the grains when the starch found in the barley is converted to plant sugars used by the barley to support leaf, stalk, and root growth. If this worked for barley, then it would be simple to extend your winter supply of firewood or heating fuel by simply storing your firewood in your swimming pool or adding tap water to your heating oil tank. I realize that this is an over simplification however the same principles apply. Good luck.

PS: The same reduction in food value applies to spent brewing grains, ie barley. They're called "Spent Grains" for a reason.

Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
5. ashlieneevelChirping

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It's my understanding that the peak spectrum of nutrients are available at 6 days of age in growth. http://www.foddersolutions.org/nutrition/ If the grain were left unsprouted, the digestibility, of the grain would be up to 30%, but once sprouted, that digestibility goes up to 80% due to enzyme inhibitors being eliminated. http://www.premiumfodder.com/en/facts/ Yes there is naturally an increase in water. Its a live plant. There is also an increase in water by feeding fermented grains. Barley however is extremely high in nutrients, and sprouted, the chickens are then absorbing up to 80% of those nutrients that that barely is already high in. I am certainly not an expert in fodder, but this is the information I keep coming across doing my research on not only this forum, but on countless other websites. Your examples weren't very good for what you were trying to express because trees don't sprout from cut fire wood and brewery grains are used for a complete different purpose than nutrition. In fact, the Zero Waste Research Institute claims 92% of brewing ingredients are wasted, according to a quote on http://beeractivist.com/2007/04/15/grains-of-possibility-ways-to-use-spent-brewing-grains/ Most of the waste is spent grain that still has lots of useful protein and fiber. Which is then often fed to livestock for that very reason.

Also, I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I and finding numerous things pointing to why this a good thing, and being met with people who give no documentation to support why its not. I'm not here looking for anyone' approval on the matter at all anyway. The title of this post was "is my math on this fodder feed cost break down correct???" not Do you feel this is a good thing to do. I'm not discounting that you know better than I because I'm quite sure there is a good possibility that you do know more about chickens, but I am also not an ignorant person. I am more than capable to thoroughly research a topic. What I am not equipped to do is to take unsupported claims as fact from strangers on the internet. If you have such information that I can see that points to why this isn't a good thing to do, I would be more than happy to look at it. I am all for hearing from both sides and better educating myself.

Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
6. Chris09Circle (M) Ranch

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People may feed fodder to there birds as a sole feed BUT it is no where health for them.
Chickens are not a ruminants like say cattle, goats, or sheep, there digestive system is very much different than a chicken and you could feed chickens all the Grit and Oyster Shells in the would and it will not help a chicken pull the nutrition they need out of grass alone.

7. ashlieneevelChirping

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New Port Richey, Florida
Well i'm certainly not contesting that their digestive system is different than ruminants, but all the information I am finding says that chickens are in fact capable of digesting and absorbing the available protein and nutrients found inside the sprouted barley. What I am not finding is anyone documenting what you, and admittedly many others, have contested about this ability. I would love to see this type of information so that I may better educate myself but thus far all I am finding is posts from so and so saying this and that.

8. ashlieneevelChirping

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Nov 24, 2014
New Port Richey, Florida
I did find this on animalfeedscience.com which argues against the nutrition of sprouted barley. I really am open to hearing both sides of the issue. I'm not some stubborn person with blinders on. Below it argues that the nutrition is more superior on day 1 and less on day 4 which in turn, to me, would mean day 6 is even worse. This is all very interesting to me.

Barley grain was sprouted hydroponically in the light at 21°C for 1–7 days. Samples were freeze-dried, ground through a 1-mm screen and analyzed for proximate nutrients, amino acids, minerals and fatty acids. During sprouting, weights of dry matter (DM), starch (NFE) and gross energy decreased markedly (P < 0.05). A smaller reduction in protein weight also occurred. Weights of ash and fat increased slightly and fibre increased markedly with increased sprouting time. Among the amino acids, weights of cystine, glutamic acid and proline decreased, whilst aspartic acid and alanine increased. There was a slight gain in Cu, Na and Zn due to the mineral content of the water source. The fatty acid concentration showed a significant (P < 0.05) positive relationship with growth period.
These results indicate that the younger the sprout, the greater its nutrient weight. Thus, it would appear that Day 1 sprouts are nutritionally superior to Day 4 sprouts which are currently being fed to livestock. It would also appear that field-sprouted grain, which is analogous to Day 1 sprouts in terms of gross physical appearance, would have a minimal loss of nutrients.

9. Percheron chickCrowing

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I am glad you are questioning the cost associated with feeding fodder. There is a lot of smoke and mirrors surrounding the practice. I'll be upfront and say that I think it's a terrible practice. Do it as a treat? Great but not as a sole feed practice. Your animals will starve to death. It is all about numbers. Understand that to analyse feed stuff, it is first dried to remove all the water. Here is the first lie of fodder. They do not tell you that the analysis they post is for DM and not as fed. Huge problem. If average fodder is 85% non nutritive water, how can the values be higher than the original product? For any animal to survive and produce, they need energy (calories) not pounds of feed. Potential customers zero in on the promise of #6 of fresh feed from one little lonely pound of seeds.

I think this is one of the easy rebuttals to the practice of feeding fodder to understand. The one think they should of included is DE (digestible energy). Once you know the moisture content, simple to add it back and calculate the fresh fodder energy value.
http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=11721

I'll speak about the practice of feeding fodder to horses and we can extrapolate the info to chickens.
On the Fodder Solution site, they boast that the average horse (1000#) will eat 5-10 Kg of fodder a day. Jill average horsewoman thinks that sounds reasonable. An average horse should eat 2% of their body weight a day in forage or about 20#. 20# of hay, 20# of fodder. Same thing right? No. Not even close. Hay averages 8% moisture. Fodder averages 85%. On 20# of product, hay dry matter would be about 18.4# while the fodder would be close to 3#. Who here believes that a 1000# animal can survive on 3# of stuff a day? Another smoke and mirror on their site is a reference to a study (again on horses) where the horses were fed this 20# of fodder and did super on it. The study was well done and the pictures show some nice animals and positive results. Oh by the way, the horses were also fed ad lib low quality hay. Well that doesn't change anything does it? Would you say fresh fodder is more like hay or fresh pasture? Fresh pasture obviously. If the average horse out on pasture consumes close to 100# of grass a day, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that this horse would also eat 100# of fodder a day? That's a long way from 20#. So use that approach with your chickens. Let's just say an average hen eats 4 oz of feed a day. Moisture content is less than 2%. How much fodder would you need to feed to get 4 oz of "stuff"? 4 oz divided by .15= 26.7 oz. Your hens would need to eat 1.6# of fodder a day just to get enough energy for basic survival.

It sounds like you really just need to get in there, do it and come up with your own results. Don't you think though that if the practice of growing fodder was as good as they make it out to be, the entire planet would be doing it? It could solve world famine in 6-7 days.

10. glibSongster

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Dec 8, 2007
Of course, fodder is salad, and should be treated like salad. a side dish. the meat is fermented feed (and meat itself).