Questions about Fodder

EBertram

Chirping
Jun 1, 2018
26
15
59
Hi, I am a newbie to chickens and had some questions about fodder. I choose to feed my flock organically while they have free ranged on about 8 total acres (ours and our neighbors) all spring and summer. However, for the past week there has been a hawk (no idea what kind) stalking my flock. So we have had them on lockdown in their coop until we can get a run built. All of that to say...can I fodder (is that even correct usage of the word) all of their feed? (I use all whole grains) Also, the recipe I use calls for corn (which I thought would be a good idea with cold weather coming). I did find a good organic corn , however, they will not eat it. I think they're spoiled, A few will pick at it but its always left on the ground. So if anyone can tell me what I could use to replace corn, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks is advance for any help!
 

wyoDreamer

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 10, 2010
5,426
9,476
531
NE Wisconsin
Fodder as spoken off on this forum, is typically germinating seeds and growing them to get young plants (fodder) that is then feed to your animals. The Fodder is the mat of plants you get when you put a mass of seeds in a tray.

I think you are thinking of "sprouting" your feed. Sprouting is putting the seeds in water and waiting for them to germinate and start growing roots.

The problem with sprouting your feed is that every grain is different and may need different amounts of time to sprout. So, by the time the corn has sprouted beyond roots to a little corn plants, the wheat will still be soaking up water and waiting to germinate and start growing roots.
I sprout popcorn for my chickens - but only to the stage of 1" roots. They love it. I happened to have an old bag of popcorn that was not popping good anymore, so I sprouted it as a trial run.
 

wyoDreamer

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 10, 2010
5,426
9,476
531
NE Wisconsin
To make my previous post short and sweet - I recommend that you sprout the corn and feed it to them that way, they will love it and it is easier for them to digest once it has sprouted.
Continue to feed the rest of your feed how they are used to getting it.
 

snow5164

Crowing
May 16, 2015
2,547
3,438
402
You could also try to ferment the feed, soak it in warm water for a few days . Feed it warm on cold days , you can add apple cider vinegar or garlic to it.

I have my birds in a covered run, I can be found picking buckets of grass for them :) its free but boy is my back sore
 

wyoDreamer

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 10, 2010
5,426
9,476
531
NE Wisconsin
I will rake up the grass after mowing, but leave the "picking grass" to our friends young boys who LOVE my chickens and pick them handfuls of grass.
Mowed grass clippings tend to have chicken treasures in it also, my girls will spend the entire day spreading a bucket of grass clippings thinly across the entire run looking for bugs and seeds. I frequently find grasshoppers with missing legs in the bucket - so I know there are yummies in there for them.
 

llombardo

Crowing
Mar 11, 2018
3,015
4,803
346
Illinois
You could also try to ferment the feed, soak it in warm water for a few days . Feed it warm on cold days , you can add apple cider vinegar or garlic to it.

I have my birds in a covered run, I can be found picking buckets of grass for them :) its free but boy is my back sore

I just started fermenting on Sunday. I did a second batch today and a third tomorrow, the first one will be on Wed and now I will be on a three day rotation for the winter. I add garlic, acv and Spirulina.
 

llombardo

Crowing
Mar 11, 2018
3,015
4,803
346
Illinois
Fodder as spoken off on this forum, is typically germinating seeds and growing them to get young plants (fodder) that is then feed to your animals. The Fodder is the mat of plants you get when you put a mass of seeds in a tray.

I think you are thinking of "sprouting" your feed. Sprouting is putting the seeds in water and waiting for them to germinate and start growing roots.

The problem with sprouting your feed is that every grain is different and may need different amounts of time to sprout. So, by the time the corn has sprouted beyond roots to a little corn plants, the wheat will still be soaking up water and waiting to germinate and start growing roots.
I sprout popcorn for my chickens - but only to the stage of 1" roots. They love it. I happened to have an old bag of popcorn that was not popping good anymore, so I sprouted it as a trial run.

How long did the popcorn take? And how long did it last? Do you just put it in a tray with dirt and water? How much sunlight is needed?
 

wyoDreamer

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 10, 2010
5,426
9,476
531
NE Wisconsin
No sunlight needed to sprout. No dirt. Just a plastic container - I used a very well washed margarine tub.
I put the popcorn in the container and soak overnight, make sure all kernels are covered with water. Drain water off and rinse. make sure all the excess water is drained off.
The next day - Add enough water to submerge the seeds and shake the container to make sure everything is loose and moving around - I do this to make sure that it rinsed really good. Drain off water.
Repeat the rinsing 2x a day - always draining off excess water. I think it takes about a week to sprout to the 1-inch root stage - which is when i feed out. I'm not really sure about that as my popcorn is getting really old.

A few years ago a red squirrel somehow got into the basement and it chewed open a 50 pound bag of popcorn and dumped it all over the floor. I have been sprouting that corn during the winter and spring for the birds. I am still finding little hidden piles of corn down there also...
 

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