sprouts vs fodder

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by velacreations, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. velacreations

    velacreations Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 25, 2011
    Chihuahua, Mexico
    I have been researching sprouts and fodder systems a lot, lately. I would like to be able to replace grain my rabbits and poultry diets with this. But, the more I read, especially studies on fodder, I am starting to question whether I should just sprout the grain to 4 days, rather than go all the way to fodder.

    Here is a bit of info from the big fodder thread:
    Quote: Look at this document: http://www.qcl.farmonline.com.au/files/48/20/01/000012048/Hydroponicfodder.pdf

    It brings up some really good points about fodder and sprouts. Fodder at 8 days is 15% dry matter, 85% water. So, if you took 1 lb of grain and grew fodder with it, you get 6 lbs of fodder. But, that 6 lbs of fodder has only .9 lbs of actual feed, the rest is water. The original grain is 90% DM, so about .9lbs of feed.

    Sprouts at 4 days have 85% dry matter, and usually about 1.5-2 lbs per pound of original grain. So, at 1.5 lbs, that is 1.3 lbs of feed (more than fodder and the original grain).

    So, at first glance, fodder doesn't seem to add anything. But, then digestiblity comes into it. Whole grain is about 40% digestible, Fodder is 75%, and 4 day sprouts is 85%.

    From the figures above, that gives us the actual feed digested by the animal out of 1 lb of grain:
    Whole grain - .36 lbs
    4 Day Sprouts - 1.1 lbs
    Fodder - .7 lbs

    This leads me to believe that it is better to sprout to 4 days, which is the peak of digestibility, and at the point where carbs are converted to sugars for growth.

    It should be noted that protein does not actually increase in fodder. Concentration of protein increases, because DM drops so low. The actual weight of protein is the same as the raw grain. Fodder and sprouts do have more vitamins than the original grain.

    Are we hurting ourselves by sprouting all the way to 8 days? What are your thoughts on this?

    There is a lot of conflicting information out there on fodder, and most of the studies I have seen (that were not from fodder companies) seem to conclude that fodder is not the worth the effort. Sprouts, however, would be.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  2. Feanor

    Feanor Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2012
    Thank you so much for posting this info, its very interesting! I recently started sprouting with the sole purpose of maximizing the digestibility of feed to minimize the cost of having a flock of over 30 layers. I'm sprouting oats and by day 4 they are full on sprouts, I imagine that after that they just start converting energy into producing the chlorophyll and grassy bits, so I see the point of feeding them at day 4 instead of day 8. Sure, sprouts don't look as pretty as a mini green lawn in a bucket, but its a lot easier to toss at day four for maximizing the benefits of sprouted grain and not having to worry about the possibility of mold when you keep them longer.

    I think everyone on the sprouting and fodder threads should read this, it may change a few minds!
  3. Island Roo

    Island Roo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2012
    Duncan, BC
    I'd like to throw in "vs fermented" as fermenting will also increase the usable nutrients per pound of feed / grain.
    The problem i have with comparing whole grain vs ground is the ground product looses nutritional value the longer it sits before being consumed. Results in the lab will vary from results of a bag of ground feed that has been sitting for days or weeks.
  4. Mamabrinkles

    Mamabrinkles Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 28, 2013
    Grand Junction, CO
    What great research! Thank you!
  5. Sidhe13

    Sidhe13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 26, 2015
    Victoria, Australia
    I am looking at growing for my chooks. They currently have their own wee barley patch but I did wonder if sprouts were better! Now I know! Thank you!
    I would still like to grow an area of greens for them to scratch around in, but the barley will all go to sprouts now!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by