Growing Fodder

Over the past few weeks I have been busily growing fodder for our beloved chickens.  I  have a little system in place now so I can supply them with fodder a number of times a week.  

Eggsy and Floss enjoying their very first batch.


Before you begin growing fodder you need to soak and sprout your choice of seeds or grains.  My first choice has been to use barley and you can follow my introduction to sprouting barley followed by my sprouted barley to help get you started.

Once sprouted you can either feed the sprouts to your chickens or let them grow into fodder.

Before you begin you will need trays with drainage holes.  I have a four drawer cabinet which has been working out perfectly.



I have drilled holes in the top three drawers however left the fourth drawer as it catches the excess water.

Once I worked out what a 'chuck' was I eventually attached the drill bit.


As soon as the barley has sprouted I spread the sprouts onto one tray.  Twice a day I run the tray under cold tap water, let it drain briefly and then slide it back into the cabinet.

Whilst that batch is growing I then have another lot of barley soaking and sprouting.  Once sprouted I add to another drawer.  This way each new batch is ready within a few days.




It is important to keep the grains wet and not let them dry out.  In saying that it is equally important not to allow them to go moldy either.  Just make sure they are moist.
 
The sprouts take approximately five days to grow into fodder and at a length which is just right for our chickens.  The bonus about these drawers is that you can only grow the fodder to a certain height.  I only want short lengths of fodder so there is no risk of crop impaction.


After two days.

Fodder is ready at day five.

The sprouted grains bind together like a mat which makes it easier to remove the fodder in one piece.  You can place the whole piece into the chicken run or break it up a little.  I usually break it into four pieces.

Fingers were crossed when the day finally arrived to introduce our girls to their homegrown fodder.  After reading about how much chickens love their fodder I was quite excited however what happened next still surprised me.  The second I placed the fodder on the ground their behaviour changed dramatically.  They did not care about anything or anyone and stood on whoever got in their way.  There was a lot of pushing and shoving and anyone would think they hadn't eaten in days.  Safe to say they love their fodder.


Well that certainly showed their 'other side.'


I will keep my system going as not only do they totally divulge every crumb it is also very healthy for them.  Next I will use sunflower seeds and slowly build up a variety to supply them with different tastes and health benefits.

Such a good feeling learning something new, seeing our girls thoroughly enjoying it and knowing how good it is for them too.




5 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this. Once we have chooks I would like to try something similar.

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    1. My pleasure and I hope it helps you when the time comes.

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  2. That is a really great system Kylie. It seems like your "girls" were extremely happy with their fodder (aren't they funny?!) and like you said, so healthy for them too.

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  3. That's great, Kylie. You are such a good mum to your chooks.

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  4. Thanks for sharing your system Kylie, I'm going to share it with my daughter-in-law. I did sprout wheat for their chooks at one time, but couldn't get a system going that gave a regular supply - your will certainly do that. Cheers, Lyndie

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