Finding simple ways, to make your products go further is something very important to our family. We have hundreds of animals on our homestead and needed to find a better way of feeding them.
With fodder, we can quadruple our feed output for our animals just by sprouting trays of wheat seed for 8 days and quadrupling the amount of feed we get out of each bag for our animals. A 50 pound bag of seed can yield 200+ pounds of sprouted fodder.
Growing our own wheat fodder (wheatgrass) was an easy way to add additional feed to our animals while saving a bit in our budget.
We have been extremely successful growing wheat, barley and oats (although oats tend to be a bit harder to grow.) You can pick up recleaned wheat, recleaned barley and recleaned oats at your local feed store. We purchase our recleaned wheat from Warren’s in Chino Valley. I have found that their wheat seems to grow best for what I am needing.
Here are the things that you need to get started:
- 8 trays ($1 plastic shoeboxes work for starting. We use both those and heavy duty black planting trays)
- Shelf to hold trays (we have a metal shelf for one set and a PVC homemade shelf or the other set)
- Drill with drill bit to drill holes in bottom of trays
- Water collection bucket
- Pitcher or large jar. (or optional water pump and fixtures)
- Bag of wheat, barley or oats (recleaned are best) optional: additional types of seeds, black oil sunflower seeds or Austrian winter peas.
In order to make a successful system, you need to make sure that the water can flow through each tray and fall to the next tray down in a waterfall effect. The collection tray is at the bottom to collect all of the left over water that you can then recycle into your garden or other plants.
Here is a link to one of our posts on our website: http://krisandlarry.com/2014/12/05/update-on-fodder-our-system-is-working-great-2/
Mother Earth News has a GREAT list of how much fodder that you need to per animal:
- Horse: 2-3 percent of their body weight in fodder; 1.5% body weight in dry hay
- Beef Cow: 2-3 percent of their body weight in fodder; barley straw ration
- Dairy Cow: 3-5 percent of their body weight in fodder; barley straw ration
- Sheep: 2-3 percent of their body weight in fodder; hay ration
- Goat: 2-3 percent of their body weight in fodder; mineral and hay rations
- Dairy Goat: 3-5 percent of their body weight in fodder; mineral and hay rations
- Alpaca: 2-3 percent of their body weight in fodder; hay ration
- Pig: 2-3 percent of their body weight in fodder
- Rabbit: 3-5 percent of their body weight in fodder; hay ration for roughage
- Chicken: 2-3 percent of their body weight in fodder; grit and calcium supplements