Wouldn’t that have been great if I were able to add the labored breathing? You know you totally just read that in Darth Vader’s voice! Jeez, you all must think I’m a sci-fi junkie or something between Vader here and my buck being named “Seven of Nine”. That’s right folks… I referenced Star Wars and Star Trek all in one post. This actually has nothing to do with sci-fi movies, but I couldn’t help myself.
I have Trevor excited about
one of our next project! That’s rare enough for a celebration! We are going to be setting up our own fodder sprouting system. Huh wha? Basically, we will be using a combination of whole wheat and barley grain seeds to sprout into tall, nutrient dense food for our chickens and rabbits. We even hope to have converted all of our animals (except the bees of course) to a 90% sprouted fodder diet. The chickens will still need grit, possibly calcium, and will free range for bugs and the rabbits will still need hay for roughage. We want to get our animals off of processed, pelleted feed and on to a much more natural and delicious food source. Hold on to your pants…
image source: google images
I know what you’re thinking, but this is bigger and better than rinsing some seeds in a jar until they sprout. Sprouting fodder takes the idea of sprouting and lets the grain grow until right before the sprout gets its second leaf at around 7-10 days. This amplifies the grains natural proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymatic activity, omega 3s, amino acids, and natural hormones. Crazy stuff. Not only that (as if it weren’t enough), when you sprout grain in this way your feed expands in volume as well. When you start with a 1 pound bag of grain, you can end up with 3 to 8 pounds of sprouted fodder in about 9 days. What’s even better is that we can use the same sprouted fodder for the chickens, rabbits, and incoming quail year-round!
Our 50 pound bags of pelleted feed sits around for a few weeks and it certainly doesn’t multiply! So this is pretty much a win, win for the animals and for our wallet. And let’s be honest, our wallets do usually make the end decision right? Trevor is more than happy that our feed bill may very well be cut by two-thirds.
image source: google images
The main idea is to keep sprouting grains in a cycle. Every day you start as many trays as you feed in a day. So if I feed 2 trays of fodder to the rabbits and 1 tray to the chickens, I will use 3 trays of fodder and need to start 3 trays of seed grain every day. For a 9 day cycle, I will need about 30 trays (this gives me 3 extra trays for emergencies). Of course it will also depend on the size of the trays too.
We hope to have everyone fully on the fodder system by the end of March. As always, we will be sharing our setup and progress with you here and I have started a “Sprouted Fodder for Livestock” section on our DIY Projects page to refer to. Feel free to ask questions or hopefully even share advice if you are using a sprouted fodder system already! This should be fun!