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FlyGap 09-12-2013 12:43 PM

Is anyone growing or feeding fodder?
28 Attachment(s)
I've been doing bucket loads of research on it.

I'm looking for a way to save money on chicken feed and a way to feed my horses better this winter. So far I love what I'm seeing.
With 40 chickens and more coming I'm going broke. I'm also 100% striving to be organic and non gmo as much as possible for us, the chicks, and the pony's.

Have any of you done it?
Where are you getting your seed?
I'm having a really hard time locating a cheap reliable source for BOSS, wheat, and the other grains.
What do you think is best for chickens and horses?

Fodder can be a complete high protein feed/supplement for horses with access to decent hay. Some grains sprout out at 30%!!! For the chickens I'm looking into this and supplementing with homegrown animal proteins such as worms, pill bugs, ground bone meal (from here), etc. Heck I'm even trying to figure out how to raise fish (Talipia). I really want to be self-sufficient and start growing my own, one of these days...

I'm not about to go out and spend a few grand on an automated system. I *think* I can do a good job sprouting in my storage room, it even has a window and stays cool in the winter. Temps would be too high for me in the summer in there. There are several DIY ways to do this on a small scale, and if all goes well I may try to build a walipini for year round if/when I get my mini-cows. Too bad I can't do a big production in my greenhouse!

jaydee 09-12-2013 12:45 PM

Do you mean some sort of Hydroponic unit?
They were very popular in the UK for a while then seemed to fizzle out quite a lot as there were problems with salmonella related to the watering system

FlyGap 09-12-2013 12:58 PM

28 Attachment(s)
Yeah, I see that.
Mainly the problem is with re-circulating the water, which just isn't a good idea because of the starches. Promotes mold and bacteria in the lines. That and the grains are fertilized with chicken manure.

I'm thinking about doing it in large tubs (add as little as possible peroxide/bleach) that will percolate down into the next, then throw it out/water trees.

jaydee 09-12-2013 03:02 PM

I don't know about that - could work
I knew someone years ago that had a livery (boarding) yard that bought a unit and had no trouble with it at all - we did buy some off him once for a horse we bought in the winter that was really thin and had a sore mouth - went down really well!!! He used barley I think
My DH gets very excited about these sort of things - he was looking at something like it in a catalogue not long ago but we don't really have the right conditions or place to do it here

deserthorsewoman 09-12-2013 03:21 PM

Im very interested in this, too. My concern would be using grains. Sugar/starch content mainly.
Somebody is constantly advertising the system on CL here. So I'll be lurking;-)

FlyGap 09-12-2013 03:37 PM

28 Attachment(s)
I've spent the past three months REALLY digging into it. JD I love these kinds of projects too! I don't want to be at the mercy of my feed store any longer, and I "think" I can grow enough BOSS and wheat myself... In the future.

As far as I can tell wheat is the easiest and safest route. Oats are terrible because they're too starchy.
BOSS is excellent for additional nutrients, but not a primary.

I'm going to get one of those metal racks from WM, HD, BL, or where ever they're on sale. Drill holes in 12X24 or so plastic tubs, just on one end. Then shim so they are set at an angle, one tub drains into the next in 15 mins (which seems to be the magic number). Eventually the water drains into a tub at the bottom that I can toss out. Water 2 times a day.

I've read about mold problems. The best route is when initially soaking add a tablespoon of bleach (the drinkable kind, not cleaning) or peroxide to kill any spores on the grains. If you do the self water method and keep everything SUPER clean at 55 to 70 degrees you "shouldn't" have a problem in a moderately well ventilated room.

jaydee 09-12-2013 04:03 PM

I'd love to ask my DH about this idea you have but I daren't or I'll never get the work inside my barn finished
H2O Farm - Fresh nutritious sprouting barley fodder everyday. Reliable low cost hydroponic fodder systems benefiting horses, cows and sheep.
This is a link to a UK site that uses barley

deserthorsewoman 09-12-2013 04:09 PM

I found a couple of sites of systems, and also DIY, one says grass seeds work too. I will try, I guess, small, and get analysis done. Don't want to risk anything with my IR horse.

jaydee 09-12-2013 04:25 PM

If this link works - on page 11 - I think that's right it does seem to say that the sugar levels are higher in the barley grass grown this way

deserthorsewoman 09-12-2013 04:55 PM

Thanks jaydee. I was pretty sure this was the case. Hence the grass seed idea. Timothy, fescue and brome grass was mentioned. I would for sure test.

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