Creative ways to make simple tasks more complicated

I find that the cooler temps and shorter days bring out a desire to do things. In the summer there is so much to do but it is a miserable time to do it (at least here), conversely come fall things start tapering off just when it feels good to get out there and do things. Feeding chickens is one of those things that should be simple…right? Last winter and spring I decided that I wanted my chickens to forage for at least part of their diet. This article over at Paul Wheatons site was my inspiration and the foundation for my long term goals in regards to my chickens.

Propagation Tray

Preparing the propagation trays by drilling drainage holes

Red Wheat

5 cups of Red Wheat Prior to soaking

Red Wheat

Red Wheat 24 hours after soaking


Red Wheat after 2 days

Red Wheat after 5 days

Red Wheat after 5 days

Chickens eating fodder

The Chickens enjoying the Red Wheat Fodder on Day 6

Mixed Fodder

Round 2 is a mix of Soy Beans, Parrot Sprout Mix, and Red Wheat

My flock took to the Fodder right away and currently I am producing a 10″x20″ tray every other day. I have discovered that Red Wheat is a much more vigorous sprouter than Barley. My process has evolved in the week and a half I’ve been doing this to where now I am soaking 2 cups of parrot sprout mix along with 1 cup of soybeans overnight, then putting a cup of Red Wheat and a cup of Barley on to soak the following night and finally layering them in a propagation tray on the second morning with the Barley/Wheat mixture on top. The parrot sprout mix I am using contains several different types of field peas, safflower, sunflower and vetch. Those grains along with the soy beans provide a very hardy larger sprout while the barley is supposed to be high in protein and the red wheats vigorous roots tie everything together into a tight puck that is easy to handle.

In addition to Fodder I am still actively foraging by proxy for my flock, at least twice a week they get left over cooked rice from a chinese restaurant and I still occasionally get vegetable prep from that same place. My sweety Karen has exotic birds, LOTS of exotic birds, and they are very wasteful of their feed. Rather than sweeping it up or dumping their cups in the trash she now keeps a 5 gallon bucket near which she fills with all of the chaff/seed/pellets they leave in their bowls or toss on the ground. This bucket gets topped off with leftovers and goes out to the chooks about twice a week. On top of this I keep a bucket of high protien pigeon feed fermenting in the coop for those slack days in my foraging efforts. To round out my Flocks nutrition needs I have an auto-feeder setup that is always full of a mix of Lay-pellets and Flock Raiser pellets.

Chicken Feeder

My custom built “Foraging” Table

Chicken Feeder

The water proof feed hopper portion of my Automatic Feeder

Chicken Feeder

The “Magic Trigger” for my Automatic Chicken Feeder

When I moved this setup out of the area that I am trying to grow a chicken pasture in I lost the fancy trigger I ordered off of ebay for $4.99 and then had to pay $10 shipping to get it here from the UK. I had read somewhere that a teaspoon would work just as well and figured what the heck? Low and behold it worked just fine! The chickens go under the foraging table, peck at the “trigger” and out pops a few pellets. It did take a couple of tries to get the hole sized properly so that the feed didn’t just run out but would dump a reasonable amount when pecked.

Yeah I know my Chickens are spoiled……aren’t yours?



























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9 thoughts on “Creative ways to make simple tasks more complicated

  1. Oh man, you work hard to give your chickens quite the grand life.

  2. artsifrtsy says:

    So you texted me wheat?

  3. I am always accused of spoiling my chucks but I will admit you are far more extreme!

  4. patsquared2 says:

    I love the innovation you bring to raising and caring for your chickens and I love reading about it. I’d say your chicks are well-cared for…not spoiled.

    • Max says:

      Thats how I like to think about it to. Spoiled would be if I made them diapers and aprons. I still look at my flock as livestock and think that they deserve at least as much effort from me as my garden does. They both return so much more than are put into them.

  5. I love this, Max! Great post. I am going to have to try this!

  6. […] Last year I first gave Foddering a try. The concept is very appealing, turning 1 lb of nutritious seed into 5-6 lbs of more digestible highly nutritious fodder by just adding two ingredients, water & time. The system became more and more refined during the winter until I thought I had a fairly efficient system as outlined in my Chicken Fodder post this past January. Over on BYC the thread “Growing Fodder for Chickens” is what got me started on Fodder and the thread is full of fantastic information, but beware it has just reached 2500 posts and is still join strong! […]

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