Tag Archives: sprouting

Fodder from soup to nuts, or maybe seed to feed?

I know I have posted about fodder before, in this post in November I really thought I had it all figured out. WRONG, just like anything else in agriculture I am coming to believe that no-one ever has it all figured out. This Facebook Group has really educated me about how woefully uninformed I am. Todays post is going to outline day 1 of my fodder process, please feel free to share your differences or similarities.

Soak Bucket

Soak Bucket

I switched to 80 oz. Painters buckets from lowes or home depot, they are cheap and just the right size for soaking. The larger buckets I was using didn’t seem to give me as consistent germination rate, my theory is that with the seeds being spread out more some areas would dry out more than others. Who knows?

Red Wheat

Red Wheat

Today’s batch is Red Wheat with a bit of safflower mixed in. Why safflower? My Sweety, Karen, had given my a bag of sprout mix intended for parrots and it was mostly Safflower and had gotten dumped in my bucket before I moved to my current process. Now rather than just one big bucket of sprouting seeds I keep two; the first is primarily Red Wheat with a diminishing amount of safflower, the second is 100% barley. Right now the barley is producing the prettiest fodder but I still rotate, one day barley the second wheat. Why?  Variety I guess, I don’t have any real reason other than it feels like the right way.

1.7o Ounces of wheat seed

1.7o Ounces of wheat seed

A recent change I have made is reducing the amount of seed per batch from 4.5 cups to 3 cups. The wheat was fermenting a bit and I decided to see if reducing the depth of the seed bed in the trays would help, I’ll let you know if it does. Today Karen brought her kitchen scale home so that I can track what my seed to fodder conversion is, I keep reading of 1-6 and 1-7 ratios but don’t know.

Soaking the seed

Soaking the seed

Seed Draining

Seed Draining

The seed gets soaked for about 6 hours, I tried longer soaks but definitely saw an increase in funk with the 24-36 hour soak times. During the soak period I lift and plunge the buckets several times thinking that the agitation will help thoroughly wet the seed and help keep down the funk via aeration. After soaking the seed stays in the buckets being wet down daily for two days at which time they get dumped into the trays. I will outline that process in my next post.

Soaking/Laundry Sink

Soaking/Laundry Sink

P.S. This sink that my Sweety got me was one of the best improvements in the process so far! Outside the critters were always getting into my stuff, and in the kitchen Karen was always in my stuff. Now that the whole operation is confined to the Laundry room things are much smoother and controllable.



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Chicken Fodder

Yeah I know not to creative of a title, give me a break it’s been a long day. Fodder has been a topic of mine before, this morning on my feed run I took some pictures of my set-up and am going to share them with you all. Fodder

I tried the inexpensive black nursery trays you can buy at the hydroponics store but they kept cracking on me.


Now I am using restaurant prep trays, I got lucky and a friend was able to snag these from a local restaurant that was going to throw them away due to minor cracks in the rims. Apparently the health department feels they could harbor bacteria. I did check at a local restaurant supply store and these go for $10-$14 a piece which is a bit spendy but would probably be worth it if you were doing this for a lot of chickens and for a long duration.



To convert these to sprouting trays I drilled a BUTT-LOAD of holes in the bottom. Probably somewhere between 50 and 75-3/32″ and 1/8″ holes in each one. I also broke half a dozen bits from trying to hurry. The trays get wet down and allowed to drain once a day and are producing a good tray on an 8 day cycle. Over at BYC they have an enormous thread about fodder . After reading the 113 some-odd pages and over 1100 posts you will basically find out that the whole purpose is to stretch your feed by making the nutrients more bio-available which is basically the same thing fermenting feed accomplishes. If your interested in fermenting feed check out this post  over at Scratchcradle Heather really knows her stuff! As for supplies I bought a 50# bag each of Red Wheat and Barley back in November and have just about finally used it all up. Until the last 2 weeks I had only been producing a tray every other day but am now up to a tray a day. I soak 3 cups of seed for 24 hours or so before dumping into a drilled tray, usually I see roots by the end of day 2 and by day 4 there is teeny tiny greenery popping up. After that the growth rate takes off, on BYC they claim a 7 day grow out but for me 8 days gives a nice tight mat that the chickens have to work at a bit to tear apart. The final day of growth I actually pull the mat out of the bin and let it sit out on an open tray without being watered, why? because I only have 7 bins and it works.


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