Friday, February 28, 2014

How To Put Together a Fodder System On the Cheap

What is fodder?......you may wonder and scratch your chin. It is a cheap healthy way to provide food for you chickens, goats and other live stock. Some folks only use this system in the winter months when there isn't any greens on the ground while others use this system all year round.

What is fodder made of ?.......you may be wondering and rubbing your forehead. Fodder is made of grain. Mainly wheat or barley but there are others as well that you can research on your own. I started using wheat because that is what my feed store had on hand and it was a great price. 50 lbs of grain can theoretically make 300 lbs of fodder. Also 2 and 1/3 cups of wheat is roughly one pound of wheat.

I am feeding chickens here on our in town farm. Through research, I found out that chickens need 2 to 3 percent of their body weight in feed. So we estimated high for our largest breed of chicken, since we have several different breeds.

Off to the dollar store I went, I was looking for those stackable trays that used to be available but found only really small ones like 4 inch by 4 inch I was thinking about getting those but I would have to have bought many many of them and it would have cost more than I wanted to pay so I went on to the next store and found the same problem. Then I stumbled upon some nice trays that were about the perfect size for my flock so I went ahead and bought them especially since they were on sale for .95. There were only 5 left in the whole store but I took them and thought up a system that works so far. Later I may modify it with medal dowels.

This is a great project for our home school.

The BUILD:

Materials:
grow trays 4 or more
skewers (or dowels)
basins 2 or a laundry sink
wheat for feed









Growing The FODDER:

I just used 2 and 1/2 cups since that is all I will need for our small flock.






I added some old medal strips that I had in the shed for more strength on the bottom sides to lay the skewer on.






The girls really liked it; the boys too:)


Update on Fodder System: I have stopped using the white basin underneath the red trays. I just use the red trays alone and it works fine.  I am now adding about a 1/4 cup of black oil sunflower seeds to the mix and I have added a cup and half more wheat seeds since I have a few more chickens. In the afternoon I feed them 2 cups of dry black oil sunflower seeds since they are not free range and I provide oyster shell and grit for them in a small feeder. Egg production is picking up!

4-1-2015--In Retrospect: I have since quit using this system although I think that it works but that it should be used as a supplement to your laying crumbles. It works good when there is no grass or weeds to feed in the winter.AS a main food source you could try it but use twice as much as is recommended plus whole corn and oats. My chickens got too skinny on this diet and lost a lot of weight. So bigger trays and dowels and about 6 cups of wheat/sunflower seeds etc. per tray for about 15 chickens. If you have more chickens then you would have to do the math; more fodder for more chickens. Let me know what your experiences are. If you are looking for chickens who lay eggs year round then check out. "Year Round Eggs."

References:

http://www.fodderfeed.org/Fodder-Facts.html
*http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/sprouted-fodder.aspx
*http://www.half-pinthomestead.com/files/Wheat_Fodder_Analysis2.pdf
http://www.half-pinthomestead.com/Foddertips.html
http://www.foddersystems.com/fodder-feed/red-wheat.html
http://www.foddersystems.com/systems/mini.html
http://www.tosingwithgoats.com/2012/10/fodder-tutorial-aka-how-to-sprout-grain.html
*http://simplecountryhome.com/2013/07/30/growing-fodder-for-chickens/
*http://brinkoffreedom.net/homesteading/dead-simple-fodder-system/
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_cups_of_hard_red_winter_wheat_berries_in_1_pound?#slide=2
*http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/what-you-should-know-about-wheat/



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What About Vitamin D3

Recently I discovered that when I am outside I feel better. So I decided to learn more about D3 and how much of it is effective. That was after I bought some chewable D3's from the store. I read articles and watched seminars from doctors on the subject for several hours so that I could make an informed decision on how much I should try. I also learned a lot about what kinds symptoms it alleviates and conditions it improves. I can't prescribe D3 like a doctor but I can tell you what I am doing and some of what I have learned.

I tried to save all of the videos that I learned from on a playlist so that I could review them and share them with others.



Below is some of the conditions and symptoms that it may alleviate or prevent.

depression
virus prevention
immune system enhancer (claimed to be better than shots you decide)
skin issues
bone health
diabetes
cardio vascular
fibromyalgia
rheumatoid‎ Arthritus
17 different cancers
blood pressure
heart
chronic pain
M.S.
weight gain
T.B.


Things learned or remembered:

1. The sun is our friend
2. 10 to 15 minutes of direct sun is optimal in the middle of the day. Not morning or evening sun.
3. A online place to buy a D3 levels test http://store.lifespa.com/vitamin_d_test_kit.html
4. Many people are deficient of vitamin D
5. Even if you get sunshine you may be deficient because of the winter months and not as much sunshine or not getting sunshine at the optimal times of day.
6. Decreases the risk of many diseases.

I have decided that my body needs at least 10,000 IU's of Vitamin D3 but your amount may be different. When I was looking for this amount in a dose I found this wonderful place online with free shipping www.pureformulas.com  You can use this referral code when you order to save: RFELJE

 Do the research and see what you come up with. If you have started taking D3 and have noticed improvement let me know int he comment section below.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Toopy and Bino Review and Party

A few weeks ago I was asked to review a cartoon and to see what I thought of it. I was sent a box of Toopy and Binoo products as well as a DVD to look over. I showed the cartoon to the kids and the younger children fell in love with the imaginative and fun characters. Every episode is short but packed with a little adventure. The characters are Toopy a large, talkative mouse and Binoo a small, quiet cat and when I say quiet I mean really quiet; he doesn't talk at all.

As I allowed the children to enjoy these two buddies I began to see that the handicapped or children with limited speaking abilities might benefit from this show. I know that I have known some of these children and I think that they would love to get to know this couple.

If you are interested in finding out more you can look them up on their you tube channel.  You can also be involved in their 1p.m. twitter party at: https://twitter.com/ToopyandBinooTV Their facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/ToopyAndBinoo

Let me know if you try them out and what you think. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Removing The Trouble Maker

That handsome guy that you see above this post is now living out in the country with one of my friends from church. He continued to pester our hens so badly that we lost one of our new additions. It was really hard to hold a dying chicken on my hand and know it was my fault because I didn't get of the beautiful rooster earlier. I guess I was pretty attached to him.  He was so pretty to look at with his iridescent purple feathers that it took this awful day with the dying chicken to give him up.

Now, our chicken yard and cook is pretty calm and all of the hens are getting settled in. We now have 10 hens 1 cockerel (not crowing or mating rooster) and then we have our bantys; 3 hens and 1 rooster. The cockerel is getting prettier every day and he is sweet as can be. He will come up to us and cuddle so maybe he will be a better gentleman and the ladies will take to him good. Time will tell.


the cockerel

his pretty tail feathers

Copper, our new copper wyndotte

we have 2 welsomer 

and Marigold is back home from her little vacation in the country


Have you ever had this kind of experience. Write me a comment and tell me about it. I love chicken stories.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Introducing New Chickens

Recently I decided to buy a few more hens if I could find them cheap. I asked around and found one from a friend and then we traveled out to the country and bought one there; one was an Australorp and the other was a Maran/Orpington. (both black) Then just a day or two after that another friend from church called me up and asked if I could use 4 more hens because they were going out of the chicken business. I couldn't beat the price they were offering so I jumped at that opportunity as well. So now we have 6 new chickens.

I quickly realized there were challenges that we had to overcome. The rooster was pecking down the black hens as he had done another hen of ours. (she is on vacation to a friend's farm to see if when we bring her back she will fit in better, they say that helps.)

I started researching this oddity online and from others that have chickens. I found out that although some pecking is normal although it can be managed with a few boredom busters. Chickens who live in a chicken yard that is not real large can become bored especially in the winter months. Providing them with special treats or different perches can really improve their behavior. Its a lot like raising children.

I came up with a cabbage ball for the yard and hung an old c.d. I also made a fun treat with an old water bottle that was a hit. The cabbage ball I made out of wire hangers and a little wire that I had left over in the shed. I think it turned out really well. We did have it just hung up with a screw but they ate it too quickly so maybe this will slow them down a bit. Only disadvantage to making my own is that I will have to open it with pliers each time I want to fill it or just pull of some leaves and stuff them in. But it saved me about $20.  Every penny counts!

Here are some pictures that my oldest son snapped from the chicken yard this week.

Our rascally Rooster

Two of the newbies. One is a welsomer I'm not sure what the one in front is.

Up and coming rooster who was once thought to be a hen. 

Bullet the trusty chicken chaser. Around and around the coop he goes. He just wants to play. Its a challenge to get through the door. He was doing better until I started putting in new toys. 
 Feel free to share this information with a chicken loving friend.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Upcycled Hen Box Curtains!

I was looking at chicken pictures as I often like to do and stumbled upon the idea of hen box curtains. I also found out that they are not just a cute detail but actually aid the hens to make eggs and also to go broody. It seems that the darkness is what the chickens are looking for. We have been needing some new chickens and so I am all for this experiment.

With wooden hen boxes it is very simple to do. Just hem the edges of your desired fabric and staple in or if you want to wash and reuse the curtains then you would want to put up a curtain rod. For our hen house we do not have metal or wooden hen boxes we have plastic bucket boxes.

For the curtains I used an old stained dress that my girls had and reused the lower portion to form a curtain of sorts. Then I hot glued my creation in place and used the sash that was on the dress to tie the curtain back to be a little cute. Of course I am not the best seamstress but it is for chickens so I am not that concerned about perfection.




I think an added plus this time of year may be the heat factor. A little curtain should keep out some wind for my girls. Which makes me feel good. Do you have chicken curtains or have you ever thought about it?

Swidget 1.0

CR