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/



1 comment:

Nikki M said...

I've been researching fodder systems for a while and haven't found anything this inventive! Most people buy big shelving units that cost extra money. This is exactly what I've been wanting! I love it. I'm going to the dollar store to get this started. Thanks fellow mama!

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