Our Daily Fodder Routine

A few people have asked what our daily fodder routine looks like. I had my daughter help us out to show you how quick and simple it is.

To soak our seeds we use a laundry bag that has small enough holes that the seeds do not come out. We place it into a bucket and then fill it with seeds.

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We place it into a bucket and then fill it with seeds. We use 1 1/2 quarts per tray.

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After we put enough seeds in. We close up the laundry bag.

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Then we fill the bucket up with water and let is soak. At this point some people put in a little bit of bleach, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. We have not experimented with this yet.

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We soak our seeds for 24 hours.

Setting up your Trays

Start with your bucket of seeds that have been soaking for 24 hours…

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Drain the seeds. We purchased an inexpensive laundry sink and use it to drain the seeds and also clean the fodder trays. It is important to wash them so you do not get moldy fodder.

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We then fill the trays up to be about 1/2” deep with seeds. We use a 2 1/2 quart measuring cup from the paint department at the hardware store.

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We then spread the seeds out evenly in the tray.

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Then the tray goes on the rack and gets watered 2-3 times a day.

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We plan on automating the watering in the next week. I will then experiment with watering times and amounts but for now a good rinse 2-3 times a day works great!

The Trays

We use garden trays that you can pick up at any garden store. I have found the best price on the trays are from the Greenhouse Megastore.

I use a Soldering Iron to punch holes into the tray for them to drain.

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Depending on how your trays are designed you will punch holes in the low parts of the trays so they drain completely and somewhat quickly. You do not want the seeds sitting in water for a long time.

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The Results

It should take your fodder to grow from seed to lush barley in about 7 days.

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When you walk outside with your bucket of fodder be prepared for this…

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They chase me all the way down to the barn.

Then you can expect a lot of this…

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A little more of this…

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and this…

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and this!

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Our Fodder Room

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I have been asked to show our fodder room to get an idea of the size of room needed to feed small ranch.

Right now we own 20 goats, a horse, 3 American Guinea Hogs, three Pilgrim Geese, 6 Muscovy Ducks and about 30 chickens. We are able to grow enough barley fodder to feed all of our animals in our small basement.

Our shelving systems measures 12 feet across (three 4 foot sections). I am able to feed all of the animals with the amount of trays we grow along with purchasing some cheap hay for the goats and some chicken scratch for the winter months.

 

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We just added a drain so we don’t have to have a large container to collect the water under every shelf. I used a 4” ABS pipe and cut it in half. I then attached a piece to direct the water into a bucket. The bucket has a pond pump to take the water to the garden.

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So when we water, the trays drain down like a fountain!

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I have also been asked to see a daily photo of the growth of the barley fodder…

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Now that we have the system set up we are now working on making sure our temperatures will stay between 60-75 degree for optimum growth. We are looking into a small heater to keep the room warm during the winter months. It gets pretty cold here during the winter. Our summers are usually not too hot but we do have heat snaps that can last for a couple weeks so we are going to be adding a small window air conditioner.

One additional step to make this system more automated will be to add automatic watering. I will update with what we come up with when we get to it!

Please feel free to ask questions via e-mail or on our Facebook page!

Barley Fodder Setup

We have been asked some questions about our Barley Fodder setup included where we got our supplies from.

We have three metal shelving systems from Ikea called Broder. You can buy individual pieces of it to make it work for your situation.

BRODER 2 sections L-foot IKEA

We currently have four L-Foots, four posts, fifteen 47×23.5” shelves and fifteen large brackets. This is enough shelf space to hold 60 trays! 12 trays fit across and then there are 5 shelves.

The trays we pick up from our local garden center and they run about $2.00 each. They do not last very long because they are just plastic but if you are careful with them we get longer use out of them. I have just found the trays online for cheaper even with shipping through Greenhouse Megastore. I will be ordering them next month and see how they work out.

1020 Trays

We punch about 6-8 holes down the 10” side of the tray so it drains evenly and in a controlled manner. The plan is to run a 4” pipe cut in half on the front of the bottom shelves so it drains into the collection bin. The collection bin is then pumped out into the garden area using a pond pump. This will eliminate the need for multiple collection bins under the shelves.

The collection bin is a 275 gallon food grade container that we picked up from craigslist. They usually run about $100. We cut it in half and use the top half as it fits in between the feet of the shelf system.

We purchase our barley seed from a seed company in Stockton, CA. We researched what businesses were selling it locally and then went to their wholesale distributer. It works out to be $22.00 for a 50lb bag. Make sure you are buying seed and not feed. You want “hulled barley” it means that it is unhulled, whole barley seeds that are equipped to sprout.

Barley Seed For Sprouting

Right now we are watering 3 – 4 times a day with enough water to almost fill to the top of the tray. I use a water wand but I have a plan for an automatic set-up. It will involve a PVC tree on the left side of the shelving unit and 1/2” drip tubing going down each shelf. From there, I have a 1/4” line that come out from the 1/2” line for each tray. It is zip tied to the top of the shelf so it hits the tray correctly. The PVC tree is then hooked up to a water timer. You will have to adjust the timer based off of your flow rate, water pressure, etc.

This is a photo of our setup so far:

Fodder Room

We still need to add the drainage pipe, take away all but the right hand collection bin and add the automatic watering system.

Hope this helps you to figure out a way to feed your animals good quality food for an unbelievably low price.

I will be doing another post about the cost of feeding our animals soon!

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail us or leave us a comment.