Our Fodder Room



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.



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.


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



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





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!


26 thoughts on “Our Fodder Room

  1. Thank you so much for the write-up on fodder! Your system looks great! Do you think that you could recirculate the water? Or would that create problems that I’m not aware of?

    • Hi! Thanks for checking out our blog. I do know people who recirculate the water and change it our every few days. I feel that with the amount of starch that comes out during watering I would rather use clean fresh water. You really don’t use that much water so I do not feel that it is wasteful. We let it drain out into our garden so it does get recycled…just in a different application.

      • Thank’s for the reply!

        I just thought it would be neat to set it up on a recirculating system because I could put a pump on a timer and not have to worry about what to do with the excess water. I hadn’t thought of starches. Maybe I can use that water to water my chickens with or something like that. I just don’t know what kind of residue comes off of that many seeds over a long period of time so I didn’t know how safe it was to put that excess water back into your food system or if it should be thrown out.

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  3. Came to your site via the Survival Podcast linking… thanks for sharing your ingenuity… very impressed.
    Can you possibly post a photo or two of the trays you use, and how you’ve modified them? Thanks so much again.

    • Thanks for visiting our blog! I will be writing up a blog post showing how I set up each tray in the mornings. I will be sure to touch on the trays and how we modified them!

  4. Great system! Thanks for sharing. If I may ask, What do you put in the bottom of the trays to hold the seeds – paper towels? Also how many cups of barley seeds in each tray?

    • Your seeds go directly into the seed trays with nothing on the bottom. You want them to be about 1/2″ deep. I will be writing a blog post today about the trays and how we set them up! Thanks for checking out our site!

  5. Hi there, I love the sprouting idea. I heard about you from TSP, and it seems like a great way to feed my chickens. Is there a reason you went with barley? Does it sprout best, have the best nutrition, or just easy to find? I am not really advocating using something else, just trying to understand. I am new to all this.

    • Barley seems to sprout faster and in easier conditions. It has great nutrition for all animals and is somewhat easy to find. I will be trying some different types of fodder in the spring to see if I can increase the Calcium in the feed for my dairy goats.


  6. This is some of the best information that I have been able to find in many days of research. There is one thing that concerns me though. On one site, it talks about making sure you are buying Hulled seeds. By definition, hulled means that the hulls have been removed. Correct me if I am wrong. Obviously many people are grateful to you, including this one in WV.

    • Hi Kelly,

      They are about 8″ apart. We move the fodder trays throughout the week so that on the last 24 hours they are on top with nothing shading them from the overhead lights.


  7. Is there any kind of light requirements. You do not have grow lights or anything do you? Great interview with Jack. Thank you for sharing.

    • You really don’t need any fancy lighting even natural sunlight would work. If you think about how a seed does not need any light until it’s shoot is out of the soil. So with a fodder system you just need a bit of light from about day 4 to 7. Currently, we use a couple shop lights that stay on for 8 to 10 hours during the day. When we switched to the gutter system the light wasn’t reaching the back gutter so we purchased waterproof led light strips off Amazon. I will post a link when I get to my computer this evening. We went with LED to save power usage and the strips we can install down the run of the gutter. I will get photos up when we finish it.

  8. This is all VERY interesting! On TSP, I understand that you are changing over to vinyl gutters, replacing trays that break too often. I am looking forward to seeing the changes you try with lighting, drainage and harvesting. Your system is basically hydroponics and I wonder if there is an animal that would like to live in a “starch rich” drain bucket to create an aquaponic system, instead of recycling the water into the garden? BTW, I think you live in one of the best climates in the world. I moved from Sacramento, California 10 years ago, then to Montana and now live in a similar climate to just below you, Santiago, Chile. Thanx for sharing your creativity!

    • Our new system is up and running! You can find more information here https://quartzridgeranch.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/quartz-ridge-fodder-system-2-0/ It is basic hydroponics! I plan on doing strawberries and lettuce in a similar system down the road. I would love to know if you find an animal that can thrive in a starch rich environment.

      I love California’s climates but we are pretty high in elevation and we can get 3-4 feet of snow in the winter. However, I love that we are higher up and it isn’t so hot in the summer. I bet Chile is beautiful!! Thanks for listening in!

  9. Great idea! heard you on TSP. Could you tell me how many feet of gutter it would take to feed all of your animals per day, a rough estimate. thank you oldsnakeman

    • Our goal is to have 120-150lbs per day. Right now we are doing half of that. It would allow me extra for the pregnant or lactating animals and to grow out our hogs. General rule is 2% of the animals weight.

      Breeding Hogs: 900lbs

      Weaner Hogs: 1000lbs (Use their weight you want them to be at once they are weaned and slowly get up to 2% of that)

      Oberhasli Dairy Goats: 1200lbs

      Nigerian Dwarf Goats: 1000lbs

      Horse: 1200lbs

      Chickens/Geese/Ducks: 100lbs

      Rabbits: 60lbs

      So round up to 6000lbs of animals and we are looking at 120lbs of fodder a day. Right now two 20ft gutters give us about 60lbs so we would need four 20ft gutters to get up to that point.

      Now, if we feed hay to the ones that need it (goats and rabbits) we can lowers that 2% of fodder because we are making up for those calories elsewhere. I am also looking at growing mealworms for our chickens and ducks. It is a great way to give them animal protein and seems to be pretty easy.

  10. Your new 20′ gutter system looks great! I live in a urban area and will be starting with rabbits, quail and aquaponics at our new place. Since rabbits are usually fed by filling a pellet hopper from the outside of the cage and fodder will not work in that system, I was wondering what cage modifications you have made or thought about? If the fodder is placed on the wire cage bottom, much would be lost, right? I would think that regular cage doors are too small for a days supply of fodder to easily fit through. Do you still fill the pellet hopper and give the rabbits a choice? Does the watering equipment change when using wet fodder mats? Are you thinking of going to a more complex seed mix in the future or a single seed mat specific to the intended animal? In general, do you serve the fodder mats on the ground or in a tray or other? I’m very excited to learn more from your creative ideas and solutions. Thanx for taking the time.

    • We didn’t do any cage modifications only added a small cup that attaches to the side wall and we put the fodder in there. They only need 1-2% of their body weight in fodder apprx 3.2oz so just a small amount. It is used to replace the grain and you still need to feed free choice grass hay. We turn off the watering the night before so when we feed it to the animals the next day it isn’t a wet mess. Good luck on your new adventure with rabbits and quail!

  11. WOW! Im looking to set up a system similar but in a smaller scale, just for 10 laying hens! Is fodder really the only feed they are receiving Or is it a supplement?

    • The fodder is the only feed they are getting from us, they are also allowed to free range. Chickens are not vegetarians so we make sure they have access to plenty of other nutritional sources. If ours were penned up I would grow meal worms for them to eat along with the fodder. I also suggest free access to oyster shells for calcium.

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