Years ago, in another time and place; I raised fodder for my animals. The idea came to me when I was sprouting seeds in my kitchen-in quart jars to put in my salads and sandwhiches. I did this during the months of summer and early fall, when I did not have fresh salad greens in my garden. I started feeding these sprouts to my chickens, and decided to sprout larger amounts of grain sprouts outside. Sprouts do not do well in our summer heat, so I would shut down production during the summer. Besides, the wet grain attracts flies, and that is something that we have more than enough of here in the desert.
Now, I see that people all over the world are sprouting barley to cut down on feed bills during the winter. Awsome!
Many people are growing fodder-in trays-lined up on shelves. I know of 4 people here in the desert that have built these systems. Each system, although similar-has its own differences.
I will share what I have done. Very simple, lazy and inexpensive. Just the way I like it.
I bought 12 stackable bins from the hardware store. They were on sale, and I had a 20% off coupon. I drilled 6 holes in the bottom of each bin for drainage. I stacked the bins 3 high, and set them on a row of bricks-in a partially shaded spot in my back yard. I then numbered the bins 1-12. I bought bags of barley seed for $10 each from a lady who was selling out the previous year’s grain. Everyday I soaked 1 1/2 cups of barley in a bowl, covered with water, overnight. Every morning, I dumped the soaked grains into the next bin. I then refilled the soaking bowl with 1 1/2 cups of grain, and water for the next day’s dump. My daily maintanence was to water the filled bins with a hose 3 times a day to keep them damp. By day 12; I was able to harvest fodder that I could cut, and feed to my rabbits. The rabbits would eat the grassy part, and leave the “cookie” behind. The “cookie” is the matted seed and root part. There is no waste though, because when the rabbit is finished, I would just take the “cookie” and throw it to the chickens. But the way, goats will happily eat the whole thing.
So, if you are trying to save money on your feed bill during the winter time, and do not have a large garden full of greens for your animals. My little barley-fodder project is enough for 6 adult rabbits, and 6 chickens to enjoy. But there are many fodder system sizes and styles to choose from on the internet.
Just remember to shut down your outside fodder system in late April. It is just too dang hot for your sprouts to grow.