Self Reliance Summit*
Permies likes critter care and the farmer likes Homestead sized fodder system permies
  Search | Permaculture Wiki | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies | World Domination!
Register / Login


permies » forums » critters » critter care
Bookmark "Homestead sized fodder system" Watch "Homestead sized fodder system" New topic
Author

Homestead sized fodder system

Sherry Willis


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
I know with the price of feed and with grain likely to get very expensive it might be nice to be able to make it stretch farther. I've been researching fodder growing systems where you sprout grains in a soil-less system and let them grow 6-8 days. You end up with 6 times as much feed with better protien and vitamin content. There's more information about the systems here:

//www.foddersolutions.net


This is a cool website. However, their stuff is for BIG operations and is very expensive. So I've taken the concept and scaled it down to a model that will feed one cow, several goats, 40 chickens and about the same number of rabbits daily. You'll still need some hay for roughage, but it can be really poor. The system only takes 2 square feet of space and can go in a utility room for year round growing. You need electricity for the pump, but do not need a hose hookup. The frame is PVC and it comes unassembled (with good instructions) to cut down on shipping costs.

The price is $199 + $15 s&h

No pictures yet, just wanted to see if anyone was interested.

Sherry
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2414
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
Interested. I am going to do this one way or another this year. Is that a complete solution (assemble and buy seed), or is there a shopping list of other stuff to source locally as well?


"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi. "Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
Sherry Willis


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
Hi,

This would be a put together and add seed deal. Everything you need for the frame and trickle irrigation is included as well as the sump container and six trays for the "biscuits" (which is what they call the finished mats =) ). You will need to have pvc cement and primer if you don't already have any around.

I'd estimate 1-2 hours to put it together.

Sherry
Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1404
Location: Chihuahua Desert
have you actually used one of these systems, yet? there is a lot more to it than just putting out seeds and spraying them with water.

How do you deal with mold? Control temperature? Recirculated water? What seeds do you use?

How much water is required per day? How many lbs of fodder is produced a day?

6 times as much feed sounds good on the surface, but how much of that is water weight? What is the dry matter yield per lb of seed?


Living off grid - guides for the off grid lifestyle in the modern age
Homesteading - latest updates and projects from our off grid homestead
Milo Jones


Joined: Dec 27, 2010
Posts: 85
    
    2
Somewhat related Many Trendy 'Microgreens' Are More Nutritious Than Their Mature Counterparts

ScienceDaily (Aug. 29, 2012) — The first scientific analysis of nutrient levels in edible microgreens has found that many of those trendy seedlings of green vegetables and herbs have more vitamins and healthful nutrients than their fully grown counterparts.
Jorja Hernandez


Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 78
    
    1
Very interested. Would love to see pictures and have more info.
Sherry Willis


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
Ok, it took a bit more tinkering that I expected, but I am finally happy with my result.

Each tray produces about 12 pounds of Fodder from about 5 cups of seed. I have no idea how much dry matter, but as I am not feeding it dry and drying anything necessarily destroys many nutrients, I don't feel that is terribly relevant. Some sort of roughage must be fed with Fodder but it can be very poor quality. I use a 16 gallon tote for a sump and change the water every 4-5 days. I have gone as long as a week, but then you have to rinse everything really well and dump the rinse water, so it's kind of self-defeating. I have not had serious mold problems, but the system has good air circulation. I only see mold at the very top of the root mat on the sixth day and it's not enough to harm anything. I keep the system in my living room since room temperature is acceptable to the wheat I'm using. I spend about 10 minutes a day on Fodder production.

There's more info at www.half-pinthomestead.com





Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1404
Location: Chihuahua Desert
nice little system, but I didn't see any more info on your website about it.

what sort of nutrients do you use?

what is the energy usage of the system? what is the water requirement per day?
Sherry Willis


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
Thanks Abe!

Nutrients are not necessary for this system. The grain itself contains all the nutrients the Fodder needs for the six day growing cycle. The system is watered by a 16 gallon sump(6 tray) or a 20 gallon sump(12 tray). Depending on how clean your grain is and the temperature of your room, you can recirculate the water for 3-5 days. I then use the water to water my plants, clean and bleach the sump and add clean water. The starch from the grain sticks to the sump and gets sour if you don't clean it well. I'm not sure how much energy the system uses. The pump is 12W for the 6 tray and 16w for the 12 tray. I have it set to run 15 min every 2 hours, but think 15 min per 3 hours would be adequate.

Thanks for your questions. I will add this information to the More Info part of my website. Still getting that all built.

Sherry

Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1404
Location: Chihuahua Desert
Sherry Willis wrote:Nutrients are not necessary for this system. The grain itself contains all the nutrients the Fodder needs for the six day growing cycle.

I beg to differ on that. I have seen several nutritional comparisons of fodder using just water vs water with nutrients. Nutrients in the water give the sprouts more nutrients for your animals. Think of it this way, if you are only giving them water, then the sprouts have only the nutrients in the original grain, nothing more. This has been studied in depth by the big fodder systems, that's why they all use nutrients. You could probably get away with compost/manure/vermi tea or something similar. But, if you want a better nutrient profile, you are going to need to add nutrients.

Sherry Willis wrote:The system is watered by a 16 gallon sump(6 tray) or a 20 gallon sump(12 tray). Depending on how clean your grain is and the temperature of your room, you can recirculate the water for 3-5 days.
So, about 3-5 gallons a day, depending on how long you leave it. And that's between 6 trays at 12 lbs each, right? And it takes 6 days to grow one out. So, if we go for an average of 4 gallons a day, that's .67 gallons per tray per day, or 4 gallons per 12 lb batch of fodder. Now, not all of this water is used up, but it is interesting to see what is required. 4 gallons weighs 32 lbs, whereas you are producing 12 lbs of fodder from about 2 lbs of seed, so that's 10 lbs of fodder for 32 lbs of water used, or about 2/3 of your water is not used.

The starch from the grain sticks to the sump and gets sour if you don't clean it well.
Yeah, I know how that is!

The pump is 12W for the 6 tray and 16w for the 12 tray. I have it set to run 15 min every 2 hours, but think 15 min per 3 hours would be adequate.
.25 hours times 12 times a day is 3 hours total at 12 W is 36 Wh a day. The big one uses 48 Wh a day.

It is an interesting system, and it looks like you are off to a great start. I'd definitely play with nutrients, and grow a few trays side by side, one with just water, one with nutrients. Then weigh the trays and compare. While this won't tell you the nutrient makeup of the different methods, it will give you an idea about growth rates. A bit of sea salt or seaweed would be good for trace elements, too.

What are the dimensions of the trays?
greg patrick


Joined: Mar 17, 2012
Posts: 168
Location: SoCal, USDA Zone 10b
    
    3
We've been doing something similar for awhile now. We pick up those 18"x18" black nursery sprouting trays, put a sheet of newspaper on the bottom to cover the holes and fill it with soil. Then we sprinkle seeds and set them on the ground so the worms can crawl in and the roots can go down into the ground. After a week or so we cut the tray off the ground and feed it to the chickens. They love the greens AND the worms. Whatever they don't eat goes back into the compost. Super simple. No pumps or electricity. Sorry but no pics.


'Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance.' - Hippocrates
Cj Verde


Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 2965
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
    
  51
What is the growing medium?


My project thread
Agriculture collects solar energy two-dimensionally; but silviculture collects it three dimensionally.
Sherry Willis


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
Hi Abe,

The trays are 11"x22" heavy duty commercial flats. Nutrients spoil the water faster (I do have this in my living room, so stinky is not good), encourage mold growth and it's another input to the system which I am trying to avoid. I have considered adding sea minerals to the water for increased mineral content though, as it might act as a mold preventer as well. While it is true, you are not increasing the nutrients in the grain, you are making what is there vastly more useable for your animals as well as increasing vitamin and living enzyme content. Some of the commercial Fodder systems do use nutrients, not all of them do.

CJ,

My system has no growing media and the animals eat the entire mat, roots and all so there's no waste. The grain, which has been presprouted for a day, is simply spread in the bottom of the tray. I have been experimenting with different amounts of grain. Unfortunately my system is down right now because someone made me an offer on it I couldn't refuse.....

I've also discovered putting it in the corner of the room like in the photos is not the best enviornment for it. It doesn't allow for the best air circulation for the inside trays and it's harder to control the mold. Live and learn!


Sherry
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2414
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
Adding fertrells or other mineral additive is good for the animals, whether it is in the plant or on it.

There are systems out there that don't recycle water, they work based off the same sprinkler systems used in the produce department of the grocery store. Key is to get just enough water but not waste it. That is their solution to dealing with mold. Not sure how one compares to the other...

I have been spending my time finding a source for sproutable grain of a suitable quality.



Sherry Willis


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
R Scott wrote:I have been spending my time finding a source for sproutable grain of a suitable quality.


That can be the real challenge. I tried whole oats the first time and had HORRIBLE luck. It had maybe a 20% sprout rate, and was slimy and nasty very quickly. The wheat I got works great. Barley isn't readily available here. If I couldn't find feed wheat that would sprout, we have a store that sells wheat for human consumption. It's expensive at $25 a bag, but it still comes out for me since I don't have space to grow my own feed conventionally.
Jorja Hernandez


Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 78
    
    1
Sherry, what is the aproximate temperature in the room where this lives? Also the weight of the filled reservoir. For changing water do you siphon or dip out the old or just redirect the pump line?

Sherry Willis


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
Hi Jorja,

The room is just room temperature, so it varies from 65-75 depending on time of day.

The filled resevoir is heavy, over 100 pounds. I usually just slide it out the front door and scoop the water out with a pitcher to water the plants with. Even full it slides easily across the carpet. You could use the pump to drain most of the water, but you would have to be very careful not to let the water get below the level of the pump as it is water lubricated and can't be run without water. Still, it's not very tall and you could probably easily lift the sump with what water is left.

Sherry
Cj Verde


Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 2965
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
    
  51
I've been meaning to experiment doing this with the aquaponics I have set up in my house. The fish have done fine but there just isn't enough light to get good growth. Doesn't sound like the sprouts need much light. In aquaponics you need gravel or some media to host the bacteria in the cycle but I guess the growing tray could sit on and drain into the gravel.
Sherry Willis


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
CJ,

I also thought about aquaponics with this. However, I think all the starch from the grain might be an issue. The water gets pretty slimy with it after a few days. However, the gravel might really help with that too.

Sherry
Sherry Willis


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
Hi everyone,

Finally got some good pictures of the 12 tray system and a video of the 18 tray system running. Be gentle, I hate the camera!! http://youtu.be/c82qSZF2OZI





gary reif


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 40
What kind of spray heads do people use for watering?
Sherry Willis


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
gary reif wrote:What kind of spray heads do people use for watering?


Hi Gary,

I designed this system to sit inside on carpet so the water doesn't actually spray. It trickles into the top trays and then drips through the next trays all the way down into the sump. This minimizes splashing and water everywhere.

Sherry
Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1404
Location: Chihuahua Desert
How is your system going? I have seen you on the KFC forum a few times, those are some good threads, packed with information.

I am getting back into fodder now that the temperatures are starting to drop a bit. It has been 75F this week, so right on the verge of growing fodder again.

One thing that I asked about further up the thread was Dry Matter of the fodder. Your reply was that you are not drying it, so it doesn't matter. But actually, DM is extremely important to determine the feed value. A few studies I have seen recently have determined that hydro fodder actually decreases in DM vs raw grain. Other studies show that DM at 6-8 days of grow is about double than the raw grain.

Why is this important? Because if you look at DM, you can compare things across the board. Fodder is mostly water, so you can't just replace 1 lb of feed in an animal's diet with 1 lb of fodder. Feed generally has a DM percentage of about 80-90%. Fodder, on the other hand, is around 15-30%.

So, let's take the best case scenario at 30%. That means that every 3 lbs of Fodder is really equivalent to 1 lb of feed (approx). If you feed at 3% live weight (typical feeding rate for a lot of animals), then for a 100 lb animal, you need to feed 3 lbs of feed, right? Well, that means you need 9 lbs of fodder. The question then becomes, can you grow 9 lbs of fodder with less than 3 lbs of grain?

The answer is typically yes. Rates range from 5-8 times the fodder per unit of grain. So, for the 9lbs of fodder, we need 1.8 lbs of grain (worst case). That's a savings of 40%.

Now, if your DM of your fodder is at 15%, things change a bit. It now takes about 6.6 lbs of fodder to equal 1 lb of feed. For the 3% live weight of a 100 lb animal, you need 20 lbs of Fodder. At best case scenario, that takes 2.5 lbs of grain. At worst case, that takes 4 lbs of grain. Best case is a savings of 17%, worst case is 33% loss.

That is why DM matters. If you fell into that worst case scenario, you would be losing feed value by producing Fodder.
Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1404
Location: Chihuahua Desert
another thing I meant to ask is what size is that PVC? Does it bend or anything with the weight on the big system?
Sherry Willis


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
Hi Abe,

Drying the Fodder automatically reduces nutrients and Fodder never completely replaces hay, which is pretty much ALL dry matter. Also all that math you are doing and the recommendations the math is based on are fine in a laboratory, but not so great in the real world where it is impossible to provide the kind of controlled environment a lab would. All I know is that my test animals are doing splendidly on Fodder. Quantifying why has never been all that important to me.

That being said, I do have plans to send a sample for nutritional testing so I can post the results on my website.

The pvc does not bend at all, even on the largest sytem. This is a photo of the 18 tray system, which is the largest I offer.
Somehow my photos always look like they are tipping....:hunf:

Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1404
Location: Chihuahua Desert
I am not talking about drying the Fodder for feeding. I am talking about how much water it has vs how much food value. That is the deal with DM, it takes water out of the equation, so you can do a comparison based on weight.

At best, Fodder s 70% water. At worst, close to 90%. So, to get the same feed value as a dry product, like grain, you have to feed more of it.

That is why we compare DM rates in feeds.

Again, if you want to feed 3% of your animal's body weight in feed, then you have to consider the water in the fodder.
Sherry Willis


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
Hi Abe,

I've never seen a dry matter recommendation for Fodder. All recommendations are for the Fodder as is. The 3% recommendation is wet weight. I've seen a total feed dry matter recommendation, but any shortage of dry matter in the Fodder would be provided by hay or whatever roughage you are feeding.

Sherry
Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1404
Location: Chihuahua Desert
3% at wet weight will have at best, 1% feed value, and at worst, less than .5% feed value. Many of the commercial operations have dry matter ratios listed.

If you are right about the roughage filling the gap, then you will need to feed at least double the DM weight of the Fodder in roughage to reach the 3% weight.

I have seen a lot of figures thrown around, from 1% to 5%, based on wet and/or DM. There is a lot of disinformation from both side on fodder, so it is hard to determine which rates to go by.

Here's a good study to look at: http://www.qcl.farmonline.com.au/files/48/20/01/000012048/Hydroponicfodder.pdf They feed at different levels, based on DM ratios. Also, they look at DM ratios from several commercial systems.

I don't trust the literature from the commercial systems, they tend to focus on best case scenarios, and ignore real world results (marketing). That is why I prefer these independent studies that compare things across the board.

I'm not saying fodder is bad, but I am trying to get a realistic view of how much it is really worth. Not everyone has had great results with it, and I suspect that might relate to the amount of water in their fodder, which would make the actual feed value be very low.
Sherry Willis


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
Hi Abe,

The only real way to know how much DM YOUR Fodder has is to have it tested. You'd have to test it each time you switch grain, and each time the growing conditions change.

I tend to just look at the condition of my animals to determine what needs be fed. So far I haven't had any issues. I've purchased a couple of Kinder goats that will be here this summer. Since milking is a HUGE drain on an animal's resources, I will defintely put my Fodder to the test.

I am not terribly picky about the "bottom line". If that was my main concern, I would simply buy my food.

Sherry
Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1404
Location: Chihuahua Desert
I am definitely concerned about the bottom line, because if it is costing me more to feed fodder, and it is significantly more work, then I would look at another option.

Are you feeding your animals at 3% wet weight? How much extra roughage do they get? What animals are you feeding?

A simple way to test the DM of your fodder is to weigh a piece fresh, then dry it completely (until brittle), and weight it again. This isn't exact, as you don't know the final DM of the dry fodder, but you can assume probably 80%.
Sherry Willis


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
Abe,

I don't quite understand what you want from me....

You obviously have very strong opinions about what is important with Fodder. I personally don't care about DM as the chickens and rabbits I feed it to look great and produce well (I only feed 3% to lactating animals 2%ish to the rest). I've cut my feed costs considerably (no pellets or scratch only hay for bunnies). Fodder is a way for me to make up for the fact that the hay in Missouri is CRAP(It has plenty of DM though...but that's about all) and I only have three city lots to work with. If I still lived in Wyoming where I could get great alfalfa hay for a decent price, I would never have considered Fodder.

Good luck with your growing.

Sherry

Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1404
Location: Chihuahua Desert
Sherrie, I don't want anything from you. I am just trying to wrap my head around these systems, as far as what I need. There is a lot of conflicting information with fodder, so it makes me confused as to what I should be looking it. I think discussions like this are good, though, because it provides some other information for people.

Feeding your rabbits, 2-3% wet weight, did you notice them eating more dry hay?

The DM vs wet weight makes sense to me, but maybe it doesn't affect things much. It just seems like when someone says feed 3 lbs of wet fodder, they are really feeding 1 lb of feed and 2 lbs of water.

For me, fodder is a way to get away from commercial pellets. I have decent quality local hay, but pellets are getting expensive. We pay about $20 per 90 lb bag. But, that's what makes me concerned about cost and how things work out. a 90 lb bag of wheat costs about $15, here, so it is cheaper than the pellets. As long as I don't have to feed more than the pellet equivalent in DM weight, it makes financial sense to me.

A friend asked me today why don't we just sprout the grain, rather than grow it into grass. Like sprout for 4 days, it already has a lot of root mass and shoots, but not the tall green grass. I have no idea why we don't do that, but that would probably save a lot of issues with mold and time and expense. I imagine there might be a bit more nutrition (but how much?) and definitely more bulk (but could be water weight) with fodder rather than sprouts. I don't know, it seems like a valid point. Do you have any info on sprouts vs fodder?
Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1404
Location: Chihuahua Desert
going through that research document I linked above, it looks like sprouting to 4 days might actually be better than going to 8 days.

DM loss is minimized at 4 days and under. Digestibility peaks at 4 days. Energy content is highest at 4 days.

It should be noted that while protein % increases with sprouting, protein weight doesn't. What happens is that fiber increases, carbohydrates decrease, and DM decreases. So, protein doesn't actually change, in terms of weight, but it's concentration increases, because DM decreases.

What keeps bothering me about fodder is the DM decrease. In a lot of studies, 8 day fodder has a DM content of 15%. That means it is 85% water, yet the fodder companies suggest feeding at 3% of live body weight. So, if you had a 100 lb animal, it is fed 3 lb of wet fodder a day. But, the actual feed content (not water) of the wet fodder is .45 lb. At 4 days sprouting, the DM is 85% (95% of the original grain). So, if you fed at the same rate, you are getting 2.6 lb of feed at day 4.

So, if you consider that digestibility of whole grain is 40% (depends on species being fed), and digestibility of sprouts at 4 days is about 85%, things look better for the sprouts. That same 3% feed rate would give an overall feed value of 1.2 lb for grain, 2.1 lb for sprouted at 4 days, vs .45 lb for fodder at 8 days.

This becomes really confusing, because even though people are effectively feeding less DM for finished fodder (8 days), their animals improve compared to being fed whole grain. Looking at the nutrition profile of sprouts at 4 days, it seems like they would have the highest feed content of all, and might be the best bang for buck (reduced space, temp, humidity requirements, etc).

Any thoughts?
Sherry Willis


Joined: Jun 09, 2010
Posts: 29
Location: Missouri
Hi Abe,

I've not noticed any increase in hay consumption with the switch to Fodder. I have noticed a decrease in water consumption, but this is to be expected. It is nice not to have to buy pellets any longer and I take some comfort in the fact that I really do know what I'm feeding (it's pretty hard to know for sure what's in pellets).

I only let my Fodder go for 6 days. I've not had any serious mold issues, but if it shows up at all, it's between day 5 and 6. Part of the reason for letting it go a bit longer is it's easier to feed. The root mat doesn't really take hold until about day five. There's also about 2 1/2" of growth during these last two days. While some of this is water, some of it is also living matter, gleaned from water, air, and light.

We all know spring grass gives maximum production, yet it is extremely high in water. So high, in fact, that it can cause metabolic problems such as grass tetany. So why, with such low dry matter, would these increases happen? All I can figure out is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts somehow. That there is something in lush, new growth that either isn't noticed or is destroyed by the very act of measurement.

I accept the fact that all of these nutritional recommendations out there are just guesses. There are so many things we don't understand about living bodies. The problem comes in when we ignore the fact that our knowledge is limited and try to apply it as if it weren't. You then get the "one size fits all" solutions of industrial agriculture, that often do as much or more harm than good or only prove to be a short term solution. Fodder is a great feed supplement, but it is only one thing. I try to get weedy hay since it tells me that it probably wasn't sprayed with poison much and contains a good variety of plants. I also feed trimmings and scraps for variety. I probably don't get the production of a commercial rabbitry on pure pellets, but I don't spend much and I'm happy with that.

Sherry
Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1404
Location: Chihuahua Desert
Do you think the sprouts would be as nutritious at 4 days, rather than 6? 4 days seem to be when the grass is just getting going, but from the studies, it seems to be the peak of DM vs energy content.

It would certainly save time and space if we didn't have to grow it longer. And also, it would save water, as it seems the fodder takes on more water (based on its composition) after 4 days. That's when the DM really starts to drop.

It just seems weird that DM decreases to 15%, compared to the original grain, so really, we're feeding 85% water and very little feed. The only thing I can think it that the digestibility increases considerbly, so the animals get more out of it, and require less. But, there is a huge difference in eating 10 lbs of fodder (with 1.5 lbs of DM) and 1.5 lbs of dray, whole grain.

So, I don't know.

On another side of things, I am thinking of burying an old refrigerator underground to use as a fodder cabinet. Combined with a solar chimney for ventilation and earth tube for cooling, I should be able to maintain that space at 70F year round.

If not, I need to find another seed that sprouts well in warmer climates. Maybe corn?
Leron Bouma


Joined: Jul 19, 2011
Posts: 25
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
My interest in this topic comes from the fact that I have grown sprouts for my own consumption for decades and I definitely feel the benefits of eating sprouted greens. I have found a bunch of web sites with good information about fodder for livestock.
Here's one from Australia about raising rabbits using a commercial fodder system: http://hydroponics.com.au/free-articles/issue114-rabbits-rabbits-everywhere-rabbits/
Here's one from an US alpaca ranch using a home made fodder system: http://pacapride.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/barley-fodder-from-trials-to-production/
There are a couple other pages at the Pacapride site that are very interesting: http://pacapride.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/barley-fodder-sprouting-trials-continued-new-flood-and-drain-tray-system-installed/
This system gives me some ideas; I like the flood and drain system and notice that the fodder doesn't need anymore light than one cfl per row.
Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1404
Location: Chihuahua Desert
Sherry, can you post a photo (or PM me) of the holes in your trays? I know you probably don't want to give the secret away, but since I am in another country, I figured you might share a bit, cause I can't buy your trays (if I was in the US, I would). I have been using aluminum roasting pans, and they are starting to get to a point where I need to change them. I don't even know if I can find the seedling trays down her,e but I am going to try. I figure I will just copy your hole pattern on the ones I find.
Jay Green


Joined: Feb 03, 2012
Posts: 587
    
    8
I just cut to the chase and ferment my feed/grains and thereby making the proteins more available, increase the bowel's efficacy in the absorption process and provide increased healthy bacteria/yeasts to the bowel flora.

It saves on feed costs as well(up to 1/3 previous costs), isn't so fiddly and labor intensive as the sprouting, and when fresh feed is added to the bucket it's like tending sourdough bread mix...the fresh grains feed the beneficial molds there and they stay healthy and thriving. I's one step short of the actual sprouting but it's still the fermented grain....my livestock have other ways of getting greens and the hay/pasture should be enough.

This all can be done in a couple of 5 gal. buckets and doesn't take much tending and fiddling about.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/644300/fermenting-feed-for-meat-birds
Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1404
Location: Chihuahua Desert
Jay Green wrote:I just cut to the chase and ferment my feed/grains and thereby making the proteins more available, increase the bowel's efficacy in the absorption process and provide increased healthy bacteria/yeasts to the bowel flora.

It saves on feed costs as well(up to 1/3 previous costs), isn't so fiddly and labor intensive as the sprouting, and when fresh feed is added to the bucket it's like tending sourdough bread mix...the fresh grains feed the beneficial molds there and they stay healthy and thriving. I's one step short of the actual sprouting but it's still the fermented grain....my livestock have other ways of getting greens and the hay/pasture should be enough.

This all can be done in a couple of 5 gal. buckets and doesn't take much tending and fiddling about.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/644300/fermenting-feed-for-meat-birds

Do you have ay nutrient profiles for fermented grain? I used to do that for my pigs, but I would worry about doing it for rabbits.

Fermenting never really saved me anything with the pigs, they ate the same amount as pigs that were fed raw feed.
Jay Green


Joined: Feb 03, 2012
Posts: 587
    
    8
Got some studies done on pigs and poultry...

http://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajb/article/viewFile/60378/48610

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19373724

http://www.pjbs.org/ijps/fin640.pdf


Been doing this on meat birds and layers since this past spring and am pleased as a possum eating persimmons.

Maybe there were no savings for your pigs because you fed as much as you fed dry...pigs will pretty much eat as much as you give them, no matter what the feed is. Try an experiment and see if they can be fed less on the fermented but still maintain good conditioning.
 
 
subject: Homestead sized fodder system
 
cast iron skillet 49er

more from paul wheaton's glorious empire of web junk: cast iron skillet diatomaceous earth sepp holzer raised garden beds raising chickens lawn care flea control missoula electric heaters permaculture videos permaculture books