Raising small animals on your homestead can be quite demanding. Not only does it take a toll on your wallet to provide them with proper food, but you also worry about their health.
Growing fodder is an excellent way to save money on feed costs and provide your animals with essential nutrients and fresh food, which becomes particularly vital during the winter months.
Fodder is an inexpensive and straightforward solution that grows remarkably fast – you can transform grains into lush grass in just one week!
Why should you consider growing fodder for your chickens and rabbits? There are numerous benefits to doing so:
Here are some essential things to know about growing fodder:
Where to buy grains:
There are various options for purchasing grains, but it’s crucial to ensure they haven’t been chemically treated and are safe for animal consumption. Freshness is also vital to prevent mold growth.
Supplies Needed for Growing Fodder:
There are numerous ways to grow fodder, so it might take some experimenting to find the best system for you. Start small and expand as you become more comfortable with the process. Here’s what you’ll need to begin:
How to Grow Fodder, Step by Step:
Step 1: Rinse the grains:
Thoroughly rinse the grains to remove any mold spores, fungus, or insect eggs. Pour the grains into a colander and rinse them under running water for a few minutes.
Step 2: Soak the grains:
Place the rinsed grains in a large bowl, covering them with a few inches of clean, cool water. Let them soak overnight, and you can cover the bowl to prevent contamination.
Step 3: Prepare the containers:
Clean your chosen containers thoroughly with hot, soapy water before using them for fodder
growth. Once clean, load them with the soaked grains.
Step 4: Add the grains:
Spread the grains evenly in the containers, creating a layer about half an inch deep.
Step 5: Water the grains:
Water the grains every morning and evening. Use a spray function on your faucet to evenly moisten the grains, allowing excess water to drain through the holes. Watering twice a day is ideal, but once a day can also work.
Step 6: Provide Bright Light:
Place the containers in an area with bright light, either near a window or using grow lights if needed. Protect them from curious animals, especially when growing outdoors.
Step 7: Feeding your animals:
After around seven days, your fodder should be fully grown and ready to feed to your animals. Remove the entire mat of fodder from the containers and cut it into pieces for feeding. It’s best to feed chickens small amounts of fodder multiple times a day to prevent overconsumption. Rabbits particularly enjoy eating the greens, while chickens will consume both the grains and roots.
Developing a rotating system:
To ensure a continuous supply of fresh fodder, consider implementing a rotating system. After feeding one container’s contents to your animals, clean and sanitize it, then follow the growing process again to produce more fodder.
Growing fodder is a satisfying and low-effort process that offers substantial benefits to your livestock. It’s an excellent way to supplement their feed, especially during winter months, and keep them happy and healthy. Feel free to experiment with different grains and setups to find the best approach for your needs. This simple project offers plenty of flexibility and can contribute to a cost-effective and enjoyable homesteading experience.
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