Fodder feeding sprouted grains to your backyard livestock is a great way to decrease feed costs while giving your chickens, goats, or rabbits a yummy treat. Sprouted grains don’t have as many anti-nutrients, they have more nutrition, they are more filling, you need less feed overall, and animals love the fresh food.
I start and stop feeding fodder to the animals based on how crazy life is, but I’m quite pleased with the results when I do. Fodder feeding is absolutely indispensable if you have your animals in a small space and need to do a cut and carry system instead of pastured. Switch from dry feeds to fresh slowly so your animals have time to adjust to the new diet. Aim for roughly 3% of your goat, chicken, or rabbits body weight. Detailed percentages and information for other species are here.
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What IS Fodder Feeding?
Fodder feeding is when you bring food to your animal instead of putting your animal out to pasture. By sprouting whole grains you can easily grow your own fodder even in small spaces. If you’ve ever sprouted seeds for yourself, you already know how to do it!
Fodder feeding can have a big fancy setup or it can just be anything with decent drainage. I have two jars and five trays dedicated to sprouting. They each get rinsed twice a day when I do dishes and in the morning I take out one tray to the chickens and then wash it before adding the already soaked and sprouted oats.
Different seeds can be used. So far I’ve sprouted oats, corn, wheat, sunflowers, and lentils. Of course if you want the lush grass go with something like whole oats, barley or wheat, but the other sprouts get gobbled up too.
If feed costs are impacting your budget AND you want extra nutrition fodder feeding is definitely the way to go.
Fodder Feeding Is Easy!
Here are step by step directions on sprouting fodder for your backyard animals:
- Soak seeds for 12-24 hours
- Rinse and transfer seeds to a tray.
- Rinse each tray twice a day
- Soak a new batch of seeds each day
- Feed the grass, seed, and root mat to your animals after seven days
It really is that easy! They don’t even need grow lights. The biggest trouble I’ve run into is forgetting to rinse and having to throw out a few trays due to mold. Make sure you rinse!
Have you tried sprouting fodder for your animals? What does your set up look like?
If you’d like to read more about fodder feeding here’s a good article from Mother Earth News.
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