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Here’s another thing I am adding to my list of goals – producing fodder for our chickens. I have been doing some research into sprouting grains and am finding some interesting stuff. I’d like to cut down the feed bill.
During the growing season, our chickens (and pigs) have their own garden here. We set aside a large area and grow lots of different vegetables for all of them to eat.
If you’re interested in how to grow your own animal feed, take a look – we manage to do it all summer and fall, and well into the start of winter.
The pigs get butchered in the late Fall so they will feed us instead of the other way around. But, we have laying hens all year round, so we will need to feed them.
Even though our chickens don’t lay eggs all winter, we still need to feed them. During a winter season, the hens need more feed; not only because they can’t forage for bugs and greens through three feet of snow, but also because they spend more of their energy just trying to stay warm.
Growing Chicken Feed all Winter
During the times of the year when they can’t forage, it would be great to provide them with sprouted grains. It is a more efficient feed, more nutritious for them and less expensive. Sounds good to me.
Our Fodder Experiment:
We did already experiment a bit during the Fall. We seeded some grain into one of our nursery flats; it only took ten days for the seeded flat to look like this. We just watered it a bit daily and let it grow.
The girls were delighted! We should have had two or three trays for the amount of hens we had, but as this was just an experiment, we just wanted to see if they would be interested.
If they are this interested in the Fall, I can imagine how excited they would be enjoying a tray of greens in the middle of winter.
Sprouting Grains in Buckets:
We also want to start sprouting grains in buckets. This is supposed to be a great way to provide winter feed for chickens at a far cheaper cost than buying grains at the feed store.
We need to set up an area, probably in the basement for this project to work. Since our barn is unheated (except for the heat lamp for the chickens) sprouting grains won’t work down there.
Our winters get far too cold and no doubt the liquid in the buckets would freeze. I would rather not have a bunch of buckets of sprouting grains up at the house, but at this point, I don’t see another way that this would work!
This is part of our pasture – this is Canary Grass growing. This is fantastic feed for cows because it is high in protein. Research has been done on whether “hairless” canary grass can be fed safely to poultry.
A few sources that I am looking at for information include
Want to find out which are The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Grow?
Thinking of raising meat birds?
Here’s how we fill our freezer with chickens.