What is Fodder? The simple definition of fodder is “food fed to livestock.” Today's discussion about fodder is actually about feeding sprouted grain (usually barley or wheat) to livestock and poultry.
Our farm has used fodder for a few years to help us spread out our standard feed purchases, All the livestock LOVE it and it is fairly easy to grow. It is a great way to provide fresh greens to all livestock.
Among the many benefits to growing fodder for livestock is the facts it very digestible and a highly nutritious feed option. Plus, because it is grown hydroponically there is no soil to make a mess or add to costs.
Start with clean seed of your choice barley is by far the easiest to grow. Soak the seed for 24 hours, we soak ours in a five gallon bucket. We use a guttering system to grow the fodder in.
Depending on your choice of seed, on the average it takes 7 days to grow fodder to feed. Oats take a few days longer than either barley or wheat. The key is to water it everyday and more than once a day if the temps are high.
The water needs a way to drain so the seed does not drown. We use the gutters and install them at a slope, the water drains off into a bucket. The main reason we like gutters is the ease it gives us in feeding. We can tear it easily into sections for smaller animals or roll up the entire length of an 8 foot gutter and take it out to the sheep and goats.
This also a great way to provide greens to chickens if they are unable able to free range. Because we all know those fresh greens make for great tasting eggs!
By feeding fodder we lessen our commercial grain consumption and thereby save ourselves some major dollars. Which is great and the nutritional boost to the livestock is awesome as well.