Growing fodder is a cheap way to feed your chickens, ducks, and rabbits throughout the year.
It’s a simple concept, really. Basically, it’s allowing grains to sprout and grow into their respective grasses for feed supplementation for poultry. The animals then get greens with chlorophyll, as well as the proteins from the grains and the sprouts.
You can either build a fodder system with pie pans, or you can build a fodder wall.
This wall required:
- 6 8-foot plastic gutters
- 6 gutter ends
- a bucket
- drywall screws
- a wall you aren’t using with studs-this can be in a garage, a greenhouse or in your kitchen if you want
To make the wall, measure where the studs in the wall are.
- Make markings on the gutters to position into the studs.
- Attach one end of the first gutter into the stud, and angle the gutter so the opposite end is 1 1/2 inches lower than the top.
- Place the gutter end on the higher spot.
- Attach the second gutter approximately 3 inches lower than the one above and cap the opposite end
- Angle the OPPOSITE end higher than the first gutter to create a “waterfall” effect.
- Continue layering the gutters on the wall, positioning the opposite end to allow water to flow.
Prepare the grains.
You can get barley fairly cheap at a farm store, bulk foods store, or online here. You will want to soak the grains overnight in a bowl, covered with water and a tablespoon of bleach to retard mold.
The next day, rinse the grains and place them about an inch deep, in the top gutter. Start soaking another batch of grains and repeat daily until all the gutters are filled. (6 days)
Watering is simple. Just water the top gutter well enough that the excess water will flow into each gutter, watering all of them. The bucket at the end will catch any remaining water. (BUT, be sure to drain the bucket daily. It does get rather smelly if it sits more than that.)
Here they are around day 3.
And, around day 7, when the barley starts to look like this,
The fodder is peeled from the gutter and cut into squares with a sharp knife to be given to the poultry or rabbits. It’s like a carpet or mat that is all woven together.
Each animal gets a chunk of the fodder daily and it’s split pretty evenly. The rabbits like the greens, but they don’t eat as much of the roots. The chickens and ducks love all the greens AND roots and enjoy their daily treat.
Adopt a growing rotation schedule.
By rotating how the gutters are filled, you should need to only soak and grow one gutter at a time, allowing for one day off a week.
The fodder wall will grow very well as long as it doesn’t get too hot in the summer. If you use A/C, it should be fine. Otherwise, try a fan on it to keep it from getting too hold and molding fast.
Have you grown fodder? What are your experiences with it? Be sure to pin this for later!
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.