Fodder: Experimenting with Weight

From what I have read about growing fodder, is that it doubles if not quadruples in weight upon sprouting for 7-10 days. So I decided to do an experiment.

I took 1 cup of wheat berries and weighed them, then again after soaking 24 hours, then again each day, up to day 5. I didn’t go past day 5 because the sprouts draw flies, so I moved the experiment outside rather than the counter inside. This climate change seemed to adversely affect the sprouts, so I’ll have to start over again and try to make it to at least 7 days.

Here is the info I collected over the 5 days.

1 cup of dry/dormant wheat seed = 7.5 oz or 0.46 lbs

Sprouting day 1, After 24 hour soak = 12.02 oz or 0.76 lbs

Sprouting day 2 = 12.7 oz or 0.79 lbs

Sprouting day 3 = 13.8 oz or 0.86 lbs

Sprouting day 4 = 16.2 oz or 1.0125 lbs

Sprouting day 5 = 14.7 oz or 0.918 lbs

So the mat of wheat berries lost a little weight on day 5, but I hadn’t watered it yet, so that may have made a difference. Plus I don’t think the wheat liked the container I had it in. I will update this post after I have more data.

 

 

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Fodder/Greenhouse: Strawbales on fire!

Well since activating our greenhouse straw bales yesterday the top 6 inches of the bales are showing a temp of 110°F!

I’m learning a lot as I experiment with growing my own fodder. Since I started this, I’ve been soaking the seeds over night, and pouring them into the fodder trays the next day to let them sprout. But since then have been experiencing the top layer of seeds drying out and not sprouting. After looking at other blogs and reading more info I realize I have been making a mistake in putting them in fodder trays the next day. The sprouts should stay in a “sprouting bucket” for 3-4 days before putting them in the fodder tray, to ensure more of the seeds stay wet enough to develop the roots needed to continue to grow correctly. Live and learn.

Fodder: Got my Greenhouse!

Tim built me a wonderful little greenhouse to do my fodder project in, and it is working great! Also the rabbits are taking to it pretty well. A few of the rabbits want nothing to do with the fodder, but will nibble at it if I feed them the fodder before giving pellets. Transition takes time.

Our $11 Greenhouse from start to finish

Ecstatic! Tim built me a little greenhouse to grow fodder in, and of course so we can get ahead in Springtime planting. It’s so cute! We put this together with mostly free material that we scavenged or that others gave us, the only thing we had to buy was mortar and screws.

Fodder: Refining my system – Update

Continuing to learn and change things. Using the screen trays is a no-go. The little rootlets get stuck and make it a nightmare to harvest. So I’m switching to my solid bottom trays. Still hoping to get a sprouting room up and running before winter hits.

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Fodder: Refining my system… I need shelves and a sprout room

Fodder: Day 5

Fodder Day 5I’ve been reading several different blogs on Fodder today and see that many homesteaders are getting off pellets and store bought feeds all together and feeding 90% fodder, and the remaining 10% consisting of hay, black oil sunflower seeds and a salt lick. I am inspired to also make this transition, as it will greatly lessen our feed costs for our rabbit herd and our flock of chickens. Chickens can be raised on fodder, grit and calcium like oyster shells. For the chickens I’ve begun fermenting their regular crumble feed, as I’ve been reading that this makes more nutrients available to digest and improves the health and egg laying ability of the flock.

Fodder: Making the most out of our grains

Fodder

I have been reading a lot about Fodder, and the benefits of sprouting grains for feeding animals. Some of them being sprouting makes more nutrients, enzymes and vitamins bio-available, it increases protein, fiber and lots of goodness within the grain that are inhibited by anti-nutrients prior to being sprouted,  improving digestion and immunity. Then there is the fact that you can turn 1 lbs of grains into 4 lbs of feed by sprouting for 7-10 days saving costs on feed. All great reasons to grow fodder for my herd. Last winter I sprouted some wheat seeds for our pet rabbit, Brownee.

Fodder 2013

 

I didn’t know what I was doing last winter, as you can see I put some potting soil in some container lids to sprout the grains, and then cut the grass every day or so. All spring, summer and fall the kids and I would go out foraging for her, picking her plantains, grasses, and other herbs from the forest and off the side of our small country road. I had been sprouting these wheat berries for the kids, they love them, and once or twice I let them go a day or so too long and the sprouts became grass and so slightly less sweet and more bitter, I thought “hey I could give those to the rabbit for some homemade forage treats”. She loved them, I kept them going for a few weeks, just trimming them every couple days and giving her the grass. Until the grass started showing signs of not doing well, then I just gave her the dishes and let her tear them apart. Now that we have a whole herd of rabbits (30+ in our herd) and I have read a few things about fodder I plan to have this as an ongoing thing for my herd.