Have you ever thought about sprouting your own chicken food? Why not try growing your own fodder! Fodder is seed that is sprouted and then used for animal feed. You can sprout many different types of seed including wheat, oats, sunflower, barley, etc. Fodder is a great alternative to regular scratch feed from the feed store and can offer your chickens a treat during winter when free ranging is limited or non-existent. Depending on the variety, where you buy it, if it’s organic or not, if it’s non-GMO or not, and what quantity you buy, whole seed is typically cheaper then your average scratch. Especially when you consider that once sprouted, the same amount of seed will be many many times more filling. Fodder is easy to sprout and will help make your scratch last much longer.
Fodder sounds great, but how do I sprout it?
Now that fodder has your interest, here’s a few simple steps to get you started.
- Soak the seed in water overnight
- Spread a thin layer of seed into a large pan or tray
- Moisten a couple times a day with a spray bottle, or rinse the fodder as needed if it begins to smell.
- Occasionally place the fodder in available sunlight or near some warmth, such as next to a fireplace
- Within 6-7 days the fodder should be ready to feed to your chickens!
Growing fodder is fairly simple and won’t require too much of your time. Plus, by sprouting your seed, you’ll turn a 1/4 inch layer of seed into a mass of healthy roots and sprouts that will help satisfy your chickens and lessen the amount of scratch that they consume. Within 6-7 days, your 1/4 inch layer of seed will be pushed up by a massive root system measuring around 1 1/2 inches thick, and topped with sprouts measuring 2 to 3 inches tall!
Do you grow your own fodder? If so, leave us a comment and let us know your experiences!