With the drought and winter coming on, I was trying to figure out how to get my animals fresh greens. Greenhouse? Dumpster diving? Take out a loan for feed?
I came across this interesting youtube video .
From there I began my research on sprouting, not just for livestock but also humans. Research shows a dramatic increase in vitamins and digestibility. It sounded like something I would like to try but I couldn't find anything done on a small scale. I wasn't about to spend 1000's on a system to "try out" for my pigs, chickens, and eventual cows.
So we bought a bag of barley seed, the most common seed used in fodder systems. I poked some holes in hard plastic zip lock sandwich containers and made my first batch of sprouts. It was pretty easy. The animals weren't thrilled. I figured it was probably like eating a Mcdouble everyday and then someone putting a salad out.
Now we needed to try it for an extended amount of time and see what results we got. The problem was we needed a low cost system. This is what we came up with.(click the youtube link below)
We have plans to move it to our utility room and hook up a mister systems on a timer to the cold water for the washing machine. It will drain to the washing machine drain. We also plan at some point on recapturing the water to water the garden.
This is a work in progress but so far our chickens are LOVING it and the pigs are liking it too. One drawer feeds the pigs for a whole day with supplementing a little pig feed and chicken eggs. Our nursing sow also gets some corn to keep her weight on. It has already cut our feed cost substantially in just the few weeks we have been using it. It takes about 10 extra minutes each morning to clean and reload the drawers.
I will do more videos later on the specifics of how we built the system and the seed amounts etc.