Tuesday, November 15, 2011

DIY Fodder System

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.


  1. Do you have any update on your fodder system? It appears that you don't need much light, since you are growing it in the plastic drawers? The drawer idea is fabulous! What is your seed? Barley?

  2. Cathy, I'm going to be doing a series of posts to help answer some of yours and others questions. Keep looking back.

  3. This is cool! So dooable!!!! Thank you for sharing and thank you for working on the updates.

  4. We have just started to develop our own DIY fodder system. I love the idea of the drawers - brilliant! We have had a little bit of a problem with fungus or mold. Have you encountered this yet? It also looks like you aren't giving the sprouts much light? So far we have been treating our like growing wheat grass, keeping it dark for the first few days, then giving it light. Thanks for posting your progress! Looking forward to more!

    1. We haven't really had a mold problem. Ours was a fungus that grew when the grass was too thick. Make sure you have enough air circulation and that you aren't trying to grow too much. Lot's of trial and error went into this but we started with the commercial fodder websites and then sprouting (for humans) websites. Also, if you are new to sprouting (like I was) don't confuse root hairs with mold or fungus! LOL! I did. I'll try and get a good video of root hairs up. As far as light, I'll cover this in an upcoming update, but at fist we only used our bathroom light. Now the sprouts are in the utility room with a large window and we mounted a grow light in there. Good luck with your system. Please share your ideas!