Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DIY Fodder Pt. 3

Next video:

Ok, three important factors for growing hydroponically are water, light, and air.  In every stage of growth the fodder needs air.  In this video you see me turning the seeds so that they can have better air circulation.  This is not perfect.  In a perfect world I could have a whole green house dedicated to this and the seeds would not be so packed together.  If your fodder starts getting mold or hairy fungus, it may be lack of air circulation.  One of the main causes is putting too much seed in a drawer.  Light is important but any ambient light seems to work.  Our system has a big window and we've mounted a grow light.  This seems to work fine.  For the first three days though, the seeds need darkness.  This mimics the seed being underground.  Water is tricky.  To little water and you don't get enough growth.  Too much water and you don't get enough growth and you start growing stuff along with fermentation.  Err on the side of too little water.  Trust me, your animals and your olfactory system will thank you.  For the first few days, after soaking, while the seeds are still in the dark very little water is needed. VERY LITTLE WATER IS NEEDED.  Once a day is fine.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

DIY Fodder PT. 2

Okey dokey.  This next video will take you through the first part of the fodder making process and show you some of our techniques.

So why barely?  Well that's what all the big, expensive, large scale, commercial companies use.  I figured if that is what they say works best, that's where we'll start.  Not to mention, sprouted barley is supposed to be a human super food too.  There is not a lot of information out there readily available concerning the actual nutritional benefit of sprouted barely.  What you will find is the fodder system manufacturers "research" which is probably part true and part hype.  You will also find some very limited research from big ag.  Here are two links to those trials.

Now, you can read through these lengthy and quite boring research papers.  Go for it.  Here is my take on the above papers.  Feeding pigs and or chickens barley sprouted for 7 days causes them to grow slower than their counterparts when fed a commercial diet or unsprouted barley.  In pigs, this growth difference accounted for about 5lb average less over 4 months.  SO, from a commercial perspective sprouted barley is not ideal.  HOWEVER, I am not growing pigs and chickens as fast as I can and as cheap as I can (although cheaper would be preferable).  5 lbs does not make a hill of beans difference to me.  I want my animals to be hearty AND healthy.  They also say that the chickens wouldn't touch it.  Obviously their chickens never had the taste for grass.  My chickens FIGHT over it along with the turkeys and guineas.  The turkeys usually win.  Take a look at the nutrient graphs.  If that doesn't convince you, I'm not sure what will.  Although the overall calories decrease, the vitamins and minerals double and triple in 7 days of sprouting.   Now, you go read and make up your own mind.

We decided to sprout barely for the winter and when pasture is unavailable. I don't want my animals eating just one kind of anything because that would not be what they did in the wild.  Sprouted barely is a perfect supplement.  We order from Azure Standard.  Their animal barley feed is organic gleanings.  It sprouts wonderfully and is available year round from what I can tell.

As you see in the video, we are soaking our seeds 24 hours in the black tubs.  they were purchased at Dollar Tree for $1.  We drilled small holes with a power drill on the bottom and the sides.  Be sure you drill slowly or the tub will crack.  Buy extra me. 

In our system, 1 1/2 lb of barley is the best amount for each drawer. More than that and there is not enough air circulation and you will start growing mold and fungus.  Less than that and you don't get a good mat.  The mat is really not that important but it's so gratifying when you get it!   In the video, I'm soaking two drawers (or 3lb) of barley per tub.  The seeds need to be dark while soaking and for the first couple of days, so the black tubs are perfect.

I know there are still a lot of questions.  I'm trying to get to them, but it's hard to get a quiet moment to video and blog with all the animals and homeschooling my kiddos.  I really want to share this information.  I wish I had this during the drought last year.