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.


  1. Great to see this! I've been sprouting barley for my chickens and yes - they love it. I've only been letting it go 3 days (insided at 65 degrees it has long roots by that time, but no green stuff). I plan to do pigs this way in the spring. I feel like they'll need a protein supplement on top of this. (Peas?)

    Erik in Oregon

  2. Check out some of the commercial fodder systems. Some of them have custom mixes for increased protein. Personally I feed my guys eggs. We have plenty to spare. They also get a small ration of commercial feed. I keep a close eye for any issues. Their coats look so shinny, their weight is good, and they are active. My feeder is growing like crazy too. Guess they are getting what they need!