Growing Fodder for Your Homestead

| 11/28/2018 10:34:00 AM

Mature barley fodder

When we decided we wanted to raise homegrown meat, such as pork and poultry, I wanted the animals to eat high quality food. After all, you are what your food eats! All of our animals eat non-gmo feed with organic ingredients, and often certified organic, especially when we have no green pasture for them to graze.

So in addition to the lush, green pasture we have in certain months, I supplement our pigs with a fixed amount of 'hog grower' feed everyday. Anything 'organic' generally carries a higher price tag, but to me the quality of feed is important for the quality of the animal. I kept researching other ways to feed them high quality foods and I came across growing fodder.

Fodder is by definition, is just food grown to feed to livestock. I chose organic barley as the grain I was going to sprout and turn into food for the pigs & the chickens (the goats love it too!). One pound of barley seed when sprouted will turn into six pounds of fodder. That equals a 50 pound bag of barley and turning it into 300 pounds of fodder! The reason for sprouting barley (or any other fodder) is that by allowing the grain to sprout, the vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber & the digestibility for the animals are all increased through the sprouting process. One other huge advantage? Sprouting barley has taken our feed costs from $0.60/lb (certified organic feed) to $0.10/lb (certified organic sprouted barley)! That's a huge difference!

However, sprouting barley takes a bit more work than just dishing out pig feed from a bag. Each day I feed the pigs their portion of barley fodder & then start a new batch. Starting a fresh batch means soaking the barley in fresh water for 12+ hours. Once it's soaked overnight, I wash the barley again and spread the seeds evenly in sprouting trays I got from our local hydroponics store. Each tray must have perforations for drainage and be watered twice a day. Within 2-3 days you can see the tiny sprouts beginning to grow!

Freshly soaked barley

9/19/2019 7:40:18 PM

This is fascinating. I'm hoping to be able to move around more by next year. Pain has stopped me from doing much of anything this summer and I rarely left the house to even go to doctor appts that I still need to go to this fall.I'm handicapped but have grandkids who could help me out when it is hard to get around. This sounds like a way I can bond with them and not just be in a chair or wheel chair If I do get better by then.

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