Apr. 3rd, 2012

trystinn: (Default)
You've all been very patient as I've droned on about the West and East Wing chicken breeding pens. And possibly you've been fortunate enough to miss our experiment with mealworm farming. Now, you're going to hear about our newest idea, fodder growing!

Using no nutrients and no soil (or replacement), fodder uses only the seed itself and water to grow a grain replacement for livestock. Basically, you use organic seed grasses, water them several times daily over the course of a week or thereabouts (depending on the crop) by draining the water, re-capturing it, then harvesting it. The seed husk and roots become the base of the sprouts, forming the "biscuit". Watering is a pretty basic, quick maintenance program. Feeding a biscuit is a hell of a lot faster than walking around throwing feed at chickens! :D Efficiency is good!

What I love about hobby farming is the ingenuity of folks - people use tiny greenhouses, spare bathrooms, corner hallways and spare materials gleaned from yard sales. Sure, there's gorgeous setups and expensive systems you can buy. But there's a lot more thrift store systems out there. Ours will be one of those. Likely, using a lot of the stuff we have around here and a few things we've loaned out to folks that we need back. (Alicia, this means you!)

Basically, we're trying to bring down the cost of our chicken hobby. The biggest cost is feed, by growing our own fodder, we'll buy a pound of feed and get roughly 8 pounds of fodder out of it. Since we have around 20 standard sized chickens and 10 bantams, that's roughly 30 chickens. One biscuit should last us a few days. Not sure how many chicks a biscuit will feed, but we'll need to supplement with medicated starter, in any case.



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