Follow our series on starting and maintaining a sprouted grain system for natural livestock fodder! It’s like providing pasture for your animals without needing the pasture and at a fraction of the cost. Enjoy!
The last day of our livestock sprouted fodder system! It went surprisingly well and I didn’t even have to try very hard. The barley seed really just wanted to sprout and grow. Thank goodness it did because this was such a fun experiment and I think it will benefit our animals greatly in nutrition.
During this little trial on growing fodder, I have noticed that for all the things that can go wrong, they are easily avoided with a little thought. Firstly, I kept my fodder system at the recommended 50-70* degree range while sprouting. This could be a big problem if growing outdoors. Cooler temperatures can slow or halt the process and warmer temperatures can halt the process or cause mold.
Adequate drainage is obviously a must. With how thick the root “mat” mass grew and how tightly knit together it became, it was obvious that it wasn’t getting air circulation. Mold could be a problem again if the fodder grew too much longer. When I pulled the fodder out of the tray for the first time, I literally had to cut the root mat apart with a box cutter. It’s that thick. Even then, I still had to muster up some strength to pull scored chunks off. I’m no brute, but I’m no wimp either!
The other key ingredient to successful sprouted fodder seems to be moisture. If you have been following along you would know that I started with two trays of seeds soaked for different amount of times. The first tray was soaked for six-hours and the second for eighteen-hours. The six-hour soak didn’t seem to be long enough. After trying out a middle ground twelve-hour soak, I came to the conclusion that either a twelve or eighteen-hour soak were much more effective than the six-hour soak.
Keeping the grain moist, but not overly wet during the nine days is equally important. By rinsing the trays two to three times a day and keeping the system well ventilated, mold didn’t have much of a chance to show its ugly head. Always remember to provide good air circulation!
All in all, the livestock sprouted fodder system was an easy success! I am already transitioning the animals onto a 90% fodder diet and I’ll post the results on their progress soon with animal weight comparisons. But after just two days I can tell you that they gobble the sprouted fodder down in a blink of an eye. (I think they like it.)
Linked up at: Homestead Barn Hop