Sprout feeding is something that farmers have done for generations. Fodder is food for cattle and other livestock, especially dried hay and fodder. Grow fodder by sprouting and feeding the animals when they are young. This feeding method can offer a variety of animal nutrition at a fraction of the cost of traditional feed. Although you can sprout a variety of grains, today I’m going to talk about sprouting barley because it’s an all-purpose grain for livestock.
Why sprouted barley?
Barley is one of the most nutritious small grains. Easy to grow and easy to store. It is also one of the most economical sprouting crops. One pound of barley seed will produce seven pounds of sprouting food. Sprouted barley is more easily digested than dry grains, which means it contains more vitamins, minerals and protein.
Sprouted grains offer healthy, nutritious greens even in the dead of winter. My goats and chickens absolutely love this special treat. In addition, chlorophyll and beta-carotene make eggs and milk healthier. Point!
I buy my barley seeds on Amazon because I was not happy with the quality I got locally. Buying online is actually cheaper! I buy from Shadetree Farms. They have great prices, quality products, and free shipping.
How much fodder to plant?
There is no magic number, but here is an approximate number that I feed the animals in our yard. The amount is in the weight of the finished feed, not in the weight of the seed. Remember that the ratio is 1: 7 with sprouted barley.
1.6 ounces of chicken per bird in the spring and summer; In late fall and winter, 2.4 oz.
2.4 ounces of duck per bird in spring and summer; In late fall and winter, 3.6 oz.
.7 oz quail per bird in spring and summer; In fall and winter, 1 oz.
Goats (dwarfs) 1.5 pounds per goat in spring and summer; 2.5 pounds in fall and winter.
Now, I don’t give that exact amount to each bird (but I do to the goats). I feed chickens and ducks (20 birds) 2 1/2 pounds once a day in the spring and summer, quails (18 birds) 1 pound, and a little more in the summer (divided into two feedings). birds cannot reach the green in late autumn and winter.
How to sprout barley
There is a great video tutorial that explains the process better than I can.
Special thanks to The Tactical Homesteader for the great video.
Save a few bucks and pick up a jar at the dollar store. We spent $2.50 each and they are almost identical to his. I’m not tall enough to do the adjustment like he is, so I do as he recommends, 3 on one side and 4 on the other.
If you combine your sunflowers with barley (no more than 5% of the mixture should be sunflowers) it will eliminate mold and mildew as well as the growth problems he mentioned.
I understand the concern about using “dirty” soak water to flush the system, but I use soak water to flush and have never had a problem. If saving water is important to you, give it a try.