We recently started growing fodder, or sprouted seeds, to supplement the feed for our chickens and turkeys. Its been going well so far, and the results have been very rewarding. Every morning I pull out 6 lbs of fresh sprouted grains to feed our birds, and in return egg quality has gotten noticeably better. Yolks seem to be richer in color, and the whites are denser and less runny — easier to fry. The birds seem to enjoy scratching apart the root mats and devouring the sprouts, so I’m sure it’s doing all sorts of good for their wellbeing, too. Changing the water regularly, plus cleaning and disinfecting regularly, we haven’t had any problems with mold or other major setbacks (yet. *knock on wood*).
With our relative success, I felt like it was time to start experimenting. We added clover seed to the mix. It’s high in protein, inexpensive, and really delivers a lot for it’s size. The new recipe is:
- 1/2 cup Rye
- 1/2 cup Clover
- 2 cups of Barley
Basically just swapped half of the rye, which seemed to sprout slower and produce less, with tiny clover seeds. At first I thought their small size would be a problem because they can easily wash through the holes in each fodder tray, but mixed in with the rest, it actually fills in the spaces between larger seeds and makes things more stable. Before adding clover I would have to scoop seeds that had washed down to cover the drain holes much more often. Now, I can spread the seeds more evenly and closer to the drainage end of the tray, and the root mat is much stronger. It makes serving and handling easier. The clover also produced more. Just replacing half of the rye with clover nets us a whole extra pound of finished weight!
I’m excited to try more things to optimize our feed mix in the future. For those of you out there who grow fodder: What grains do you sprout? If you have any suggestions: drop ’em in the comments, we would love to hear.