5 panel hoop Raising much of our food has long been the goal of our humble homestead. Unfortunately, I dislike all the work involved with canning & freezing the season’s bounty. Maybe you are like me. Then I read Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman and learned of a better way. A way that we could extend the growing season & eat fresh food. A way that would cut down on the amount of food preservation … Continue reading
You’ve longingly viewed the pictures of lush, green fodder that you see in ads & in posts online. Others are growing this for their animals & you know you can, too. Last week I posted about how I grow fodder. It is a simple concept, but success depends on temperature & moisture. There are a few things that can go wrong & cause your fodder to flop. Improper Watering This is often the biggest problem, … Continue reading
For some years I’ve been interested in growing fodder as a way to feed livestock cheaply & to save space. Hay takes up so much room. I’d see those ads where the farmer is pulling a grassy mat out of a tray & feeding it to cattle. Most of these ads were for the large systems that are housed in a building or trailer where the temperature is controlled & watering is automated. They came … Continue reading
Drought is the biggest enemy to livestock owners. It causes a scarcity of feed & prices rise to the point that farmers cut way back on how many animals they can carry through the winter. We had a bad year in Michigan & decent hay is going for $8/bale. Who can afford that? There is a way to cut your hay consumption in half and feed livestock cheaply.
Fodder is grass grown from oats, wheat, barley or rye seeds. It only takes 7-8 days from seed to maturity & requires no soil to grow. It is easily grown in the house; mine is in my basement. I buy non GMO seeds from a local farmer and pay $8.25/50# of oats & wheat. This will yield about 250# of fodder costing roughly $0.03/pound compared to $0.16/pound for hay at current prices. I can grow enough to feed 6 Shetland ewes, 8 butcher lambs, and a colony of 5 adult rabbits (2 of which are nursing litters) plus 3 fryer bunnies. A bucket of sprouted oats is fed to 15 chickens. We raised 5 pot belly pigs almost exclusively on oat fodder & they taste amazing.
|Fodder & oat sprouts ready to feed || || |
Our fodder growing system is simple and requires twice daily maintenance.
Growing Green Fodder for Livestock
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When I read about retained heat cooking, I knew this was a frugal solution to the dilemma of finding time to prepare healthy meals on a busy homestead. Soup or stew is boiled for about 15 minutes and then the pot is placed in an insulated container and left for the day. The food cooks slowly, much as it would in a crock pot and there is nothing scorched or stuck to the bottom of … Continue reading