It’s been 2 weeks since I lost 3 of my ducks and several chickens. Everyone has been living in the coop and run ever since. It’s probably best considering the cold and windy weather lately. Somehow all 20 something chickens, 2 ducks and 2 geese get along when stuck in there. It rarely happens but my flock was literally vanishing and being dragged away. My heart couldn’t take it anymore.
We have to go out with hot water every day to make sure everyone has water to drip. It’s one of the most important things in the winter for chickens actually. As much as I can, I try to keep them entertained with treats and boredom busters.
In my precious post I detailed about how to make homemade chicken friendly birdseed blocks. Another favourite of mine is to make fodder through the winter for them to munch on! It’s both nutritious and a boredom buster while in the coop!
So what is fodder?
When you Google it you get a pretty lengthy, complicated answer. But it’s actually really easy! I start with a whole grain of some sorts. Wheat, oats, barely. As long as it’s whole and not processed, such as rolled oats. There is even specific seed packages you can buy that advertise as good sprouts for salads! Yes, even you can eat the sprouts!
You’ll need to soak the grain in water overnight, I like to use large mouthed mason jars. Cover the jars in plastic wrap and an elastic and leave in a safe place.
In the morning you’ll want to drain the grains and transfer them into a tray. I will link the Amazon ones I have that work absolutely perfect! Or at one point I was even using large tinfoil baking trays for this.
Once drained and in the tray, leave on a flat surface. And water morning and night, it is easiest to use a spray bottle.
Within a day or two you should start seeing tiny roots sprouting from the grain! And another few days you’ll have greens climbing out of the tray. They will start to farm a beautiful root system attached to the green grass like ends. By then the fodder is editable, but I like to wait another few days until it’s turned into a “mat” like structure of roots underneath. You’ll be able to lift the fodder right out of the tray! Like a cute little house mat made of grass.
You can either break it into pieces or throw it in with your chickens whole! It may take a minute or two but they’ll eventually clue in and go crazy for it!
If you’re debating whether it’s worth the work or not, try to remember that just 1 bag of whole grains can be turned into almost 300lbs of fodder. That’s a huge result! But don’t forget, your chickens will still need their regular all flock or layer feed daily!
Within the next couple days I’ll post again updating you on how mine is growing!