Sunday, October 5, 2014

Barley Fodder. The New Hay Substitute

So, hay wasn't so good this year, we have not a hay barn AND this is so much cheaper.  Well, so much cheaper if you don't buy into the fodder systems you can buy now, with financing no less.  I spent $33 for 20 seed starting trays (in case they wear out, you only need 8 to start) at Home Depot (they had to order them for me by the way since they don't have them in stock in the store at this time, since its not Spring).  $1.50 each for 4 gallon buckets with lids at $3 and $22.50 for a bag of barley.  That is all (well, ok, I might have to buy another bag or two of barley since our winter and non-growing time can last up to 8 months of the year).  Oh, and shelves to put them on, I just stole some of hubby's, I might replace them eventually, but for now, were on the cheap.  Now you can go to one of these websites or companies and get something fancy smancy for a few hundred or thousand, depending on how many animals you have.  I have two sheep and 16 chickens.  One tray with 1lb of barley + an ounce of BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) = 8lbs of barley fodder!!!!  They say to feed sheep 2-3% of their body weight.  About 1lb/day.  Sheesh!  If I go to a smaller size receptacle, I think I will nail it, but I will be ok with making a little more than I need.  Just feed the rest to the compost.  No biggie.  This site tells you how to feed rabbits on barley fodder with a little hay to replace pellets.  Pretty cool.  Now, I'm not going to go step by step here.  There are a couple websites that have done that for you already, in the links above for 8lbs of barley and under 2-3% of a sheep's body weight.  I do the lazy soaking method though.  I just soak for 24 hours instead of 8-12, but do it either way, its just easier for ME.   

 9 thru 7 days, one more day to go, I did start feeding it though and so far they like it.  : )  I gave them half and then another half at next feeding since we feed twice a day.  Chickens devoured it too.
 Day 2 thru 6.  Bag of barley to the right.
 Soaking grains.  Most of the sunflower floats while most of the barley sinks.  I put a lid on this so kids don't fall in it and dogs don't drink out of it.

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