Fodder growing system

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by TnAndy, Dec 25, 2013.

  1. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Growing fodder for chicken feed. Partially to cut down on the cost of feed, and mostly to give them a source of high protein greens during the winter. Initially, I grew a couple of 10x20 seed flats worth on the kitchen counter. Soak the grain overnight, rinse, put in a seed flat, and water 3-4 times/day. Good results, chickens seemed to gobble it up.

    OK, after experimenting with some seed flats on the kitchen counter top, I decided to set up a full blown automated watering system to grow fodder for my chickens this winter. Total amount in the system is about $175.

    Bought 150lbs of wheat for feed stock from the local feed store @13.75/50lbs.


    1. Rack built out of treated lumber I already had, but I'd estimate about $30 cost.

    2. Bulk tank for water storage and pump to sit in was a plastic mortar mixing pan from Lowe's for $14.

    3. Pump is an Eco396, Amazon for $20.49

    4. Timer is a Titan Apollo 7, Amazon for $15.90 Does max of 8 different settings per 24hrs.

    5. Trays are Rubbermaid FG334900WHT, 4 5/8gal, approx. 15"x20"x5", white plastic "bus" (as in restaurant dishes) trays.

    6. Misc stuff: Wood screws, 4 casters for the bottom (recycled off something else), vinyl hose between pump and copper, some 1/2" copper, and a few fittings...already had most of this stuff, so I'll guess another $30 would have covered it.

    Built the wood rack to hold two sets of trays, 4 on each side. I figured based on my kitchen seed flat results that one tray of fodder ought to come off the system every 8 days, so as that one is emptied, it will be refilled to start the process over.

    Rack is approx 28" x 36", bigger than needed for the trays, but allows the bulk tank to sit on the bottom of the rack. I wanted the tank there so I could roll all of the unit around. That will allow me to roll the rack over someplace like the garage door to dump the bulk tank water and refill it when it needs changing.

    Slats that hold the trays are sloped slightly from front to back, or back to front, alternating. I drilled a dozen small holes ( like 1/8" ) in the bottom of the trays on one end with the plan the water enters from above on the un-drilled end, floods the tray, and drains out the bottom end. It then goes into the tray below, which is the upper end of it, floods it, and drains out the lower end. Repeat for the trays below that until it drains back to the bulk tank.

    Pump submerses in bulk tank, feeds thru a 5/8" vinyl hose to the 1/2" copper line on the back of the rack. I put a ball shut off valve in the line at that point to regulate the water flow in case the pump put out too much, then the line runs up to the top, where I put a T and a short section of capped off copper over the top of the two upper trays. Drilled some 1/8" holes in the copper to for the pump water to flood the tops trays.

    This is day 5 sprouting. First couple days, I had the trays in the shop while finishing up the rack, and I think the temperature was too the mid 50's. Based on my kitchen counter growing, at day 5, these ought to have a lot of green showing. So I moved the rack into the basement near the wood stove, and the temperature is a lot closer to 70 there, so I hope to see some improvement in growth rate. May also have to tweak the pump cycles. Right now, I have it running 15 minutes, 4 times a day....may need to bump that up some.

    May also need to cut down on the amount of wheat I put in....used two Coolwhip bowls ( weighs about 1 1/2lbs ) in the first tray.....seems fairly 'thick' as it's spouted, so I've cut that back to about a pound a tray in the later trays.

    It's a work in progress.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2014
    Sapper John and chelloveck like this.
  2. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    And I have no clue why the photos don't show. They did in the preview, and I can see them in the Edit mode.....mystery to me.
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    That is really interesting Andy.... The Picts show up when I try and edit the Post but not when It just loads.... maybe @ghrit or @melbo can find out what the issue is.....
  4. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Yep.....even loading just one as above, no good.

    Uploading directly from my computer ( versus using the post image icon above ) results in multiple copies of the same photo !

    Something screwball in the forum software.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2013
  5. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Test image upload...

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2013
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    I can see them in edit also. What I can't see is the size of the shot or the format. Could be too big? Beyond that, I'm guessing. Software looks OK from here.
  7. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Size of the photo is fairly small.....100k or so. I use the lowest resolution on the camera for photos I'm gonna post to keep the file size as small as possible. Always have, so no change there.

    ANYway if anyone wants to see the same post WITH photos, go to:

    Fodder growing system - Homesteading Today
    Motomom34 and chelloveck like this.
  8. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Apologies Andy, just tracked down an image bug and am repairing now.
    It appears that there are a number of broken images scattered around the forum :(
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