Kelly Liston

How to Grow Fodder for Hens

What is fodder, you may ask? Quite simply, it is food for livestock. Usually dried grasses or hay. For my hens, fodder is sprouted grain allowed to grow beautiful green shoots.

Lots of chicken owners grow fodder for chickens during the winter months. With snow covered grounds, fresh green grass, essentially, is a welcome treat for hens! Chickens love eating the grain, roots, and shoots!

The new home that I moved into has a backyard with no landscaping. It is on our to-do list, but we want to be sure we know what we want in our backyard before just throwing sod down. The hens have a lot of Arizona dirt to scratch in. Lots!

Missing green plants and grasses to forage around in, I decided to grow some fodder for the chickens! They have plenty of weeds of course, but I wanted to give them something really yummy to snack on!

Growing fodder for chickens couldn't be easier!  I used a wheat berry, but I have known others to use barley.  For my experiment, I scooped a 1/4 cup of wheat berries, put them in a bowl and covered them with water.  I allowed them to soak for 24 hours.

Growing Chicken Fodder Day 1 -ohlardy.com

On day 2, tiny little sprouts started to emerge.

Growing Chicken Fodder Day 2 - ohlardy.com

I drained and rinsed the grain and then placed it in my little seed sprouter.  I watered it twice a day and watched it grow!  And it grew fast!

Day 3:

Growing Chicken Fodder Day 3 - ohlardy.com

Day 5:

Growing Chicken Fodder Day 5 - ohlardy.com

Day 6:

Growing Chicken Fodder Day 6 - ohlardy.com

I was aiming for 4 inches in height. By day 6 I was there. I was also starting to notice that the grain was starting to give off a fermented smell.  My kids thought it was stinky, but it just smelled like fermented grain.

I had my trusty assistant, my oldest son, give the fodder to the chickens for the first time so that I could film it.  As with most things I give them, they are wary at first.  But they dove right in!  They LOVED it!  Needless to say I will be growing fodder for my chickens on a regular basis.  It is so easy to do and it is incredibly nutritious!

Have you grown fodder for your hens?  Which grain have you used?

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fodder for your hens - ohlardy.com

This post was featured at Homestead Barn Hop

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7 Comments on “Fodder for Chickens”

  1. Wow! Your henny’s are so lucky to have you. I’m going to Pin this for use in Winter because I have boat loads of fresh grass for my free range hens. Please be sure to refer this post to your faithful readers again in the winter. Thanks for a great post.

  2. I have been trying to grow wheat berries and both times they have molded. Any suggestions?
    Thanks!

  3. I have been growing sprouts for several months. My chickens and rabbits love it! I use wheat, Milo, barley, and oats. Make sure the container is very clean and has good drainage. After the initial 24 hours, you don’t want your grains sitting in water. I drilled holes on one end of a rectangular plastic container, and sit it at an angle to the water automatically drains. Works great.

    1. Hi Patty, I saw your comment and thought I’d better share what I found. Apparently milo, sometimes called sorghum, produces arsenic or something like that when sprouted. They say not to let animals graze on milo except for during certain stages of growth. Sprouting milo creates poison. Hopefully it hasn’t been an issue since it’s only part of the feed, but it could make for poisonous eggs. Maybe it doesn’t work that way, but something to look into.

  4. Hi,

    I just started raising chickens this past March. I now have 6 hens and 2 roos (looking for a new home for one) since they just started fighting.

    Like you I live in AZ. and don’t have grass or good grazing so I have started to grow fodder. Right now I am doing barley but plan on trying wheat soon. The chickens love it an I think it will be great for winter.

    Good luck!

  5. Pingback: Raising Backyard Chickens | PreparednessMama

  6. Wow! This is incredibly useful! I have been on the fence for a while about growing fodder for my chickens but this is a great resource! Your chickens are lucky to have you!!

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