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fodder failure

Provide a well rounded diet without commercial feed, including discussions of the methods and merits of growing fodder.
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fodder failure

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Rainey » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:36 pm


Since our first year with rabbits we've fed lots of forage, no pellets and grown wheat into fodder for winter greens. I started the first batch soaking last Sunday, drained it after 12 hours and rinsed it in it's plastic container twice a day until dumping it out into a 10"x20" nursery tray on day 3. Some of it has sprouted but now at day 6 many of the grains haven't sprouted so it hasn't formed a mat of roots or started any green sprouts. Looked at the next batch started 48 hours later and the same thing--some sprouts but more left unsprouted.
I think this sprouted seed will just get fed to the chickens.

I'm wondering if whatever makes them not sprout affects their nutritional value when fed as grain. Could being stored in a place that was too hot change the germination rate? We bought several bags each of wheat and oats from our local mill at the end of the summer, instead of getting them at the feed store which is closer to us but has to order the wheat for us and sometimes forgets or runs out of the oats which are supposed to be in stock.

Anyway I'm almost glad now that we ended up with no late summer litters to grow out through the fall. The adults will cope on hay and roots and the willow and nettle we dried.

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Re: fodder failure

Post Number:#2  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:53 pm


if the grain is old, or has been too hot- germination rate will be low...
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Re: fodder failure

Post Number:#3  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:13 pm


I had this problem with wheat purchased from the feed store in town. I complained and was told that the grain was sold for animal feed, not sprouting. In fact they had never heard of sprouting grain for fodder. They did, however, give me a second bag of wheat to replace it. Same thing with the second bag.

They were completely uninterested in the fact that there was something wrong with their wheat, which I found annoying. :angry:

I think they must have been selling either very old or very poorly stored wheat, as Michael says. I don't know how it affects the nutritional value when it is fed as grain, but I consider wheat that won't sprout properly to be dead . . . and who wants to feed dead grain to their animals? We did feed it to the chickens (waste not, want not) but we also switched to a different feed store. The wheat from the other feed store sprouts just fine.
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Re: fodder failure

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Rainey » Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:23 pm


We got this wheat from the same mill where we've gotten it all the other years. It's just that this summer we started buying as several 50 lb bags each of wheat and oats from the mill instead of getting them a bag at a time from the local feed store. This summer was so miserably hot and humid and we got 3 bags in early September. Don't really have any other options at a reasonable distance but perhaps if we get another bag now, it will be more recently harvested and will sprout.
I agree with you, Maggie, about the deadness. That's why we've not wanted to feed pellets, because everything has been ground up and heated and pressed together until it just seems dead.

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Re: fodder failure

Post Number:#5  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:40 pm


I'd take a sample of the wheat and a sample of the pitiful results when you sprout it to the place you bought it, just making them aware of the problem. If you plan to buy a new bag for sprouting, they may at least give it to you free of charge.

I remembered after I posted that the "bad" wheat did not look quite the same as usual. It looked a bit less plump and was a slightly darker brown. Not enough to notice until compared to a good bag, but still an indicator of poor quality.
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Re: fodder failure

Post Number:#6  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:19 am


If you have a good nose, you can smell the difference between old wheat,[or feed] and new wheat. also look for extra dust in the older wheat/ grain . In the eastern US it is almost impossible to keep stored grain totally dry. It ages faster [than "out-west"}, and gets more mold toxins in it by the time the new harvest is available.
-------For me, -- it is a constant worry no matter when I buy "feed" from a commercial source, I can never know just how old the ingredients are, or how they were stored.-The only info i can get- is just the manufacture date. I am sure the people in the feed store think i am totally neurotic , when they watch me carefully smelling the bottom of bags of feed/ grain before i buy them..[the bottom of the bag is not sealed up, it just has stitching where the bag was sewn up.] One of the reasons I have always preferred to feed sugar beets,stock beets, Jerusalem artichokes, and carrots, [instead of grain] was ,- I had a very bad experience as a kid, when I fed grain taken from near the bottom of the grain bin to feed our animals. It killed a lot of rabbits out-right, and ruined the breed stock , it made chickens stop laying and moult months early. I found out that that "dusty" grain was mouldy-- it destroyed our family's food supply for many months.. I had to salvage everything I could and restart the rabbit breeding population .. It was a slow and "painful" recovery. I had to go out and hunt for our meat, for many months, [and, all through the long Montana winter ]...
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Re: fodder failure

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Rainey » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:59 am


Maybe should have started a new thread for this, but just wanted to post that we got a new bag of wheat and I soaked the first batch a week ago and will feed the first fodder from it tomorrow. So glad to have fresh feed again as we got 8 to 10 inches of snow overnight.
Guess I had beginner's luck when I started growing fodder in 2014--only problem we ever had was developing mold if we tried to grow it when it was too warm (damp?) Now I have another reason not to grow it in the warm time and will know not to buy grain ahead at the end of the summer.
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