OK, I know – that header was cheesy! Sometimes I just can’t help it.
My husband and I always try to keep the holidays low key, especially when it comes to gift giving. This year my husband bought the “gift that keeps giving” – a home fodder system to produce our own chicken feed. It’s amazingly simply – a frame of pvc pipes, a pump and water bin. He purchased a dried seed blend of wheat, barley and sunflower seeds. They only require a half hour soak in water before you put them in their little tray. The system rinses them down every two hours for about 20 minutes, and the only thing you have to do is change the water daily!
This couldn’t have come at a better time, as well. Our nearest farm supply store is close to an hour away; and the ones that don’t take advantage of their location and charge insane prices for a bag of chicken pellets are close to two hours away! We went up to the family cabin for new years, anticipating that we would buy more feed at the local Tractor Supply to find that it was closed due to the holiday. All I could think of was returning home to my sad, cold, hungry little hens. We had some wild bird seed left, as well as leftover deer feed from the hunting season that has stretched us through until that point.
Thank goodness my joy at being able to grow something to preoccupy the long wait until I can start my garden seeds had led me to set up four trays of fodder Christmas morning. They take about 6 to 8 days to grow, so just as we ran out of chicken feed, it was ready! Each time I empty a tray I setup another, and it has, amazingly enough, proved to be plenty of food. Natural fodder has much more protein and nutrients than the pellets, so they don’t need as much as they do with the store bought grain.
My husband still went out of his way this morning to go pick up a bag of feed, but considering the hens fought each other out of the coops’ doorway to get to the fodder in my hands . . . I think we won’t be needing as much anymore!