Multi-species bulk feed

OneFineAcre

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I have done my research and my math.

A sheep requires 2% of their body weight in dry matter per day during maintenance. A 150 lb ewe will need 3 lbs of dry matter per day. Fodder is about 80% moisture. So 3 lbs of DM / 20% DM in fodder = 15 lbs of fodder needed to feed each sheep daily to meet their maintenance requirements.

Compare that to hay, which is about 85% DM on average... 3 lbs of DM / 85% DM in hay = 3.53 lbs of hay needed to feed each sheep daily to meet their maintenance requirements.

Let's say you can grow 500 lbs of fodder for $11 (the cost of a 50 lb bag of barley at the feed store). That is $0.022/lb. Doesn't sound bad at all, does it? (Though that does not include the capital costs of the growing system or the daily maintenance.) Well...when you think of the amount you have to feed (the 15 lbs), then it is $0.33 per sheep per day.

Or you could feed 3.53 lbs of hay per day. In my area I purchase hay for $0.0625/lb. (Though recently I paid $0.09/lb for hay :eek:) That amount is about $0.22 per sheep per day. OR with the amount I recently paid for hay, $0.32 per sheep per day.

If you have five sheep, that is the difference between $1.65 (fodder) and $1.10 (hay) over the course of a day. Over the course of a month, that is $49.50 for fodder or $33 for hay. If you feed this over the course of a year, it will cost you around $40 more every year per animal to feed fodder (again, not including set up costs). When you have hay, you can just buy it straight from another farmer (though storage can be an issue, but even still you can have hay under a tarp outside if you lack a barn or other structure). Again, in this example I am using the prices in my area...if fodder pencils out for you then by all means use it. But it is not a viable feed source for me.

I agree.
Not to mention the effort. I wouldn't have the time with the number of animals I have.
 

Azriel

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Wow, sorry about the double post, darn computer.
 

Azriel

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I pay .025 per pound for hay grown next door.
The only place I could grow fodder, I looked into it... would be our warehouse. We pay commercial electric and the cost for lighting and temp control as well as the initial set up was way to expensive for us. Mold was the biggest problem I saw with the system.

Fodder isn't off my list, I would still love to do it, maybe down the road.

One question I have is the high moisture content, how much is utilized?
I think this is good info though, on both sides. :)
The digestibility of fodder is about 80% compared to hay at about 30%. The seed mat on the fodder is competely edible, adding to the fat and protein, and you can mix several types of seeds which provides additional feeding benefits. As a general rule feeding is 1% of the animals body weight in roughage (hay), and 2% fodder. That would of course depend on the needs of the animal (maintinance, pregnant, milking, exct).
 

sawfish99

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We have considered fodder, and my wife is planning to set up a system to try for the rabbits. However, space and workload becomes a problem. We are usually feeding 6 milking does, plus another 6-8 dry stock (bucks, yearlings) for our goats. We have about 35 rabbits right now, but that number fluctuates from 15-50+. Probably only 2 pigs at a time. A flock of 20-30 hens.

Add all the fodder requirements up, and we would need a MASSIVE system to feed the whole farm. And while 1 or 2 trays of fodder a day don't take much work, it suddenly becomes a significant time issue if you are doing 15 trays a day. What about when you go out of town for the weekend. Finding a 4-H high schooler or college kids to feed the animals isn't too hard, but now to manage the fodder system too?

I think fodder is a good idea, but you either have to be small or really big with employees. I don't see it too viable for those of us in the middle. But I am interested in seeing what that FB group has to say.
 

Southern by choice

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Good point Sawfish. With 20 goats plus kids, 2 sheep hundreds of chickens, geese, turkeys, ducks... the time and expense would probably not bare out for us. Fortunately we have about 9 months of ground cover and forage. It would be great for my poultry once they need to go into their breeding pens. They hate being confined and really protest. The fodder would be very beneficial for them I think.
 

Azriel

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I agree, for most of us it just wouldn't work. I know for me with 10 horses, 4+ cows and 40+ chickens I would need about 150 pounds a day. Not something I have room or time for. I would love one of the big self contained units, but no way is that going to happen any time soon.
 

WorldTreeRabbitry

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This is exactly the kind of post of looking for! I was wondering if anyone here feeds fodder and hay exclusively to rabbits? I sprout barley right now and was curious about the comment about feed with too much barley for chickens? I had not run into that before. The feed mix I use right now is high in barley.
 

Sweetened

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My rabbits are exclusively on an alfalfa/brome hay mix and oats. I have to figure out a grow-out supplement, mind you.
 

woodsie

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this is also something I am very interested in. I am beginning to look into soaking grains in a culture to make them more digestible...I have heard of it increasing the efficiency of the grain you feed up to 50% and make it much healthier on the digestive system.
 

Azriel

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I ferment food for my chickens in the summer when its warm enough, they love it, but I dont know if fermented food could be fed to rabbits . When I was fermenting for the chickens, I was useing less than half the feed that I use in the winter, but they also free range in the summer so get a lot of their food that way to.
 
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