Growing hydroponic fodder for your chicken – step by step guide

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Hydroponic farming is the cultivation of plants in a nutrient solution rather than in the soil. Hydroponic fodder has been widely used by farmers as a feed supplement for their animals. The feed supplement, which is a rich source of proteins depending on the seeds used, has helped farmers cut down production costs in their farms which maximizes profits.

I have made hydroponic cultivation a close friend since I ventured into poultry farming. I had been thinking of hydroponics as one very difficult thing to achieve, thanks to YouTube tutorials, now I clearly understand and have managed to produce hydroponic fodder consistently which has lessened my burden of commercial poultry feeds. What I do now is that I buy a bag of commercial feeds, mix them with other feeds ingredients then again supplement them with hydroponic fodder.

Advantages of hydroponic fodder in poultry

Hydroponic fodder is a rich source of protein. Using grains such as barley, wheat, millet and maize to grow the hydroponics ensures that your chickens are supplied with sufficient a protein that is needed in their bodies. From the options however, barley seeds and wheat are most preferred as they have more than 20% proteins which is the standard requirement for chicken.

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Profit maximization

Hydroponic fodder helps farmers cut down production costs. Commercial feeds are currently highly priced which is affecting income and profits for farmers and making poultry products to be highly priced. Using hydroponic fodder as a feed supplement reduces the amount of commercial feeds consumed daily by the chicken therefore reducing the cost of feed.

Hydroponic fodder can feed a large number of flocks while grains alone will not fully feed your chicken

One kilo of wheat grains cannot feed even twenty chickens to satisfaction. That same kilo of wheat can be used to grow hydroponic fodder which can feed more than two hundred chickens.

Hydroponic fodder grows very fast

It takes between five and six days for hydroponic fodder to grow up to the time they are ready for consumption. The fast growth rate makes it more available. A serious farmer can have a tray of fodder for his/her chicken daily.

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How do you grow hydroponic fodder?

Most farmers view hydroponic farming as something really strange that they cannot manage on their own and that which needs expertise in order to achieve a result. Hydroponic farming is however a very simple process that any farmer can do and does not require technical knowledge.

In order to grow hydroponic fodder, a farmer should get wheat, barley or sorghum seeds from dealers of grains. The seeds are found in almost all markets. Once the farmer gets the seeds, he/she should follow the following simple steps in order to achieve their desired result, fodder.

  • Soak the seeds

A farmer should soak fully in water the seeds and let them remain there for four hours. Soaking the seeds will ensure that they get enough water that will facilitate germination.

  • Remove the seeds from water

Drain the water in which the seeds were soaked and ensure that the seeds are just wet, but not in water. Let the seeds remain in that bucket for a period of two days after which they will have germinated.

  • Clean your crates thoroughly
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Cleaning your trays ensures that bacteria or fungi do not invade your project which may make the fodder to under perform or even expose the chicken to complications.

  • Spread the germinated seeds on your crates

Farmers can spread their seeds on either commercial crates or homemade crates (refer to the following article).

  • Water the seeds for four to five days

Once the seeds are spread on the crates, water your seeds after every 24 hours and ensure that the water drains off well in order to avoid stagnation which may cause the seeds to rot and never grow.

  • Harvest your hydroponic fodder and let your chicken enjoy.