Fodder · Mealworms · Poultry · Rabbits

Project Expansions

From a project standpoint, I routinely bite off a little more than I can chew. I’m also pretty bad about easing into new projects.

So let us take a gander at what I’m working on now:

You can see that the fodder is growing well enough. The two flats that are “full” will be fed tomorrow. The Leaning Tower of Fodder still needs to be rebuilt, probably with scavenged PVC pipe. But I needed space, and given the issues I’m having keeping humidity up in the house overall, I (at least for the moment) am going to try shifting the sprouting process to buckets. The three stacked buckets have been through the soaking process, and are in the sprouting stage. I drilled small drainage holes all around the bottom edge, so I can run water through all three at the same time, similar to the trays.

By keeping it in buckets, it’s easier to mix it up for the purpose of splitting from “sprouting” to “fodder”. The decreased surface area for exposure should allow more of the seeds to sprout. The chickens will get at least a quarter of what’s sprouted, and the rest will be put into trays to finish growing another 2-4 days into fodder for the rabbits.

The unstacked bucket on the ground is soaking a new phase of the fodder experiment — 3 parts wheat seed to one part Black Oil Sunflower Seed (known as BOSS in the fodder community). Reports from the fodder community are that rabbits and chickens both really enjoy the variation over plain wheat or barley seed.

Day 2 of being fed fodder in this litter’s life. Three of the four prefer it to the pellets, as does Momma.

Given I caught one of the chickens trying to steal a rabbit’s fodder serving through the bottom of the cage earlier today … I don’t think the chickens will mind getting their own specific rations.

And now we get to the other half of the now very crowded shower stall. What is going on there?

Well … chicken snacks. At least, eventually. Possibly even a small amount of “side hustle” money, if I can get things worked out well enough. More specifically … mealworms.

I don’t have much of a population yet, nor did I acquire enough bedding material. I’m still trying to find a good source for inexpensive oats or oatmeal versus purchasing oatmeal at the grocery store. So I have two small clear bins sitting on top of what will be the mealworm growth drawers. One currently is housing the mealworms, while the other is housing the adult Darkling beetles and pupae. The pupae are separated on a small platform for their own safety.

Once I decide on what bedding TO acquire, and acquire it, I will upgrade the mealworms to a drawer in that (free, found on the side of the road, picked up with this purpose in mind) 3 drawer unit at the back. From there, that small clear bin will become one of two parallel breeding bins. I may even expand the breeding bins, depending on how things work out. The 3 drawer unit is quite a bit larger than most mealworm farmers seem to use for their projects, but, hey, it was free. I’ve held on to it for probably six or eight months, planning to use it for this purpose. (Yeah, that concussion really did screw me up.)

The 5 gallon bucket and darker green things stacked on top of it are for sifting mealworms from the bedding, later. I’m not to the stage of needing those, given I’ve had the mealworms for a whole three days. I didn’t want to get the point of needing them and not having them.

Naturally, the baby is due in a week. So, also naturally, this is when I (re-)start these projects. But the mealworms should be pretty un-intensive, and I think basic instruction for the fodder can be given. I hope. 😛

I would like to expand the fodder to include a water pump on a timer, but we’ll see if that works out or not.