Fodder feed

by Debbie
(Chino Valley, AZ)

I have 2 horses and a dozen chicken. With the cost of hay and grain going up every week, I have started to look into a Fodder Feed system, but the cost for even the smallest unit is out or reach for most people, so I am trying to figure out how to build a DIY system.
I live in central Arizona @ 5200 ft. elevation so the winters are cold and we get snow occasionally. I have a cold frame greenhouse and was told that it would be too cold to grow the fodder.
Your closet idea is great, but would need to adapt it to be used outside in the feed room of my barn.

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Debbie


Answer from Stella/Simon:

Hi Debbie,
Have to admit I know nothing about growing feed or fodder for livestock. The growbox plans we offer are generally used for 4-6 specimen plants, like tomatoes or peppers, or medical herbs.

Not sure you would get enough volume for your needs. I am posting this in hopes someone else has more experience with fodder and can help.
Hope this helps!

***Do you have any knowledge on this subject? Then please join in and leave your thoughts and suggestions below. Help and be helped in the Forums!

Comments for Fodder feed

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Jan 19, 2012
by: Mark

Debbie, get a hold of me I think I can help.

Apr 03, 2012
Fodder System Costs
by: Glenn


I think I may be able to help with the costs of the fodder systems. Typically for 4-head is will cost 400-600 dollars to feed them monthly.

However, with a system from a company I work with, you can have a system for a monthly payment of $300-400 and own the equipment after 5 years.

Then you are set with only barley seed and maintenance costs.

-Glenn Propst

May 22, 2012
This is more 'sprouting' than in-depth hydro
by: Anonymous

Basically, hydro-fodder works out to be trays of barley seed exposed to sunlight with periodic water sprays.

No nutes, minimal water checks (temp and pH, I suppose), plenty of light and air.

Sep 04, 2012
Fodder home grown
by: Dyanna

I recently started growing fodder in trays in the spare room of my house, it may not be as pretty as the stuff from the machine but its pretty damn good. I have a bunch of buckets, some with holes drilled in the bottom and some solid for the soaking stage. I have a shelf unit that I have covered in a black blanket for the first 3 days and finally I have more shelves on a table in front of a window and I leave the lights turned on all the time in that room. I mist the trays a couple times per day with a pressurized pestacide sprayer, it takes no time at all. My two little ponies love it and recently my 3 bigger horses have started on it. My challenge is making it fast enough but I am not using a machine and my cost is minimal. I avoid mold issues by adding a tiny cap of bleach to the initial soak stage which is gome after the 3 or four rinses that follow the next couple days,, no mold,, my biggest issue is with fruit flies,,

Oct 02, 2012
You can order plans for a scalable unit less than half the cost of others
by: Larry Bailey

To save yourself a lot of headache I suggest you order the Fodder Handbook (has drawings, specs, parts list, detailed descriptions of how to build a water spray type fodder system). Cost is $250 but it is saving ma a ton of trial and error. You can size it accordingly. Your biggest cost will probably be a water tight container of some sort. has some pistures of a 40 foot long unit. I plan on building a 20 foot unit for around $6,000. A commercial fodder pro type 20' enclosed atmospherically controlled unit costs ~$15,000+. If you only have a few animals it will not be cost effective.

If you are interested email Holly Zech at

Oct 10, 2012
Growing healthy fodder in a hydroponic system
by: DrDebND

I am just embarking on this subject; yes hydroponic systems for growing fodder seem extremely costly initially. Depending on the number of animals you are feeding it may be worth it because the livestock feed is more nutrient dense, affordable and safer. ROI can be realized quickly especially with increasing drought conditions. From what I understand, mold can grow and that causes problems with the health of the animal, so growing conditions must be kept clean. I have been told minimal light exposure is best and greenhouses don’t work as well. Controlled enclosed insulated steel cabinets, boxes or buildings. I also understand the seeds sprout quickly 6-10 days and require grow nutrients and controlled temperatures. I am learning this is a good solution for farmers who have 40 heads and up, and also good for hobbyists with 5-10 horses or cows. I will stop back when I learn more. Cheers.Happy forage!!!

Oct 27, 2012
Fodder Seed
by: Dillon

Do you know the exact ratio of sunflower seeds to barley seeds for horses? I just found out you can do that.

Oct 29, 2012
hoop house
by: mark

you should consider double layering and heating your hoop house. you can then have e year round growing.

Oct 30, 2012
Grow closet
by: Dyanna

I bought styrofoam insulation from Home Depot that has a reflective silver backing on it.. I installed it with the silver side out. I put in a 3 foot flourescent light with daylight bulbs. For added heat you simply put in a regular 60 watt bulb. Barley doesn't need a lot of heat, about 60 degrees should do. Don't over water or you will get mold, I use a mister. I also add bleach for the initial seed soaking, just a splash. If you send me you email I will send you pictures.

Jan 13, 2013
Dyanna - contact me!
by: Andrea @ Fairmount

I started playing with growing fodder about 2 months ago. I have a new seed source. Now I have the worst mold ever! I everything else has stayed the same. I have changed my practices, but would love to talk to someone else that's growing fodder DIY. Please email me at

Best Regards!

May 14, 2013
by: Anonymous

I use a little bit of bleach when I soak my seed. I have my room at 63 degrees and I am still having issues with mold growing on my seeds. They get watered for less than 2 minutes every 3 hours. I have read adding peroxide to the water would help. I am curious what I can do/


Answer from Stella/Simon:

Hi there,

I'll be honest with you, it sounds to me like your room is too cool, and your plants are being watered too often. Mold and mildew usually result from cool, damp conditions. You can try to fight the mold by:
Increase temperature
Decrease humidity
Increase air circulation and ventilation
Increase light intensity
Consider using Safer's Garden Fungicide

I do not use bleach on seeds or plants, only use it to disinfect between plantings. But do try adding a little peroxide to the nutrient vat.

Hope this helps!

***Do you have any knowledge on this subject? Then please join in and leave your thoughts and suggestions below. Help and be helped in the Forums!

Jun 14, 2013
Barley Fodder for 10 horses
by: Kathy

I have been growing fodder for 2 weeks now and I chose not to have an automatic watering system because I work and would be frantic that my house would be flooding while I'm at work.

I use the bucket system that I found at Peak Prosperity website, and so far I am sooo happy and so are my horses!

I would be happy to help or get ideas from anyone.


Jun 17, 2013
My closet system
by: Dyanna

Debbie, I wanted to update my previous post about the system I built in a closet.. Sorry to say it eventually failed do to lack of air circulation however I did set it up in an shed with a 4 ft. opening and now its growing fantastic. Air circulation is key and keeping it cool is a must.

Aug 20, 2013
Mold issues
by: Laura

I also have started a fodder feed system. Had a little mold issue at first but a fan put it to rest. I have mine on my back porch (enclosed) for now and it gets very hot during the day so I have to water for 1 hr every 4 hours during the day as evaporation happens quick. I am still playing with conditions and I am on an automatic water system but I want to replace the hoses with sprayers for more even distribution. I am not getting good sprouting as the seeds dry quick. I even keep them covered with a paper towel that stays moist the first 3 days. I am also using straight barley... considering adding some sunflower seeds for a mix.

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