Inside this barn, there is a 12’x12’ room in a loft.
A room about the size of a bedroom, really, but with 30 beds, grow beds! It’s a food production room, the likes of which, you will not see at a typical alpaca ranch. It feeds the entire herd!
This alpaca knows what’s up there! Let’s go take a look!
At first glance inside the door, you can already sense something is very different.
The room is brightly lit, and against one wall are 30 trays with something in them…the grow beds! What is that?
What THAT is, is Barley and it starts in the form of a grain, but through the miracle of sprouting, gets transformed into a delicious and nutritious micro-green!
75-100lbs of these micro-greens gets harvested, every, single, day!
About 5lbs of pre-soaked barley are spread into a specially designed grow bed: a flood-and-drain style grow tray.
There, it is automatically irrigated for a 9 day grow cycle.
Once the 9 days are up, the tray will be pulled from the shelf and 25-30lbs of fresh barley sprouts comes out!
Fresh food for alpacas! Are you impressed yet?
Here’s what a 6 month supply of barley looks like freshly stacked.
Unlike processed pellet chows, we can store up to a year supply of grain without it spoiling or molding. Pellets simply don’t have the shelf life of a whole grain.
With a fresh diet of barley microgreens, alpacas are getting a highly digestible foodstuff.
Their health improves considerably.
At $.25 per pound, it currently costs us $3.75 per day to feed a herd of 20 animals. Since hay consumption also drops, we save on our hay budget too. We also no longer buy pellets.
Our approach became popular these past 5 years! A video of our fodder room chores started getting lots of views (https://youtu.be/hes3ZhvjtqY ). We started receiving requests to speak about our experience. We were happy to share! As of 2017, over 150+ farms have installed our grow trays on their farms. We made an impact on how others too can achieve success with sprouting!
Over 5+ years sprouting now, and we have had a great experience. Our livestock operation is optimized and efficient as part and parcel of our overall permaculture approach to running a natural farm.
The public, gets to participate too, any time they stay as guests in our yurts! Pssst! That’s another secret! You can actually come stay at this guest ranch and “glamp” in a yurt! You can play rancher as part of our morning farm chores, and get to see the Barley Fodder Room up close!
For all the old-pros out there who have sprouting going on at their farms, here’s a bonus for reading this far! We put together a pictorial collage that shows you a strategy for dealing with any mold challenges you might have: Fodder in the Summer with Poor Seed and Mold https://www.facebook.com/230401092961/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10153955212502962
Be sure to check out these other Fodder articles and videos on our blog! We also sell the grow trays we made famous with our flood and drain style approach for DIY sprouting:
BONUS! Check out the photo album for some close-up shots of all aspects of our Fodder Room via our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151297013542962.496318.230401092961&type=1&l=a16cdb13b7