Texas.girl
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Growing Fodder for Goats--rye seed not sprouting

I have been experimenting with growing fodder for my goats. I purchased a 1 pound bag of rye seed from the nursery and using a few dish tubs we drilled small holes in, and watered the seed using a watering can; I grew some pretty nice fodder for my goats. They all happily gobbled it up too. No one has barley seed right now in my area so I finally broke down and purchased a 50 pound bag of rye seed from a feed store. The first 2 tubs of the stuff just molded. So I fed it the worms and started over. It had gotten pretty warm outside so I decided to try sprouting outdoors. (I had been starting in my bathtub). I have been trying for over a week now and still not one seed has sprouted. The weather turned chilly again (40’s and 50’s) and so far no mold, but I would think the rye would have at least sprouted by now. The rye I purchased at the nursery would sprout within a few days in my house and then I would move it outside in the sun so the shoots would turn green. These seeds are doing nothing. Anyone else have experience with rye seed? I am wondering if I need to do something different or is this bad seed.

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Ozark Lady
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I can't help you on sprouting the rye seeds.
But, I have dairy goats and I would love to learn to grow fodder for them.
I did purchase dandelion and sunflower seeds to grow specifically to meet the copper needs of my goats.
I haven't attempted to sprout these seeds as of yet.
I am fascinated with the idea of growing fodder for my goats, and have been purchasing herb seeds with the idea of establishing these to grow in a hedgerow just outside the fence, so they can prune them, but not kill the plants. I have an old book on goat care and they really encourage this for the animals health.
I also purchased some corn that is high protein in the stalks and leaves with the idea of feeding my goats, haven't tried them yet.
When I weed the garden, I take all of the weeds to my goats and they really enjoy helping me to get rid of my problem.
Weeds that they don't care for get to meet the compost pile.
I bought a bag of wheat seeds at the feed store with the idea of sprouting these for the goats, but I haven't tried it yet. I even toy with the idea of attempting to grow a raised bed of various grains, for household use and for feeding the stalks etc to my goats as fodder.
Keep us posted on your successes and failures in this endeavor!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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applestar
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I wonder if seeds sold for feed/consumption are not necessarily viable for germination? Do feed stores sell seeds for growing a pasture? Is that what you got?

You could try a germination test -- soak overnight then either sandwich between moist paper towels and roll up into a tube in a plastic bag or wrap in plastic wrap (check at least once a day, twice -- morning and night would be better), or put in a jar and rinse twice a day like you are growing sprouts. (rubber band some kind of netting across the mouth of the jar, add water, pour out, then repeat. do this in the morning and at night). They should start germinating.

ideally, you would have a second batch that you know would germinate for comparison. For large volume of rye seeds, I would look for them in covercrop section.

I tend to buy covercrop seeds on line. Only local place I have seen them sold as such is at a grower's co-op. Not at garden centers/nurseries around here, and definitely not at big box stores. ...I wonder if tractor supply or agway sell pasture seeds? Haven't seen them on display, but you have to ask for a lot of stuff there....

I suppose rye could be in a lawn grass mix, but I don't know if that would be the right kind for feeding goats?

Texas.girl
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Ozark Lady, if you are on fb, there is a fodder group you can join. Lots of discussion there. Also, on youtube there are videos of what people have done. Everything from large systems to small do-it-yourself systems in the laundry room. Great resources to get started. I don't have a garage or building I can turn into a growing fodder building so I have been trying to do what I can outside or in my bathroom. I am in Texas and today's morning low was 50f.

Applestar--I talked to the owner/manager at the feed store when I purchased the rye. He knew I wanted barley (suppose to be very healthy for livestock), but it just isn't available until spring. I told him I was growing fodder. I doubt he would have sold me the seed if he didn't think it would sprout. But then this was a feed store, not a nursery. I assumed people would buy the rye seed to plant and harvest for their livestock. I was thinking of calling but I think I will try your test first. I have mung bean sprouts almost ready for cooking in my sprouting jar right now. If the rye seed doesn't sprout I will complain to the store.

Texas.girl
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Ozark Lady--go to Dollar Tree or yor favorite dollar store and pick up some dish pans or other flats. Drill a bunch of holes (small) so water can drain in all but one of the pans/flats. Then if necessary clean your seeds and then let the seeds drain. Then water twice a day so the seeds are wet but not soggy. When it was cold outside I used my shower head. Now that it is warmer outside I use a watering can. That is how I got started. I got a lot of good rye grass from that first bag of rye seed I bought at the nursery. The goats loved it, roots and all.

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Ozark Lady
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Thanks Texas girl.

I do have fb and I will certainly go check out that group. I am new to using fb and had no idea it had a useful side in something like that. I have it mainly to connect with folks at church and some family members.

The bag of wheat seeds that I bought were at the feed store for farmers to buy to plant. I suppose the rye seed you have was also for that.

Yes, Apple you are right there is normally rye in grass mixes, I am not sure if rye grass and rye for the seeds are one and the same. They probably are, because rye, wheat and oats are all considered in the grass category of plants even when food-grade.

I am almost on the Texas border, so our temps aren't that different than northern Texas. We are a bit more humid, but not that different.

I am also in a couple goat forums, I should check the listings there, there is likely fodder sections in them too.

I bet any seeds sold as cover crops for our gardens are the same as the seeds that farmers grow for a crop. Several online seed companies sell cover-crop grain seeds.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

Texas.girl
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I am on the western edge of the TX Hill Country. Pretty dry here and severe drought is not helping.

I am also a member of The Goat Spot. Learned a lot there and needed help as I got into goats when one just showed up outside one day. I escorted her to my vegetable garden with 8 ft fencing to weed it. She did a nice job.

Besides the "Fodder" group, there is also "TotallyNaturalGoats" page. If you like growing herbs and staying away from drugs, etc. that is a page you should check out. Lots of good info on feeding and caring for goats more naturally. The owner of the page really knows a lot about herbs and their medicinal value. These are both groups you join on fb. Like everything, there is good stuff and bad stuff on fb.

I removed the mung bean sprouts from my sprout jar this morning and soaked some rye seeds in it. Just dumped the water out. Going to see if I can get the rye seeds to sprout in it. After I have some results, I will probably be calling the feed store. Want to know what is going on before deciding whether or not to feed the unsoaked seeds to my goats.

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Ozark Lady
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Hmmm? How did I miss that? I have been a member of that forum for a long time, maybe years... same name there as here.

Thanks.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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fintuckyfarms
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Re: Growing Fodder for Goats--rye seed not sprouting

A table spoon of hydrogen peroxide in your rinse water will keep your seeds from molding. It does not affect the seeds or the animals. I use it in hydroponics and it works great!

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