First thing, I bought was a shelf at Menards for $50. I suppose if you were really crafty, had extra time, you could make your own from 2x4's quite easily. I didnt have the extra time. The seeds, ohhhh! dont make the mistake I made! I was following another blog, NO PICTURES, big warning!!!! I think "those" blogs really dont do as they say they do! Make sure to buy sprouting seeds! When in doubt, buy a very small bag and try a small container like in a pint jar small, soak your seeds, drain and see if they will sprout BEFORE your buy the biggie bags! Speaking of seeds I bought mine from http://www.wheatgrasskits.com/seed.htm. They are organic and are truly Sprouting Seeds. I know the shipping is costly, its all part of that dreaded, initial start up. I started out with just Barley. My trays were from http://www.greenhousemegastore.com/category/1020-trays_1?gclid=COvSlZy82LMCFQVgMgodHjQAEg You will want both kinds. Ones with holes for drainage and ones without holes. I also got the plastic domes to help jump start the process, just in case!
One more item, You will need just about 1T per tray.
For the hens feed they do not always like the full grown grass but prefer the just sprouted stage as above in the photo of Sunflower sprouts. In the winter my hens do love the full grown grass of Wheatgrass grown in dirt! By the way Wheatgrass is the seed of Red Hard Winter Wheat sprouted or grown in soil.When I do this for my hens they make a happy cluck! cluck! scratching in the soil too. Being that in winter our ground is frozen I think its a real treat for them that I am more than happy to provide!
One more thing about the sprouts. I know its really easy to go crazy with wanting to sprout many types of seeds, however there are some that you just cant do this way. Two being FLAX and CHIA seeds. They will sprout, on wet paper towels or in soil, just not soaked. More on the whys here http://www.sproutpeople.com/seed/print/chia.html And for the Hello Mrs Obvious...do not give your animals the paper towels. Pull off the sprouts then feed to animals....just in case ;)
I am still in the beginning stages, so far my critters really seem to be pretty happy with it! Oh joy! I do not change their feeds over night. I give them a little as I go, as you can see just a handful to the horse, Casper. You never change feeds drastically your animals can colic, and then you are in serious trouble. So take it slow.
I know this was a very long blog. And I did add lots of photos. A picture is worth a thousand words and so is this blog! LOL!
For the record I am not a Sprout Master, nor a Vet. I am sharing this info with you to help you save money, feed your farm healthier and hopefully, reducing our carbon foot print as well. I believe that what our food eats therefore we do as well and I am doing the best I can to make it all happen. ~ Angela