New and Improved Seed Station
Or, protecting and taking the stink out of the seeds.My last post was about the idea of sprouting seeds for our chickens gastronomical pleasure.Since then, I have run into a few problems that I think I have solutions for, we'll see.
This is my Sprouting station as built:
A standard set of big box store shelf racks set up on the ground near a water source. Seeds soaked in a bucket for 24 hours (convenience, as they need only 8-10 hour soaks) then spread out in an even layer on a 10" x 20" garden tray with pre-punched holes.
Problem 1. Water distribution. Dry seeds in one side, flooded on the other.
Problem 2. During the night rats and during the day the birds are getting to the seeds eating and fouling the trays with husks and their waste. Between the two shifts, I am losing almost half the seeds to these scavengers.
This is my Sprouting station as it is today:
We added 5 more shelves, a larger water recovery tub for recirculating the water, added more trays as we have upped the grain feed to three trays a day, and a direct water line from the pump to the emitters. More on that below. We added a Bamboo floor decking under the station to level the rack out, added a cage surround to keep out the seed marauders, and an inner window screening liner in an attempt to keep out the fruit flies that have become Problem 3. We are now employing a more chemical deterrent for the fruit flies, pheromones. The hope is that by enticing them away from the seeds, there won't be a cloud of insects when I open the door. They are also stinging the seeds and perpetuating their kind right in the cage. Not something that I want.
I am not sure at this point if there will be any method to take 100% of the odor away from this kind of thing. I notice that most people sharing their systems online are either avoiding the smell issue or discounting it to a single mention. I am determined to decrease the smell to as close to zero as possible. I bleach the system every day I drain it using a supermarket strength 5% bleach solution cut further to 1:10 so it won't poison the seeds nor the chickens. The residual bleach will dissipate within 24 hours when left open to air so an 8 day growing cycle should allow enough 'airing-out time' for their safety.
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