Grandeur Africa is made of people. And just as people are, we get excited. When we started out hydroponics, all we could see were possibilities. Our morale was high, and we were moving with speed. We started off with pigs, then we decided to go into poultry.

It was not long before we found out that there was a lot of information being tossed around on how to feed chicken. But there was one that just kept popping up. You can feed chicken on hydroponic fodder exclusively. 100%. The savings of this technique, on paper, were nothing short of astronomical. First of all, 2kg of seed produces 10kg of fodder in just 7 to 8 days. If each chicken eats 150g of fodder, that would mean we could feed up to 66 chicken! So we thought.

Hydroponics fodder for chicken

So we put this theory to the test. We started feeding chicken solely on 7day old hydroponic fodder. We had no problems except for the fact that one has to chop up the fodder into small bits to enable the chicken to eat with no hustle. They would gobble up all the food. So far so good.

The something strange happened. They stopped laying eggs! What could be the matter? To make thing worse, almost all the chicken became constipated. Things did not change until we gave them some dry grain. The following day we had a flurry of eggs.

This posed a real question. Is it really healthy to feed chicken on hydroponic fodder? The results showed that this is not the way to go. So what is the way?

First of all, 7 day old fodder is just a bit too tough to be digested by poultry. This is because the fibre content is so high and poultry have a real problem digesting this fodder. Thus it is best to feed your chicken with 4 day old fodder.Hydroponic fodder Farming in Kenya2014

Secondly, even with the 4 day old fodder, one should not feed the chicken exclusively on hydroponic fodder. Any dry commercial feed in flour form is good. We usually mix it up at a ratio of 100g of hydroponic fodder to 30g of commercial feed.

The chicken have responded well to this, with a faster weight gain, larger eggs and certainly no constipation. All this with the added advantage of reducing the feeding expenses form Kshs 5.50 to Kshs 4.

One may be tempted to wait till day 7 as on this day one can harvest 10kg as compared to 4kg on day 4. Learn from our mistakes. What you need are healthy productive chicken. Getting this from 7 day old fodder will be a herculean task. Stick to day four. Add the commercial feed.  It’s the best way to go.

View the procedure of germinating the hydroponic fodder below: