The best way to grow greens quickly is with a sprouting fodder system; however, we are just shy from being able to afford one of these. In case you were wondering, "just shy" means we are nowhere close to be able or willing to buy this.
As usual, just add good ole' fashion ingenuity--and a father who has a bunch of junk lying around.
The main factors for a fodder system are to have something that holds seeds, is slanted to direct water, and has holes to release water, as well as options to have multiple days of growth (5-8 days depending on what quality of fodder you desire).
I heated the awl and used that to put in three holes in one side of the bowl. I marked this area with the marker to keep track of the drip zone. I then added the strips of wood in order to have a "Rube Goldberg" type of water path system. Side view below.
We started off with rye seed, red and white wheat, barley, and sunflower seeds. The rye and sunflower seeds did pretty well, but I think the sunflower seeds needed another day. Wheat was not good--poor germination, which led to a stinky mess. Barley is the champ!
So what are the benefits?
1. Chickens love it!
2. We love the eggs! They are noticeably different and those yolks have regained their "orangeness."
3. We are taking 12 oz. of feed every day and turning it into 48 oz. of fodder, with our best day producing six times more feed than we initially started. Obviously, this can save money in feed costs.
4. It is much healthier for the chickens.
5. It keeps me busy and is nice to grow things in the winter.
What are the problems?
1. Ideally we should be multiplying food by six times, not four. There is still more work to do to fine tune the system.
2. The seeds may not be getting watered often enough.
3. Humidity is important and it is low in our furnace-heated house.
4. Some of the levels are off on the shelves. If you look at the picture the shelves with 1" x 1" transitioning to the pine strapping have a better angle than the 1" x 1" to shelf angle. I think this may be causing water to go too fast through those.
5. This will not produce enough fodder for future animals.
So while we reap the benefits, it is back to the drawing board to try to increase the scale and efficiency.
We will likely implement the system below in the summer due to its simplicity. Give it a look, it's pretty simple.