Aguanga couple use hydroponic fodder system to grow healthy feed for their animals

Ron and Debbie Skinner have lived in Aguanga for more than 20 years, but have recently embarked on a new hobby on their land to maintain and increase the health of their livestock; that hobby is growing feed with a fodder system.

Coming to Aguanga was a natural choice for the skinners because they wanted more space in training their working dogs and a good kennel location. They own Pawsnclaws Dog Boarding; they also breed and train Les Ombres Valeureux Working Dogs.

As with all things related to life, nothing ever stays stagnant. Life evolves, people learn and new ideas come to fruition. Debbie said that when she and her husband first moved to Aguanga their focus was on her dogs and the kennel, but as time passed their focus changed.

Debbie had always focused on good natural nutrition for her dogs by feeding them raw healthy food. At that time she believed as long as she and Ron ate plenty of fruits and vegetables, that it was “good enough” to keep them healthy.

As time progressed she and Ron began to investigate new ideas and theories about other healthy alternatives to food and nutrition. It started with what most residents that live in Anza and Aguanga deal with, “a long commute to work.”

Originally they joined a Preppers (survivalist) group, because they wanted to become more self-sufficient. They then found Homesteading, which had information on how to raise your own food and live a more sustainable life.

As Debbie said, “Plant and raise what you eat and know what’s in what you’re eating.”

On July 26, 2014 Debbie and Ron opened their home to the community to share with the community a workshop on fodder systems. Ron said the workshop had more than 60 spectators.

Ron explained that a hydroponically grown fodder system is a simple and efficient way to feed your livestock. Currently Ron and Debbie commercially raise rabbits, sheep, pigs, turkeys, and chickens. The fodder they grow is a nutritious and healthy diet for these animals, they said.

Hydroponically grown fodder can best be described as something that looks like the bean or alfalfa sprouts you grow to put on salads, but it is entirely thicker.

The fodder is sprouted and harvested before the plant gets it second leaves, in about nine days. This food stuff only needs water to grow, and no fertilizer is necessary.

Ron said that the sprouting amplifies the good minerals and proteins in the seeds, creating an ideal food for his livestock. Ron feeds the whole plant he has grown in the tray, which includes the greens, seeds and sprouts.

By using this feed Ron increases the digestibility, which in turn means he will not have to feed his animals as much fodder as compared to feeding commercial feed.

Ron also said that he is using less water than if he was trying to grow pasture for his livestock. Currently Ron and Debbie have a 14’ X 40’ trailer they grow the fodder in. This grows enough fodder to approximately feed 60 animals of various sizes.

Ron has found that the organic barley seed he purchases from an organic seed company creates his best yield. When asked if growing fodder was a time intensive process Ron said on average it only takes about 45 minutes a day to soak, load, harvest and feed the fodder. Not too much time, which translates into healthy living for Ron and Debbie and for those who purchase their healthy animals.

For more information on the Skinners Fodder System, see their website at or email Ron at [email protected]

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