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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Microgreen - Growing Fodder With DIY Hydroponics System

Buying food supplements for your livestock may become necessary, and often expensive, if you have a large farm or if you raise many animals at home. You might face a scarcity of naturally growing grasses or silage at your pastures where you graze your cattle or sheep, and might need to feed your animals extra food supplements high in nutrient value, in addition to what they eat at the fields. Especially during spring, the weather condition can be too harsh for natural grasses to grow. It is important that you supply your animals with extra food during the spring to cope with the cold and wet weather in case you don’t have enough of a supply of grass on your pasture, or if you are expecting harsh weather in the future.

Buying a good supply of hay or microgreen fodder from the local market could become expensive. Buying fodder or hay over the internet is not uncommon today. With the widespread use of computers and internet technology, it has become very common to find products over the internet that you could easily use for feeding your animals. One of the simple ways to buy bales of hay and fodder today is to order online, or pickup from a retailer near you that sells fodder produced with high tech feed production systems.
The Hydroponic system

You can grow a wide variety of grasses and microgreens through your own DIY hydroponic system, without any expensive equipments or much overhead costs. All you need is some seeds, some trays and water to grow your seeds. You could grow a number of grasses in your trays, such as corn, barley, wheat, and do so within a very short time; usually within a week through the hydroponic system. The grasses that you grow in your trays do not need a whole lot of care, and the quality of the fodder grown this way is very rich in nutrients. Animals love this type of fodder. Find a seed that sprouts well from your local granary feed store or contact us for more assistance.

Before you start sprouting your seeds, sanitize all your trays with bleach. Add a spoon full of bleach to a gallon of water and shake well. Use the water to rinse off all your trays and tools that you are going to use for watering or sprouting. Treat your seeds with either bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Take a cap of bleach or hydrogen peroxide, and rinse your seeds for ten minutes. Keep them soaked overnight with clean water to take the mold off. This would also kill bacteria and other germs. A pound of seed is enough for 4-6 pounds of fodder.

Place your seeds in gardening trays and fill them with water to about an inch above. You can several trays of seeds on top of each other, saving space. Keep them in a safe space for a week to get fodder ready to harvest. You can get better results if you add nutrition or liquid nutrients with your water. You can buy fodder or all your fodder supplies for growing your own DIY fodder systems or feed in a box fodder from us.

Hope you found some value in this article. You could try this method and let us know if it worked for you. Also let us know if you have a system of your own that you found profitable for growing your fodder and feeding your animals. We would appreciate your comments.

Source: Sustainable Livestock Nutrition

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fourth Annual Celebrate Sustainability:September 29

Davey and the Blu Dog

Davey and the Blu Dog

The Institute of Ecolonomics (IOE) and Mountain Sky Group (MSG) announce the Fourth Annual Celebrate Sustainability Event to be held again on Saturday, September 29, 2012, at Mountain Sky Ranch, near Carter Lake. This one day free event will feature live music with Davey and the Blu Dog (YEAH!), discussions, displays, activities and entertainment related to sustainable living and agriculture. This year we will have more vendors and even FOOD for sale!

Mountain Sky Ranch which is a commercial sustainable agriculture ranch and agritourism, demonstration, education and research campus will host this exciting event for the third time. Dr. Dorband, President of IOE states, ” Third Annual Celebrate Sustainability Event last fall was so much fun that we knew we wanted to just make it better this year. We met so many environmentally conscious people who did not know what we did and we want to continue to show the community how to be more earth friendly.”

Celebrate Sustainability is a family oriented event running from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM which is free and open to the public. Throughout the day there will be discussions, demonstrations and activities showcasing small acreage farming for anyone, sustainable livestock, aquaponics for home food production, and tips for sustainable living.

This exciting event is held in conjunction with National Alpaca Farm Days and we will be showcasing one of Colorado’s largest herds of elite breeding alpacas, including over twenty babies (cria) that are so cute and fun to watch. Come and see the finest alpacas in the Rocky Mountain region as well as our sustainable farming practices.

Deb Dorband, Mountain Sky Ranch owner says, “Come for an hour or spend the day. There are many things to do. Just hang out and listen to Davey and the Blu Dog.”

The Institute of Ecolonomics, LLC, is an international non-profit that promotes the synergy of ecology and economy. Based in Loveland, IOE works as a business development facilitator and incubator for entrepreneurs building businesses that will improve the planet. IOE has rural acreage, a large greenhouse complex and a converted warehouse where partner companies work on a variety of projects involving alternative energy, innovative technologies and socially conscious initiatives. Check out our newest initiative, Nourish the Planet, where we are enabling 1,000,000 ecopreneurs to teach the world to feed itself, by 2016.

Mountain Sky Group, LLC, is a group of environmentally conscious companies that work in a variety of sustainable business area, including sustainable agriculture. Mountain Sky Ranch is a subsidiary of MSG that commercially practices sustainable agriculture raising a genetic/show herd of alpacas and Pygoran goats, along with many other ventures that are earth friendly. MSG partners with IOE in the area of sustainable agriculture at Mountain Sky Ranch.

The Fourth Annual Celebrate Sustainability Event is a way for IOE and MSG to show the public in Northern Colorado what the two groups are doing to promote sustainable living. Call the IOE and MSG offices at 303-495-3705, email at, or go to the web sites above to get more information and directions. Mountain Sky Ranch is located south of the campground at the south end of Carter Lake, west of Berthoud. See the map on the homepage of our Mountain Sky Alpacas site.
See the Micro Greens

See the Micro Greens

Learn about Aquaponics

Learn about Aquaponics

Friday, January 13, 2012

Our New TV Stars

The 106th year of the National Western Stockshow is happening right now in Denver. This yearly event is one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) livestock shows in the country. Everything type of livestock imaginable is on display, and over 600,000 people attend the event every year. This is the 4th year that alpacas have been at the stockshow, and yesterday morning our very own Mountain Sky Alpacas visited the 9News Studios to talk about this unique species of livestock! Check out the link below to see Wayne and Deb Dorband and their alpacas Laikyn and Jackie.

9News Video

National Western Stock Show

Monday, January 2, 2012

Fight Expensive Feed Costs with Aquaponic Fodder

Are you spending as much as twice as much as you did last year to feed your livestock? Are you struggling even to find good hay for your livestock? Have you even had to sell some of your animals because feed is so expensive and hard to find?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes you need to read further. We may have a solution for you – aquaponic fodder! OK, what is that? Aquaponic fodder is young green grass that has been grown from grain or grass seeds in 6-10 days in a controlled environment using very sustainable and earth friendly technology. This 6-8? long green grass is fed directly to your livestock as a replacement for grain and for a significant percentage of your normal hay feeding amounts.

We are livestock farmers just like you, and we have struggled this season with our feed needs. We raise show quality breeding alpacas. Proper nutrition is vital to the success of our carefully monitored and strategized genetic improvement program. We are also passionate about using sustainable farming methods in our farming and we want to teach others how to do the same.

We have been producing aquaponic fodder here in Northern Colorado at the Center for Ecolonomic Excellence and feeding it to our show quality alpacas. We are very selective about what we feed, and this has been a very exciting addition to our feeding process.

We will be regularly reporting on our results with this new technology through our Mountain Sky Alpacas website, as well as through our Nourish the Planet Membership Community. We will be marketing a unique livestock nutrition plan to selected clients which will include an aquaponic fodder program. Watch for all of this as we roll this program out!! Email us at or call us at our offices at 303-495-3705 for more information. We look forward to sharing more with you.

Livestock feeding does not have to fit the “old school” paradigm that you have always thought about – it can be innovative and sustainable.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Mountain Sky Is Getting Used to Our New Alpacas

As 2012 begins here are the Ranch, we are finally getting used to having 170 incredible breeding alpacas here for our enjoyment and your possible ownership. As we move into winter, we are building two new pastures for all the new girls and guys here on the Ranch.

Mike Harnett founded Heart’s Desire Farm back in the 1990's and was able to put together an incredible herd of more than 400 animals, before he suddenly died earlier this year. Rick and Nancy at Gentle Spirit Alpaca Farm had been good friends of Mike and his partner Elizabeth Tricase. When Mike tragically died, Rick was able to negotiate a purchase of selected assets from the Heart’s Desire Farm estate. Rick asked us to partner on this acquisition, and we were excited to participate.

We have now settled into our new configuration for this exciting purchase that we made. The animals have been allocated between our farms/ranches and we are now each managing our own circumstance as we did prior to this ambitious purchase. We are still partnering with Gentle Spirit for a group of the herdsires, and we personally have about 100 of the outstanding breeding females that we own and that reside with us here at the Ranch.

A number of these females have already produced some awesome 2011 cria for us and we are excitedly looking forward to the 2011-2012 show season to see just how nice these youngsters are. The genetics of this herd are rare and outstanding. Mike had owned a number of the best of the Peruvian imports including many where all you have to know is one name and you recognize them in pedigrees – Leon, Felix, El Moustachio, Guillermo, and Antonio. We have daughters of all these studs and also daughters of Bueno, Hemingway, Danko and other famous imports. You just do not find this genetics everywhere.

We are offering some outstanding deals on our animals – co-ownerships of herdsires, three-in-one packages of outstanding foundation females, young females, and some show quality girls we will not even be able to show because we have more than AOBA allows to be shown in a single age group of a color. We have several yearling girls that have fineness less than 15 microns and one (Batista) with an AFD of 12.2 microns. Thats right 12.2. She has been in only one fleece show (the prestigious Estes Park Wool Market) and her cria coat won Judges Choice Award for Best Hand. Look for her at one of the many shows we will be attending from now until Nationals in Louisville, in May, 2012.

We would love to have you come see and put your hands on these outstanding new Rocky Mountain animals. We know that a buy of one or more of these girls would improve both the genetics and phenotypes of your herds, if you are looking to improve on what you have. Give us a call at 303-495-3705 or email us at