Are you looking for a simple way to boost the nutrition of your flock while decreasing the feed bill? Sprouted chicken grain is as easy as just adding water! Keep reading to learn how to turn regular chicken grain into nutrient dense sprouted grains.
As all of our daily expenses are increasing, so is the cost of livestock feed. One of the ways we are saving money on our homestead is by sprouting our chicken feed.
I have been sprouting greens in my kitchen for nearly ten years. There are micronutrients found in sprouted greens that cannot be found in any other vegetables, including the mature plants that the microgreens would eventually grow into.
For example, broccoli sprouts produce sulforaphane which has been shown to reduce the ability of cancerous cells to multiply! Once the broccoli sprout is greater than two weeks old, the cruciferous plant's ability to create sulforaphane is completely gone.
If we are what we eat, then don't we want what we eat eating the most nutritious foods possible?
Ingredients & supplies for sprouting scratch grains
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This is a simple DIY, requiring only water and chicken grains. Optional grains include barley, wheat, oats, corn, soy and other legumes. I prefer to avoid corn and soy in my chicken feed, so I am using Scratch & Peck 3 Grain Scratch made with barley, wheat and oats.
- Whole Grain
- Non-chlorinated water
- Mason jar (quart, half gallon or gallon depending on size of flock)
- Sprouting lid
- Funnel (optional, but helpful!)
Instructions for sprouting grain for chickens
Sprouting grains is very simple! You will need sprouting grains, which can either be a premixed blend like 3 Grain Organic Scratch or individual grains. A large mason jar with sprouting lid is also required.
Step 1: Pour 1 part grain to 2 parts water in a mason jar. Put the sprouting lid on the jar and place it somewhere out of direct sunlight where it won't be disturbed and let it sit for 12 hours.
Step 2: The next day, keep the sprouting lid on and pour the water out of the jar. Rinse the grains with cool water, then drain thoroughly. Position the jar at an upside down angle in a bowl and let it sit for 12 more hours at room temperature. Repeat every 12 hours.
Step 3: Continue rinsing and draining the grains every 12 hours until the grains have sprouted. You will see green shoots and roots within 24-48 hours. The grain is finished when the roots are ½-2 inches long.
Step 4: To serve the grains, place them in a shallow pan or bowl and feed them to the chickens! Sprouted grains are best consumed immediately, but can be refrigerated for up to a week.
Hint: Keep jars going every other day for sprouts on demand! I am challenging myself to start sprouts three times a week.
Which grains are best to sprout for chickens?
The following grains are my personal favorites for sprouting. There are plenty of others that will work, too! I am using a chicken scratch blend that contains all three of these grains in one easy mix.
If you are feeding your laying hens a diet that is corn-free and soy-free, you will love this easy DIY!
This is a very versatile DIY! Here are a few ways you can customize it to your flocks needs.
- bulk sprouting - rather than using a mason jar, use a clean 5-gallon bucket with a tight fitting lid. Follow the same steps. It will be challenging to rinse and drain the sprouts in a bucket without a large colander or strainer, but with determination it can be done!
- fodder - making fodder is similar to sprouting in that the grains are soaked in water and rinsed daily, but fodder is grown in a flat container with drainage holes and allowed to grow until the greens have grown to 2-3 inches tall. The fodder can be fed to chickens just as sprouted grains.
If you love pampering your chickens, this easy DIY Flockblock tutorial!
WHERE TO PURCHASE CORN-FREE AND SOY-FREE CHICKEN SCRATCH GRAINS
If your chicken scratch contains corn or soy, just use your normal scratch and don't worry about it being corn-free or soy-free! Finding a feed source without corn and soy can be difficult. If you are looking for specialty chicken feed, chicken scratch, chicken herbs or grubs, I have had great luck with Scratch & Peck Feeds. They are a non-GMO verified and organic certified producer to make sure we are getting the highest quality, healthiest and safest foods for our backyard flock! Use code NINNESCAHHOMESTEAD15 for a 15% discount.
disclosure: I am an affiliate with Scratch and Peck Feeds. When you make a purchase through my link, I receive a small commission at no increased cost to you. I only share links for products that I love and truly use, and when you make a purchase it directly supports my family and all of the projects, pets, and livestock on our growing homestead. From my house to yours, thank you!
Store sprouted grains in the refrigerator. This will slow down the growth and help stop mold from forming on the grains. While I recommend feeding the sprouted grains immediately, it is possible to keep them in the refrigerator for 2-3 day until needed.
My favorite grains to sprout are oats and wheat, which are both easily available at most feed stores. Sprouting can be done with scratch grain blends, sunflower seeds, alfalfa, lentils, clover, mung beans, soybeans, etc.
Sprouted grains are a tasty treat for our backyard flocks! While they do contain more nutrients than the unsprouted grain, they are not considered a complete feed source. Your chickens will still need balanced minerals, vitamins and proteins for optimal nutrition.
Hard red wheat is about 15% protein, which is fairly high compared to most grains.
MORE POSTS ABOUT CHICKENS
I love our backyard flock, and I am intentionally adding more and more chicken content to the blog! If you want to see whether or not chickens can be a good tool for natural pest management, check out my post A Guide To Organic Pest Management in the Garden. We also have raised more than 100 Cornish Cross chickens for meat in the past year and I share our experience in the post Meat Chickens: What We Learned. During the months when egg production is high, consider water glassing your eggs to make them shelf stable for up to eight months (or more!) by reading How to Preserve Eggs.
Get my Free Guide for Raising Chicks E-Book and learn everything you need to know to get started on your backyard chicken journey!