Feeding Sprouted Grains to Poultry

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since sprouted grains are so much more nutritious than unsprouted grains, it occurred to me that maybe i should be feeding our layers a mix of some sort.

it seems they would also be more easily digested than whole grains. there's also more 'volume' to sprouted grains than dry ones, merely for the cost of adding water and the time of waiting a few days til they sprout.

has anyone had any experience feeding sprouted grains to chickens?

-- lou navarro (lnavarro@adelphia.net), February 02, 2002


There's actually a long history of feeding sprouted grains to poultry.

Way back before the discovery of many of the vitamins we take for granted today feeding sprouted grain became quite a fad since it added color to yolks and improved rate of lay. With the discovery of vitamins and the ability to create balanced laying rations the necessity for feeding sprouts faded.

If you don't have any sort of green feed for your birds in mid-winter sprouts can help to perk them up but other than that you won't find anything special in their effects on your birds. You can increase the volume of the feed by sprouting but the birds still have to have so much protein, carbohydrates and so on to perform well.

Here in North Florida I get better performance by growing and feeding winter hardy greens like collards and kale. For folks too far into the Frozen North for that to work then sprouted grains will make a nice treat for their birds and if they let the sprouts green up nicely before feeding it'll color up the yolks. They'll still need a good laying ration though.


-- Alan (athagan@atlantic.net), February 02, 2002.

See the thread on Sprouts - Bulk Supplier Answered in the Gardening - General category for a source of seed.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), February 03, 2002.

Great thinking! My mother related that my grandfather had trays of sprouting grains by the windows of his store room attached to the chicken house. She mentioned burlap -- probably beneath and above the grains. Also, he grew kale for winter feeding. Sounds like a great nutritional supplement for poultry feeding. I'm trying to do something similar.

-- HV (veggie@ourplace.com), February 03, 2002.


what color changes were observed/reported in egg yolks, after feeding sprouted grains to the chickens and what sprouts produced what color changes? I'd like to look into this more, if you have any more information on it. thanks,

-- BC (desertdweller44@yahoo.com), February 03, 2002.

My other post on this apparently did not post, so.


If you have any more information as to where you found out about sprouts causing color changes in egg yolks, please post it. I'm interesting in looking into this more. thanks,

-- BC (desertdweller44@yahoo.com), February 03, 2002.


the color change was just that of the yolk becoming more deeply yellow or orangish from the green sprouts, just like they do when the chickens can get out onto green grass. You do have to let the sprouts green up before feeding them though.


-- Alan (athagan@atlantic.net), February 03, 2002.


my next question regarding sprouting grains for chickens is can i sprout corn for them? i know not to feed them whole corn, just wondering if its OK if its first sprouted.

also, i'm wondering if there's some type of contraption/machine for sprouting larger quantities of grains. my quart-sized bottles that sit on the windowsill arent gonna do it.

and it looks like i'd have to sprout them in the garage (partially heated) as its too darn cold up here to do it in the barn. they'd freeze the first day.

-- lou navarro (lnavarro@adelphia.net), February 03, 2002.

WHY do you feel feeding whole corn is to be avoided? Ours love it, although cracked corn is a good choice as well. We even feed whole corn to the birds (Blue Jays love it). No problem there! GL!

-- Brad (homefixer@SacoRiver.net), February 03, 2002.

Sprouting grain is an art and there is complete instructions on my article web site to get there you got to http://www.g-kexoticfarms.com when there scroll down to articles then scroll down to articles again and when on articles go way down to where the sprouting grain article is. The key to making a bed is to water it good. It tells when to cut the prouts etc. Also what kind of grain to use. I would say cornis not advised. oats, barley, wheat, buckwheat and the like ar recommended also if you go to my web site http://www.nationalpoultrynews.com and click on books there is a good reasonable priced book on prouting. Very informative and gives even human recipes for using sprouts. Also the use of whole grain corn is really only as a spare treat and used about 4-5 pm for the heat from the chickens body digesting it. Corn is low protein but high in fat and used for that/ Chickens need a recommended complete ration. The national egg board may have the information on the yolk darkness. Any time you use greesn like collards, kale, swisss chard, turnip greens, spinach, and the dark greens it is the bet for the darkness of the chicken egg yolk also the most vitamins. regular head lettuce is wasted time, money and effort. just water and not much in food value or vitamins. So if you would like more information on poultry etc send your post office address for a free sample of the 32 page newspaper National Poultry News and I will mail it to you. Hope this helps Glenda L. Heywood

-- GLHeywood (frizzlebird@yahoo.com), February 03, 2002.


Can you find some cafeteria-style plastic plate carrying trays - the ones about 16"x24" or so? If you can score some you could easily build a rack out of 1"x2" wood to stack them a couple of inches apart. Just rotate trays from top to bottom so you always have a tray ready to feed out. Perhaps next to a wood burning stove may be a good place for sprouting.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), February 03, 2002.

Ken S. in WC TN,

i have almost 100 birds, and would think your 'tray' method might be a little small? i was thinking more along the lines of a screen-type cylinder that i could put the seeds into, wet and drain easily, and rotate once or twice a day.

i have something like this for my composter, but thats probably a little too big and is usually 'composting' anyway.

-- lou navarro (lnavarro@adelphia.net), February 03, 2002.

You might be able to make a cylinder with round ends and cover with some type of screen the size would be determined by the size of seed you are going to sprount. You would have to have some kind of tray under this to catch the excess water. gail

-- gail missouri ozarks (gef@getgoin.net), February 03, 2002.

We plant chard around the edges of the hen house for the hens to peck at, they couldn't reach the roots to kill them. Something else we do now that the girls are allowed to free range during the day, and would kill the plants is to make a 2x4 frame with small cage wire on the top. I just sprinkle seeds in the soil under the frame and water, anything that comes up through the wire is eaten by the hens, but once again they can't reach the soil to kill the plants. We will be planting chard around the hen house this weekend as the hens will be locked up until the garden is growing strong enough plants that they can't scratch them out. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), February 04, 2002.

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