Sprouts; not just for salads anymore.

Winter months can be challenging for chicken keepers.  Fresh greenery and bugs are hard to come by.  Boredom sets in when our sweet little chickens begin feeling “all cooped up” and bad things can happen . . . 10822426_326970840821870_1429090211_n as shown in this Far Side cartoon.  In my next few posts I’ll share some ideas that may help your flock beat that winter boredom and ward off those “egg fights”.

Our chickens love their treats, so I welcomed a suggestion by Susan, owner of Cluck the Chicken Store, to sprout grains.  This really requires very little time and few supplies.Sprouts 1

To date I’ve only sprouted wheat, but have read that many types of grain work well for this process.  Regardless of the type of grain you sprout, be sure it is whole grain not cracked or ground.

With colander nested in the bowl, add your grain (about a third full).Sprouts 3

Pour in enough water to liberally cover the grain.  A Layer of grain will float on the surface, lift the colander in and out of the water a couple of times, all but a bit of the chaff settles to the bottom.Sprouts 5Sprouts 4Cover and let set about 24 hours.Sprouts 6The next day dump the water and rinse the grain.

grain slightly plumped after 24 hour soak

grain slightly plumped after 24 hour soak

  Place the colander of grain back into the bowl (without water), cover and allow to drain 24 hours.  Repeat the last step of rinsing and draining your grain 2-3 more times.

I find an easy way to keep mold from forming on my grain, is to dump the grain into my rinsed out bowl (filled with water)Sprouts 8 then strain it through the colander pouring a few more bowls of water over the grain to rinse it well.Sprouts 9  Place the colander of grain back in the bowl and cover.

My colander has a raised base which also helps to prevent mold.  If your colander rests on the bottom of the bowl use a canning jar ring or cookie cutter to lift it off of the bottom.

After a couple of days you will begin to see little white tails sproutingSprouts 11

This bowl of sprouts is now ready for chicken consumption.Sprouts 10 Sprouted grain is also a great addition to the buffet of offerings we feed our wild birds.  Toss some in your ground feeders, the Junco’s and Morning Doves will thank you!

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