Sprouting Barley Grains for Poultry

Sprouting barley grains for poultry provide a healthy addition to daily feedings. Learn how to easily set up a growing system in the comfort of your home. In order to begin you will need, Non-GMO, organic barley grains, a container for sprouting, and fresh water. It is as easy as that!

Sprouting Barley Grains for Poultry

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Why Offer Sprouted Barley Grains

Sprouting barley grains for poultry is ideal for many reasons. This nutritious treat has a plethora of benefits for chickens. In addition, turkeys, ducks, guineas, and quail also benefit in consuming sprouted grains.

In truth, most flock that free range have free rein to fresh greens that are abundant during summer months. However, there are circumstances in which sprouting barley grains does benefit a flock.

Poultry kept in a run benefit the most from consuming sprouted grains. Chickens, ducks, and turkeys will consume any and all vegetation in an enclosed space within a short period. Once this happens offer an alternative item, such as sprouted barley. Sprouted grains offer plant based nutrients when none are readily available.

Secondly, and more ideally, offer nutritious sprouted grains during the winter months. Consider the sprouted grains to be a nutritious supplement for the lack of vegetation and a means for keeping the feed bill down. Poultry consume more feed during the winter due to lack of vegetation. Sprouting barley grains will offset the increase in feed cost.

Also, feel free to offer sprouted grains to chicks which are still in a brooder! This nutrition packed treat will keep chicks entertained for hours.

One last thing, sprouted grains in no way should replace a good quality feed. However, offering sprouted grains alongside fermented whole grains creates a powerhouse of nutrition for all poultry.

Fermented Chicken Feed | The Health Benefits

The Difference between Sprouted Grains and Fodders

Before beginning it is important to understand the difference between sprouted grains and fodders. They are often confused, but there is one thing that distinguishes them, although both are grown from the same type of grain. However, what sets the two apart is the phase in which they are offered to livestock. Each is offer at a different level of the germination cycle.

Sprouted Barley Grains – In order to be classified as a sprouted grain, the germinated grain must be offered before the greens reach 4 inches in height. The germination period for whole barley grains is roughly 2 to 5 days. Offer sprouted grains to poultry as early as the second day of sprouting, once the grain has sprouted.  Utilizing this method reduces the risk of mold occurring.

Barley Fodders – Germinated grains allowed to grow between 5 to 7 inches in height are known as fodders. The growing cycle for grains to become fodders is 4 to 7 days. The risk of mold occurring increases with this process. Also, additional steps and a different set up are needed for growing whole grains to fodders.

One final tip, feeding fodders to poultry runs the risk of blocking the crop, causing conditions known as impact or sour crop. In order to prevent the crop from potentially becoming blocked, offer sprouted grains that are no taller than 4 inches.

The Benefits in Sprouting Barley Grains

There are a plethora of grains which can be sprouted, however, organic barley is one of the most nutritious of them all. Not to mention, it stores well and is one of the easiest and most cost-effective grains to sprout.

Through sprouting, enzymes are released from the grain allowing 40% to 80% of the grain to become digestible to poultry. The nutrients within sprouted grains also become more bio-available. That means that a significant amount of protein, minerals, omega-3s, amino acids, and vitamins are found in grains which have been allowed to sprout.

Let me also mention, sprouted grains contain higher amounts of chlorophyll and beta-carotene. In English, please… When consumed, sprouted grains creates darker yolks and an overall more nutritious egg!

Sprouting Barley Grains – Materials Needed

The size of your flock will determine the type of set-up needed. A small backyard flock can easily be provided with sprouted grains using a quart size mason jar and straining screen. However, larger flocks would benefit from using DIY sprouting trays.

  • Non-GMO, Organic Barley Grains (we use Scratch and Peck Feeds Organic Sprouting Barley)
  • Fresh Water
  • Sprouting Container
    • Smaller Flocks – Quart Size Mason Jars with Straining Lid
    • Larger Poultry Flocks – 2-inch Deep Trays
  • Growing Station (Ideal for Large Production)

Sprouting Barley Grains for Poultry

DIY sprouting trays will need to be a minimum of 2 inches deep. Trays such as baking pans, dish pans, plastic containers are ideal to use for larger flocks. Add multiple holes to the bottom of the DIY sprouting trays to allow the water to drain.

A growing station is a rack system to store sprouting trays during the various phases of germination. Start new sprouting trays are started every 3 days; unless the intention is to offer sprouted grains daily. At that point a new tray should be started each day.

Sprouting Barley Grains – Instructions

How much barley grain to sprout is not science. Each bird will consume what it craves, making the amount inconsistent each day. Not to mention, various type of poultry will consume more or less sprouted grains. For example, turkeys will consume more than chickens or ducks.

With that said, a 1:7 ratio is a good rule of thumb when it comes to how much to sprout. For each pound of raw barley grains, up to 7 pounds of sprouts can grow. Feel free to increase or decrease this amount as needed.

  • Step 1: Thoroughly rinse barley grains, discarding the water used for rinsing.
  • Step 2: In a container large enough to hold grains, add grains and fresh water. Make sure to cover grains by 3 inches of water. Allow grains to soak for a minimum of 8 hours, not exceeding 12 hours.
  • Step 3: Strain the soaked grains; add to sprouting jar or trays. Spread soaked grain 1/4 to 1/2  inch thick into sprouting tray.
  • Step 4: For the next 3 to 5 days, rinse barley sprouts daily with clean water several times. Making sure the water has completely drained from the sprouting tray. The barley grains are harvested once they have reached the desired growth, not exceeding 4 inches in height.

Sprouting Barley Grains for Poultry

Tips and Tricks to Sprouting Barley Grains
  • Select organic barley seeds or other grains from a reputable source. We use Organic Sprouting Barley from Scratch and Peck Feeds.
  • Make sure the containers, your hands, and the barley grains are as clean as possible. That will minimize the growth of mold and fungus later.
  • Grains sprout best between 65 degrees F and 75 degrees F. Using a seed heat pad during the winter months will help initiate germination.
  • Grow lights are not necessary for sprouting grains. Moderate natural light is sufficient.
  • Good air circulation helps to key to preventing the growth of mold and fungus. Do not store sprouting trays in the cupboard.
  • Use fresh water to rinse barley sprouts. Recycled water can be used; however, it does contribute to the growth of mold and fungus.
  • The grains can be offered to the flock once the the grains have begun sprouting, though waiting a few days until green growth is present allows for a more nutritious sprouted grain.

Sprouting Barley Grains for Poultry

Feeding Sprouted Barley Grains

Depending on the type of poultry, birds will consume between 2 to 3 percent of their body weight in sprouted grains. Again, this will depend on the type of poultry, breed, and what time of the year the sprouted grains are being offered. Play with the ratio being made until there is no waste to be found at the end of the day.

Between spring and summer sprouting barley grains is kept at a minimum, whereas between late fall to early spring sprouting barley grains allows for a plant based treat to be offered.

Serve the sprouted grains in a pinata, on a tray, or simply toss it onto the ground allowing for the birds to scratch for it.

Sprouting Barley Grains for Poultry

Printable Recipe – Sprouting Barley Grains for Poultry

Sprouting Barley Grains for Poultry

Sprouting barley grains for poultry provides a healthy addition to daily feedings. Learn how to easily set up a growing system in the comfort of your home. All that is needed is whole barley grains, a container for sprouting, and water. It is as easy as that!
Keyword: Sprouting barley grains

Ingredients

  • 10 pounds Non-GMO whole Barley Grains
  • Fresh Water

Instructions

Step 1:

  • Thorough rinse barley grains well. Discarding the water used for rinsing grains.

Step 2:

  • In a container large enough to hold grains, add grains and fresh water. Make sure to cover grains by 3 inches of water. Allow grains to soak for a minimum of 8 hours, not exceeding 12 hours.

Step 3:

  • Strain the soaked grains, add to sprouting jar or trays. Spread soaked grain 1/4 to 1/2  inch thick into sprouting tray.

Step 4:

  • For the next 3 to 5 days, rinse barley sprouts with clean water several times. Making sure the water has completely drained from the sprouting tray. The barley grains can be harvested once they have reached the desired growth. Not exceeding 4-inches in height.

Notes

Tips:
  • Select organic barley seeds or other grains from a reputable source. We use a Non-GMO barley grain from Scratch and Peck.
  • Make sure the containers, your hands, and the barley grains are as clean as possible. This will minimize the growth of mold and fungus later.
  • Grains sprout best between 65 degrees F and 75 degrees F. Using a seed heat pad during the winter months will help initiate germination.
  • Grow lights are not necessary for sprouting grains. Moderate natural light is sufficient.
  • Good air circulation helps to key to preventing the growth of mold and fungus. Do not store sprouting trays in the cupboard.
  • Use fresh water to rinse barley sprouts. Recycled water can be used, however, it does contribute to the growth of mold and fungus.

Sprouting Barley Grains for Poultry

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