Chickens benefit from a varied diet including not just grains, but also greens, grubs, insects, and vegetable scraps. It makes for better nutrition, and it also keeps the chickens engaged so they don’t get aggressive towards one another.
In summer, our garden provided most of this supplemental feed. Right now, in the middle of winter, the garden is pretty bare. To make up for that, we’ve started sprouting grains. It’s really very simple and provides an excellent supplement to the chicken diet. You can do it indoors without any special equipment. You don’t even need to put them in a sunny place, since the germinating grains don’t need a lot of light. Just make sure you don’t let them dry out too much, especially at the early stages.
The process does take up to 2 weeks, so you may want to start several batches at regular intervals.
- Day 0: Soak up to 1 pound of grains overnight, completely covered in plenty of water
- Day 1: Drain into a colander; place colander in a pot with a lid, to keep moisture in. Rinse and drain in the evening.
- Day 2 and 3: Rinse and drain mornings and evenings
- Day 4: Spread grains evenly into a seed tray with drainage holes. Place this inside another non-draining tray. Cover lightly with plastic or germination dome. Continue rinsing twice a day.
- Day 5: Rinse and drain mornings and evenings
- Day 6 onwards: Remove covering. Continue rinsing twice a day, until the shoots are 4-6” tall and ready to be fed to your chickens.