During winter time it is not always easy to provide your chickens with essential fresh green feeds. An easy solution for this problem is sprouting. Sprouts are more alive than dry seeds and have plenty nutrionaly advantages. Sprouts are extremely high in enzymes, which help catalyze all bodily processes from digestion to elimination. They are an exceptional food and provide a great amount of easily available nutrients to the body for physical maintenance, endurance, and vitality. Sprouts provide quick energy through the enzymatic process of converting their own proteins, fats, and starches into amino acids, fatty acids, and simple sugars that are easily digested. The nutritional value of sprouted foods increases by as much as 300 percent in available minerals and vitamins!*. You can sprout for instance seeds of sunflowers, alfalfa, clovers, broccoli and other crucifers, buckwheat, radishes, beans, corn and peas as well as any small grains.
Sprouting Method :
- You will need 5 (food grade) plastic buckets. One is the soak bucket, the others are the draining/sprouting buckets. You will have to drill holes, in the bottoms and halfway up the sides, in these draining buckets. The size of these holes is important: they must permit the flushing through of dusty debris but not get blocked by a grain of wheat or oats.
- The sprouting schedule is as follows:
Day 1: measure the grains, any mix you like, into the soak bucket and cover with water.
Day 2: dump the soaked grains into one of the drain buckets and rinse thoroughly; then allow to drain while measuring another batch of grains and covering with water in the soak bucket.
Day 3: repeat the dumping of the soaked grains into a second drain bucket, rinsing, and starting a new batch of grains in the soak bucket. Rince the sprouting grain in the first drain bucket as well.
Day 4 and thereafter: now you're rolling. Each day, dump the soak bucket into an empty drain bucket and start a new batch of grains - and each day, rinse the sprouting grains in all active drain buckets. The daily rinsing is necessary to prevent growth of molds in the sprouting grain.
My chickens and myself (for heapier and healthier chickens, thus healthier eggs, thus a healthier family) are grateful for the sprouting inspiration which was given to us by Harvey Ussery, who wrote the very inspirational book : "The Small - Scale Poultry Flock, an all-natural approuch to raising chickens and other fowl for home and market growers (2011).
* The wild wisdom of weeds, 13 essential plants for human survival (2014), by Katrina Blair