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Can I substitute wheat bran for wheat germ when making my own "Flock Blocks"?

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

 I have found it nearly impossible to find large Flock Blocks in any of my local feed stores. The only ones I have found are brick size, and they won't last long with our 14 hens. I need them to keep the girls busy when they can't get outside of the run due to foul weather. The large blocks I have found are game blocks which seem fine but cost $20 each and frankly, we can't really afford the extra cost. I have found many recipes for home made "Flock Blocks" on the internet. Many call for wheat germ. I have about 15 lbs of wheat bran left over from a bag that I bought to make bran mashes for my horse this winter. I would like to use this in the recipe instead of the wheat germ.  I know that feeding too much wheat bran to horses can cause calcium and phosphorus imbalances. Is it safe to feed it to my hens?  Also, I have some old stale fig bars that I was about to throw away, but was wondering if they would be safe to feed my hens as well.

post #2 of 2
At least in baking recipes, wheat bran can be substituted for wheat germ 1:1. They are not nutritionally equivalent however, the wheat germ being the nutrient-dense embryo of the wheat kernel and wheat bran being the fibrous outer covering. If you are using it only occasionally as a boredom-buster, then I see no harm in it. If it going to replace a significant portion of their diet during a cold winter, then I would find some wheat germ. Wheat germ will be more expensive than wheat bran. Also, since the bran has a high concentration of insoluble fiber than germ (which horses are able to make use of, but chickens are not), you would expect to see an increased amount of feces when fed.

Figs are fine for chickens and are high in calcium. If you're talking about the cookies, they would be fine fed as a treat.
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