anybody raise sprouts to feed the chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Delmar, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. UrbanGrower

    UrbanGrower Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 29, 2010
    West Jordan, UT
    I'm not sure if I'm adding information that's already been provided, but here it is anyway:

    According to Wiki article as sprouts develop there is an increase in protein quality, crude fiber content, essential fatty acids and vitamin content, as well as mineral chelation.

    Crude Protein & fiber changes

    Original seed 12.7% 5.4%
    Day 1 12.7% 5.6%
    Day 2 13.0% 5.9%
    Day 3 13.6% 5.8%
    Day 4 13.4% 7.4%
    Day 5 13.9% 9.7%
    Day 6 14.0% 10.8%
    Day 7 15.5% 14.1%

    These are the main data points from the article I found. It sounds like a win/win, and it's easy to boot.
  2. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    This is great info! Thanks so much! [​IMG] there is something else I ran across. It was in an argument for feeding
    the sprouts before they got too long in length. omething about certain specific plant proteins
    which are very beneficial to the birds which are present before the sprouts reach an inch long, then disappear.
    I will try and find the reference.
    Best Regards,
  3. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    Productive poultry husbandry: a complete text dealing with the
    Harry Reynolds Lewis - 1913 - 536 pages - Full view

    Oats.—Whole oats are nearly equal to whole wheat in feeding value. Owing to the large percentage of hulls,
    they are not relished so well, but will be freely eaten by the birds when they become accustomed to them.
    In feeding oats those of best quality and large kernels should be selected, as very inferior oats are on the
    market. It is a profitable practice to use clipped oats, the birds eating them much better, as they have a
    much less percentage of fibrous material. Ground oats are extensively used in poultry mashes, both wet and dry.

    Oat meal has for a great many years been considered a very good poultry feed. The price is high, but a slightly
    inferior grade can usually be purchased relatively cheap in bulk. Oat meal is very digestible and a good feed for
    baby chicks, supplying nutrients in small bulk and in a form that the birds can readily see. It is used extensively
    in fattening poultry for market, and is suitable for use in wet mashes during the finishing periods. Rolled or
    crushed oats with hulls may take its place; but if hulls are present, the advantage is entirely with the purer oat meal.

    Sprouted Oats.—The feeding of sprouted oats when they are from four to six inches high is a very economical
    method of supplying green feed to all classes of poultry. The cost is slight, the time required for growth short,
    and the amount of succulent material is very large. The following method is generally followed in the sprouting
    of grain, the idea being to incorporate as much water into them as possible during the sprouting period.

    Manner of Sprouting.— Only the best grade of plump, heavy feed oats should be used, and handled in such
    a manner that they will reach maximum growth quickly. Six quarts of clean oats are placed in a ten quart galvanized
    pail, which is then filled with water at a temperature of not over 100° F., to which are added ten drops of formalin to prevent
    mold. The oats are allowed to soak in this in a warm room for forty-eight hours, during which time they will swell and
    fill the pail, having absorbed all the water. Next they are poured on a flat box or tray of the sprouting rack to a
    thickness of one inch. The sprouting rack used can be home made. It is built seven feet high and two feet square,
    equipped with seven trays, one for each day in the week, each tray being about two feet square. Figure 115 shows
    such a rack. The rack is kept in a room where the temperature is not less than 60° F., and the sprouting oats are
    thoroughly sprinkled with water twice daily. In from seven to ten days, depending on the temperature of the room,
    the sprouts reach their best development, which is from four to six inches. After this, if they are not fed quickly, they
    go backward, owing to lack of nourishment in the seed. It is found that on the seventh day, with a temperature of 75° F.,
    the oats are in the best condition to feed, having taken up during the soaking and sprouting period three and two-thirds
    their original weight of water. Figure 116 shows the oats on the seventh day ready to feed. The best

    Fig. 115.—Rack for sprouting oats; large enough to provide five hundred laying hens with a continuous supply of succulent food.

    way to feed them is in broad, flat, open troughs, placing as much of the green material in the trough at one time as the birds
    will clean up immediately, leaving none to be scratched out and wasted. Under average flock conditions one square inch of
    feeding surface per bird per day is sufficient to satisfy their appetites and sup, , , ,. ply the succulence nec

    Fig. 116.—A trav of sprouted oats ready for feeding, *

    Each bird receives one square inch per day. eSSary, Without Causing

    diarrhoea. The sprouting oats are very palatable, being relished by every bird in the flock. It has been tried in some
    cases with sick birds which would not eat grain, and in nearly every instance was eaten greedily.

    Advantage of Sprouted Oats.—(1) Sprouting of oats for feeding is a simple process, requiring little time and attention,
    and in every case results are certain. A sprouting rack similar to the one shown in figure 115 is capable of supplying a
    continuous quantity of green feed for over 500 laying hens during the winter months. (2) Oats so prepared and fed to
    laying birds are very palatable and satisfying, much more so than when fed as whole grain. (3) This is the most
    economical method of feeding oats, 366 pounds of succulent feed being obtained from every one hundred pounds of
    dry oats. In every case where sprouted oats were fed to birds an increased production was noted. (4) Sprouted oats
    are a very efficient source of feed compared with other succulent feed which could be stored.

    One hundred pounds of fresh sprouted oats contain about the following: Water 75.9; ash 0.8; protein 3.2; fibre 2.5;
    other carbohydrates 16.3; fat 1.3.
    This shows a total dry matter of 24.1 pounds as compared with 20 in potatoes, 12 in beets, and only 10 in cabbage.
    The analysis shows a protein content of 3.2 pounds as compared with 2.1 in potatoes, 1.3 in beets, and 2.4 in cabbage.

    By W. S. Willis

    The following method of sprouting oats has been kindly sent to the author by Mr. W. S. Willis, of the celebrated Arlington
    Egg Ranch. Mr. Willis has found the sprouted oats a splendid addition to the hen's ration, lending variety to the daily bill
    of fare and increasing the egg output. Three quarts of oats will make a fine morning meal for 100 hens if properly sprouted.

    Place the grain in a pail and let it soak for twenty-four hours; then transfer it to a box one foot square and six inches deep,
    with a few small drainage holes in the bottom. Sprinkle with water daily and allow the grain to remain in the box until the
    sprouts are from two to three inches in length, at which time it will be ready to feed.

    As it takes from eight to ten days to secure the proper growth, a number of boxes or compartments should be provided for
    the grain, keeping each day's allowance separate, and a new lot should be started daily.
    For larger flocks of course it is necessary to increase the size of the boxes—a day's feed for 600 hens, for instance, requiring
    a sprouting space of two by three feet.

    In all cases care should be taken not to have the grain over two inches deep when placed in boxes, in order to guard against
    heating and mildew.

    The boxes should be placed in a level position and kept covered with a board or burlap, in order to keep the grain in a moist condition.

    In cold weather the sprouting operations should be conducted in comfortably warm quarters, and warm water may sometimes
    be used to advantage in sprinkling the grain.

    Redwood is better than pine to use in making the sprouting boxes, being less liable to swell and crack when water soaked.

    Should it be impossible to get oats that will grow well, barley may be substituted, but it may be found necessary to stir the barley
    until it begins to sprout, to prevent fermentation.

    each tray of oats is allowed to sprout seven days before the grain is fed. At that
    time the sprouts are about 1J in. long, and much better for green food than oats
    with sprouts only i to J in. long. It may be true that the oats with the long
    sprouts are not as nourishing as the oats with the short sprouts, but that does
    not make any material difference when the oats are desired for green. food and
    not for grain food.
    The poultry yard and market: a practical treatise on ...: Issues 19-26 - Page 88
    Adolphe Corbett - 1877 - 96 pages - Full view
    ppages 88 thru 90. Illustrated with detailed plans for 7-Day Oat Sprouting Rack.


    Methods of Sprouting Oats

    196. Making Palatable Green Food. The following excellent system of sprouting oats for
    poultry is used by Mr. Bennett of Quality Hill Poultry Yards. As he told us "it is a fine thing."
    The green food problem presents difficulties to the poultryman during the winter time.
    It is frequently difficult to buy cut or ground alfalfa or clover hay, and buying vegetables in
    small quantities is expensive. By means of the system of sprouted oats which is described
    and illustrated, it is a simple and inexpensive matter for anyone to supply his fowls in the
    winter time with an abundance of succulent food they will relish.


    Front view showing the seven trays In position.

    197. The Value of the Rack. The simplest way to sprout oats is to put them in a dish in the sink;
    cover with warm water at night and feed them the next day. This arrangement not only interferes
    with the house work, but the sprouts are not sufficiently long, where green food is the main
    consideration. The rack that is shown nolds seven trays— one for each day of the week—so that
    each tray of oats is allowed to sprout seven days before the grain is fed. At that time the sprouts
    are about 1J in. long, and much better for green food than oats with sprouts only i to J in. long.
    It may be true that the oats with the long sprouts are not as nourishing as the oats with the short
    sprouts, but that does not make any material difference when the oats are desired for green food
    and not for grain food.
    198. .Making the Rack.' The spr«uting~rack_is~a^light frame made of 1 by
    "-inch pieces, without covered top,_bottom or sides. There are only four corner pieces and four pieces
    at the top and four at the bottom to hold the frame together. On each of two sides 'of .this frame
    seven runners are nailed 2J m. apart. On these fourteenjrunners rest the seven trays. The floor of
    the tray is covered with J-inch mesh wire


    This box If used In Mr. Harris' method of sprouting oats for poultry foodcloth such as is used for
    cellar windows. The wooden sides are made of pieces } in. thick by 2 in. wide. The rack_stands
    in a galvanized iron tray which catches the excess water.

    199. Sprouting the Oats. The trays are covered with dry oats and hot water is sprinkled over each tray
    —using a hand sprinkling can.

    A SPROUTING BACK FOB OATS Side view showing part of the trays In the rack and three partly removed.

    Top view. The upper tray Is filled with sprouted oats, and the one f artherest extended has Iresh oats in It.
    The black border around the rack represents the galvanized iron tray in which the rack stands.

    The trays are then replaced in the rack. They are covered with burlap to keep the oats dark and moist.
    The trays should be drawn out mornIng and night and sprinkled with hot water. The rack should be kept
    in a temperature of from 60 to 80°. It is advisable to season the sprouted oats with salt—using a teaspoonful
    of salt to each trayful of oats. Fowls prefer sprouted oats to any other green food, and chicks a week old
    are very fond of them.

    200. The Outdoor Method. Mr. Leonard has a system of sprout ing oats that we prefer to the sprouting rack
    when it can be used. The new way is less trouble than the old, and the chicks will obtain bugs and worms in
    addition to the oat sprouts. The method is thus explained. Take one bushel of common oats and soak them
    over night. Make a frame of 1 by 6 in. lumber, 3 ft. wide by 8 ft. long. Place the frame on smooth, hard ground
    and spread the oats evenly inside it. Cover the oats with 1 in. of loose ground and water every day. When the
    sprouts show through, it is ready to feed. Then with a garden hoe, work under the roots, pull them up straight
    and you have the finest green food you ever saw—food that you cannot beat with anything else as cheap,
    or as simple to obtain.

    201. "Bugs and Worms" Also. Mr. Leonard says: "Every hoeful has a big lump of dirt on it, also some animal food.
    Examine some of this earth and you will find it full of bugs and worms. This gives the birds exercise to scratch
    them out. Green food grown in earth has more strength and substance than when it is sprouted with water in
    a warm room. I keep three beds going all the time and have raised this season over 400 chicks to broiler size
    in four weeks. We ate a pullet three months old the other day and she had already started an egg bag, and
    I think that is going some."

    202. Sprouted Oats Solve the Problem. In reference to the value of sprouted oats Mr. Harris says: "For the fanciers
    that live on farms it is no trial to secure green stuff for their flocks, but when it comes to the city fancier, there is
    a great deal to contend with. I believe all will agree that hens do not have as satisfactory laying record where
    they do not obtain an abundance of green food. If the city-lot fanciers expect the results his fowls should bring,
    he must try in some way to overcome this trouble. A sprouting box is, I think, the best and probably the cheapest
    way to supply green food."

    203. Mr. Harris' Plan. A store box 3 ft. wide, 4 ft. long and 3 ft. deep answers the purpose very well. It has drawers
    or shelves with from J to 1 in. of oats sprinkled thereon. The oats should be wet with lukewarm water, and the
    box placed in a warm room. Leave the oats in the trays until the sprouts are 3 or 4 in. long; then take sprouts
    and oats and feed all to the chickens. This makes a good noon meal. The chickens will eat it up greedily and will
    thrive. It will take from a half to a peck of oats to fill the trays. Have it arranged so there will be sufficient oats for
    each day's feeding.
  4. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    "It may be true that the oats with the long sprouts are not as nourishing as the oats with the short
    sprouts, but that does not make any material difference when the oats are desired for green food and not for grain food
    This is something I had not considered. Green food vs grain food. I wonder which is better for which purpose. Anyone ??
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2011
  5. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    I Found it ! [​IMG]
    Description of nutritive values of sprouted oats at different stages of growth.
    National Barred Rock Journal, Volumes 7-21
    International Plymouth Rock Journal

    (left column, right column is Purina Poultry Chows ad w/checkerboard.
    By C. W. Ashing, Laurel. Iowa

    There are a great many poultry raisers who are now just raising a small bunch of chickens each
    year and keeping only a couple of dozen hens, that would dearly love to get into the poultry
    game on a little larger scale; that would like to raise poultry and keep enough hens each winter
    to make it a paying proposition. Of course it pays, even with a few, but it would be so much
    better if this flock was expanded until it is a real paying business. Those with only a back yard
    for range have always considered this impossible, thinking that it would be necessary to have
    an acre or two of ground for range for this purpose, but since it has been proven that poultry
    can be raised and kept in confinement the year 'round and made to pay, a great many people
    are realizing an ambition to raise poultry that they thought was beyond their reach.

    The big drawback with poultry in confinement has always been the lack of a reliable supply of
    succulent green feed, and of course this is an absolute necessity both for the laying hens and
    for the growing stock. Sprouted oats is by far the most convenient and best for this purpose
    and at the same time costs the least. Besides sprouted oats carry vitamine "E" which is claimed
    by government authorities to have a direct influence upon the reproductive organs of* both the
    male and female. Consequently it not only produces an abundance of eggs right at the time
    when they are worth the most, but at the same time transmits strength and vigor through the
    male to the germ of the egg, and the result is bigger hatches and stronger birds, because they
    have strength and vigor handed down to them from the parent stock.

    Then for your chicks and maturing pullets sprouted oats are about the finest thing in the world.
    If you feed the sprouted oats on the fourth day of germination you conserve the food value of
    the kernel. On the fourth day the starches of the kernel have been chtnged to maltose or grain sugar.
    This is the first stage in the process of digestion and is caused by the presence of Enzyme Diastase
    in large quantities. This Enzyme Diastase not only changes the starches of the oat kernel to grain sugar,
    but it performs the same function with other foods that it comes in contact with within the fowl's
    digestive system. It is the same result that is obtained from feeding yeast, but without the cost.
    Because of its aid to digestion, agricultural colleges and other authorities on poultry culture advise the
    feeding of sprouted oats the year "round even where the birds have access to free range.

    I believe that we can say that it is the same with poultry as with everything else, "where there is a will,
    there is a way" especially if that "will" is accompanied with a sincere "love for chickens." If you have
    this "love for chickens." and only have a small back yard you will make a far greater success of the
    poultry business than the man who goes into the game with a large place, but without the liking for
    taking car' of his birds, and looking first at the dollar he is to gain.
  6. Delmar

    Delmar Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have come to the conclusion that the bag of oats I bought is not going to sprout all that well, no matter what I do. A farmer friend of mine suggested that the may have gotten overheated in storage. I'm going to try to find a local farmer to sell me a few bushels of newly harvested oats next summer. I will continue to sprout what I have since I do get some sprouts and I have a pretty easy process.
    AlI decided to try mixing them 50/50 by volume with shelled corn, to see if the corn will hold moisture better and aid in the sprouting process. I can say that I have had a lot more luck with the corn than I have with the oats. I'm not sure that this is causing the oats to sprout any better, but it sure makes me feel better having all those corn sprouts in the mix.
  7. Delmar

    Delmar Chillin' With My Peeps

  8. vmdanielsen

    vmdanielsen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2010
    West Lebanon, NY
    i was having a terrible time sprouting anything. My house is too cold (55-65*), my oven with the light on was about 100*. My oat sprouts just tuned sour.(Either cooked or too cold) So this is what I did.

    First I purchased plotspike oats ( )from TSC. I did a modified version of Kasaundra's(sp) burlap bag. (Old dishtowel, no seams) In the bathroom....Light left on all the time for extra heat. And they sprouted! They roots all grew into the cloth, however. SSSOO.... I experimented and this is what works for me, and I can't remember if anyone else does it this way.With the door closed and the light on this room runs about 70-78*.

    I put about 1/2 cup of plotspike oats in a qt size mason jar. I soak the seeds for 6-12 hours(sometimes I forget about them). After draining I DO NOT RINSE. I have a plastic screen that screws onto the jar for sprouting and I leave the sprouts upside down in the sink so they are not sitting in water for a few hours. Then I turn them upright and wait. Actually , I smell them regularly. They will smell "green" to slightly "earthy". I DO NOT RINSE. I will, however, add a little water if they are drying out. They sprout easily. I may try the oats that I originally bought with this method to see if they sprout under these conditions(whole horse oats). Nothing else worked for me. When I rinsed 2X a day they rotted. Also, I have softened water. I stopped using that water.( I just go into the basement and bring up a gallon of water that has bypassed treatment and use that till it runs out)

    Ok, just started the next batch using the whole oats (for the horse) as an experiment. It will be interesting to see if it is the oats or my method.

    If you should try my method....good luck!

    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011
  9. Delmar

    Delmar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I'll have to try it with hard water and without rinsing and see how that works for me. I'm not going for the plotspike oats because they are more than 50 cents/lb. Only about 10% of the oats I'm soaking are sprouting but they are still good food and only cost 15 cents/lb. When mixed with the shelled corn, that is sprouting well, I really think I have a pretty nice food source for cheap. If I find a way to get better yield out of the oat sprouts, so much the better!
  10. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've gone by this thread a few times but it stuck with me cuz when I was at the local co-op the other day I picked up a plastic easy sprouter and so far have done a salad mix and wheat. The chickens LOVE the wheat. They often don't like anything new and the alfalfa didn't go over as well but I ate the alfalfa. Now I have to get some more sprouters to keep up with demand.[​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by