Barley Vs Wheat

Maiahr

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Jul 21, 2019
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Bulgaria, a country in Eastern Europe
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I was buying wheat the other day and another customer in the shop told me he feeds his chicken barley only. Barley and wheat are the same price here, but I don't know which one is better. Any article/post that I could read? Picture of barley...
 

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Feeding wheat might result in fat chickens, while feeding barley helps to keep them in good shape.

Sprouting both will increase their nutritional value.
 
Not the exact opposite.

As a result of various studies conducted over the past decades, sprouting grains has proven to increase the nutritional value regarding certain components:

"3.1.2.1 Nährstoffzusammensetzung der Weizenkörner und -keime Nach 47 Stunden Keimung im Keimautomat und auch nach 48 Stunden Schalenkeimung mit vorherigem 24-stündigem Einweichen veränderten sich am Rohnährstoffgehalt im Weizen nur die Stärke- und Zuckergehalte wesentlich. Andere Rohnährstoffgehalte und auch die Gehalte an Lysin, Methionin und Cystin veränderten sich nicht (siehe Tab. A1). Gestiegen sind nach Untersuchungen von FLAMME et al. (2003) an der in diesem Versuch verwendeten Weizencharge der Sorte Rektor jedoch einige Vitamingehalte während der Keimung. Nach 48 Stunden im Keimautomat BK8 wurden erhöhte Thiamin- (Vit. B1), Riboflavin- (Vit. B2), Vitamin K- und Vitamin C-Werte festgestellt (Tab. A3). Weiterhin zeigten sich Veränderungen in der Fettsäurezusammensetzung, mit einem Anstieg der mehrfach ungesättigten Fettsäure Linolen um 10 %."

Source: https://orgprints.org/id/eprint/6379/1/6379-02OE663-uni-wiz-knierim-2004-keimgetreide.pdf

The specific amounts may vary depending on the type of grains, their origin etc. and of course depending on the duration of the soaking and sprouting process.

Take into consideration, that these comparative studies were mostly conducted by universities or national departments of agriculture, often funded by the poultry industry.

Our main interest as private backyard chicken keepers or hobby breeders usually does not aim at getting the highest possible egg count for lowest costs using the cheepest available ingredients for their alimentation, disregarding the animal wellbeing and health and discarding them right after their first production cycle.


We as backyard chicken owners usually keep a variety of different breeds or bantam breeds, often pure and/or rare breeds and would love for our birds to live long and healthy lives.

That being said, other than the poultry industry, we can afford to invest the time and effort to feed our chickens according to their nature and needs, which will vary depending on the specific breeds, time of year and age of the birds.

From my experience, dual purpose breeds as BCM, Amrocks, Faverolle etc. tend to get fat after their second year with corn and wheat, which will lead to lesser egg production and even fatty liver disease and issues of the reproductive system due to accumulated fat in the abdominal area.

While other breeds may still thrive on corn and wheat diet, although I don't know of any, but that's just me.
 
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You might find this chart useful - it comes from a "pro Barley" source, yet reveals the protein components of Barley to be generally inferior to hard red wheat, and similar in many respects to corn.

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Not that if the barley is minimally processed, not pearled, the amino acid levels tend to be about 25% higher across the board, making it clearly superior to corn, and essentially on par with the hard wheat. Its also very high fiber, and relatively low fat.

1627391509195.png


and its still in desperate need of a legume to make it a complete protein. Winter peas, alfalfa meal, clover, soybean etc.

/edit and as @LaFleche rightly pointed out, sprouting the grains will make it MUCH more digestible. For us, or them.

If you can get ahold of spent brewers grains, though the nutritional info is sparse (and likely highly variable), they are cheap and not completely devoid of value as feed.
 
OK, So I was not talking about sprouting, as apparently any sprouted seed is better for us and the chicken :) I was just trying to understand if barley and wheat are the same price here is it worth buying barley... I am currently feeding my chicken with wheat only, and it looks like barley does not provide any extra nutritional value, so no point adding it to their diet. Corn is cheaper than wheat here and many people add it to wheat, but except for fat I am not sure why add corn to chicken diet.
 
OK, So I was not talking about sprouting, as apparently any sprouted seed is better for us and the chicken :) I was just trying to understand if barley and wheat are the same price here is it worth buying barley... I am currently feeding my chicken with wheat only, and it looks like barley does not provide any extra nutritional value, so no point adding it to their diet. Corn is cheaper than wheat here and many people add it to wheat, but except for fat I am not sure why add corn to chicken diet.

Yes you are. Because its cheap. Which is why it tends to be the very first ingredient on most commercial feeds.

The whole Barley vs Wheat thing used to come down to regional variations, primarily, based on what grew best in the region. Modern transportation and storage systems have rendered those differences mostly immaterial now.

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1627395915009.png


etc
 
OK, So I was not talking about sprouting, as apparently any sprouted seed is better for us and the chicken :) I was just trying to understand if barley and wheat are the same price here is it worth buying barley... I am currently feeding my chicken with wheat only, and it looks like barley does not provide any extra nutritional value, so no point adding it to their diet. Corn is cheaper than wheat here and many people add it to wheat, but except for fat I am not sure why add corn to chicken diet.
You feed your chicken with wheat ONLY?

Any other foods you give them?
 

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