Pearled Barley for Chicks?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Nate19, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. Nate19

    Nate19 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 1, 2015
    Ohio
    My girlfriend and I recent purchased barley that we wanted to sprout to feed to our new (first!) flock.

    We didn't do enough research and ended up purchasing pearled barley from the store, not that whole barley that you need to buy if you're going to sprout it.

    Now that I have several bags of pearled barley, can I feed it to my chicks? Raw? Cooked?

    Side note: the chicks (~2 weeks) are in their brooder but I have been mixing in some grit with their food.
     
  2. RJSorensen

    RJSorensen Chicken George

    I try to wait until about four weeks to feed grains, and when you feed grains you will need grit. If you are feeding a chick starter you need not feed grit with it. The starter/grower/layer feed does not require any additional grit, it is digestible to them as is. Now on the Barley, it will be low in protein, like… 9% at best, so it needs to be fed as a treat, not as a feed. A little will go a long way with chicks. You could try soaking it overnight to make it easier for them to process and handle. Over time you will be able to feed it all up, but it might take a while. Store the grain in a place where it won't get 'grain bugs' and become stale. Whole grains will store better and longer than grains that have been through any process. For example whole corn is much better than cracked corn. When the kernel is broken it begins to loose its nutrients, the sooner grain is feed, in this instance corn, the better it is for the bird. I use corn as my example because most or more people relate and can understand the concept with corn. Corn is not a good feed, it makes birds fat, is a hot feed and does little else. Wheat, oats, barley, rye and such are the best grains by me. Use them whole if you can, or fresh milled/rolled/etc. if they are not whole.

    I don't suppose you know how old your pearled barley is… anyway not a complete waste, but something to not procure for the flock in the future.

    Best to you and your birds,

    RJ
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015
  3. Nate19

    Nate19 Out Of The Brooder

    28
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    24
    Feb 1, 2015
    Ohio
    I soaked some of the pearled barley over night and attempted it as a treat this morning. At this point my chicks are still skittish so only 1 out of 8 (one of my Barred Rocks) ventured close enough to peck a few pieces out of my hand. She seemed to enjoy it and when I came back later with a few more pieces she came over immediately and took a few more. The others don't seem interested just yet, so I won't force the issue. Fingers cross that between the introduction of grit to the flock several days ago and soaking the barley over night that the Rock won't have any issues processing the barley.

    I will keep my eyes open and check out a local feed store for some of the whole feed you spoke to.

    Thanks for the great information.
     

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