Spent brewing grains for chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by dashman1319, Dec 8, 2018 at 3:39 PM.

  1. dashman1319

    dashman1319 In the Brooder

    Jul 31, 2018
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Hey all,

    I just finished a batch of homebrew, after which I find myself with about 10 pounds of spent grains. Instead of just tossing them in the compost, I spooned a bit out for the chickens (still hot) and they went crazy for it. Essentially, the grains you'd find in a homebrew are just different varieties of malted barley plus some adjuncts like cracked oats, rice hulls, corn, or white rice. You know - chicken food. The only difference is that they've been held at a certain heat for a period of time to allow enzymes to catalyze the breakdown of the starches in the grains into simpler sugars, much (but not all) of which is extracted for the beer.

    So I was wondering - any conceivable objection to throwing these grains out as warm treats? They certainly wouldn't take the place of regular feed as much of their nutritional benefit has been extracted anyway.

    Melky and Compost King like this.
  2. Compost King

    Compost King Songster

    Apr 19, 2018
    North Carolina
    I have no idea if its a good or bad thing as a treat, I assume its good as a treat and a great way to make a product go a little further. Unless someone has some sort nutritional objection I bet you found yourself a great use for a previously spent product.
    Melky likes this.
  3. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

    Mar 11, 2017
    South Park, Colorado, USA
    I've looked into this before as there is a brewery down the street (unfortunately they want someone to take all or none, which is a lot of grains). It is safe to feed the birds, but the nutritional value is not what the grains once had, so definitely feed it as a treat. The other thing is that I do not believe they will keep long, perhaps it's a moisture/mold issue, I don't remember, so keep an eye on them and feed them out relatively quickly. Definitely don't just waste the spent grains!
    Melky and Compost King like this.
  4. IamRainey

    IamRainey Songster

    Wish I could get some spent mash! The chickens may love it but I think it's pretty much wasted on them when it makes delicious bread. My chickens would have to fight me for it!
    Melky likes this.
  5. dashman1319

    dashman1319 In the Brooder

    Jul 31, 2018
    Chapel Hill, NC
    You can get spent mash! You just have to brew some beer :cool:
    Melky likes this.
  6. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Songster

    Nov 12, 2017
    West Central Ohio
    Some to chickens as a treat, should be fine. Freeze it in a quantity you would give them, that way it lasts.

    Or start an additional hobby of breadmaking (also a fermentation if sorts) as @IamRainey suggests.
    Melky likes this.
  7. IamRainey

    IamRainey Songster

    Yes it is! And I think fermented foods -- bread, pickles, cheese, wine, kombucha -- are among the tastiest. Just don't happen to like beer at all. ::hangs head in shame::
    Acre4Me likes this.
  8. we3ernes

    we3ernes Songster

    Jan 2, 2013
    China Spring, Texas
    It’s perfectly safe. We freeze ours in one pound balls (in plastic grocery sacks) and then feed throughout the summer. Spent grain also makes good bread (as mentioned upthread) and awesome dog treats.
    Melky likes this.
  9. Melky

    Melky Crowing

    Jul 23, 2018
    Edgewood, KY
    My Coop
    There is a company brewhouse here that makes dog biscuits from spent grains barley with peanut butter in them. They are no corn wheat or soy and packaged and sold for people with disabilities. Great cause. Probably fine treat for chickens.
  10. Naser

    Naser Songster

    Oct 29, 2014
    Will the hens get drunk?.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: