Spent Grain questions

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by PtldChick, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    Hi there, I'm hoping some of you who use spent grains, or are great researchers, can answer a few questions for me? I live in Portland, home of backyard chickens and microbrewering, a perfect combintaion for feeding spent grains.

    I know the protein content is higher, carbs less, and supposedly the amino acid ratio is missing a key acid, so it's better as a supplement than main feeding. How much can I supplement with (a percentage of daily food would be helpful, I feed Nutrena starter/grower at 18% or Purina Flock Raiser at 20% and have oyster shell and baked crushed eggshells free choice).

    How long does the spent grain last before it goes bad? I know it starts to smell bad, but I already think it smells kind of funny, so I'm not sure I'm the best judge. [​IMG]

    I can freeze some of what I picked up, and give some to a chicken friend, but don't have room to freeze the whole 5 gallon bucket. I've heard that you can dry it out - how do you do that? It's raining here so I'll have to do it indoors. Do I spread it out on a tarp in the basement? Put some in a strainer in the kitchen sink?

    The guy who gave it to me brews regularly and his neighbor just slaughtered his meaties so didn't need it. I asked him to keep me in mind as a regular, so I want to make sure I can use what I get if that happens. I know I can always compost the remainder...but would rather use it for the chickens and let them produce the compost...[​IMG]

    Thanks so much! I'm learning so much about lots of things with my chickens, and have been trying to make this as much of a reuse/recycle venture as possible.
  2. seattlehens83

    seattlehens83 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 11, 2011
    I was thinking something similar about spent grain. I know a friend that is just about to open a brewery!!! So I was wondering if I can devise a dryer so that the spent grain can be stored for longer what can I mix in to make a complete mix? Is anyone out there doing this seems to me that my local feed store sells a lot of components to feed (corn, grains...) could I possibly mix my driend spent grain with other stuff to make up for what spent grain is lacking???
  3. birdmomma

    birdmomma Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 22, 2010
    Loveland, OH
    I don't want to stir up stuff, but I'm currently reading Joel Salatin's book "Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal" and he has a chapter about raw milk and dairy in it. He talks about when the Industrial Revolution was changing so much in cities, how dairies sprang up around breweries so they could feed the distiller's grains to the cattle - it made the pH of the cattles rumen much more acidic and much changed in the milk they produced because of that. Interesting book and I just wonder if you should consider carefully using the grains - chicken poop is already pretty acidic from what I can tell - and I wonder what it might do to the eggs? Just a thought..... [​IMG]
  4. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2010
    Quote:Unlike cattle, birds are designed to eat grain.

    I don't have any knowledge of spent grain, apologies to the OP.
  5. wyododge

    wyododge Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 30, 2011
    I don't know the scientific analysis of the grain, and I suppose it would change every batch anyway, so out the window with that. My mother fed spent grain from Coors to replace scratch. But she always mixed up her scratch. she used a little spent grain, then moved to corn, barley... you get the picture. It is very hard to dry, we got it at about 20% moisture from Coors and could never keep it long in the summer as it would go bad or attract vermin for miles. It does compost well though. I would think you could put a five gallon bucket into gallon zip locks and freeze them.

    About the only way I can think to dry it is to blow air through it, or bake it. I would worry about mice spreading it on a tarp in the basement.

    FWIW cattle are designed to eat grains. But they must have grasses or roughage as well.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Moldy food can kill chickens, so make sure it doesn't mold on you, is all I have to say.

    Sorry I don't know more.
  7. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    Quote:That was one of my questions - how long does it take to go moldy and how can I tell?
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:That was one of my questions - how long does it take to go moldy and how can I tell?

    I never allow wet food (like oatmeal mash) to remain more than 24 hours before removing it. That isn't based on a scientific study or anything, though. It would probably depend on the temperature that it was kept at. Any chance of freezing the grains?

    I am a very acute mold detector and can smell mold on bread, cheese and other foods long before anyone else in my family can. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
  9. PaulaJoAnne

    PaulaJoAnne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    http://www.fao.org/ag/aGa/agap/FRG/afris/Data/468.HTM I was just looking at this link, and another for spent grains. The one link I looked at was a study that showed that up to 20% at some ages and 30% at other ages spent grains in a chickens diet showed no adverse affects on growth or egg production. Also the crude protein is very high, and dried can replace some fish meal in the diet. As this is often a free food, I see it as a possible way to reduce cost of chicken feed by quite a bit; especially as fish meal is the highest priced item in our chicken feed.

    It composts best, that was the recommended use; molds very quickly, unless properly siloed and fermented.
  10. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    I wonder if there's a way to naturally ferment the grains, sort of like silage or saurkraut. That would make them last a long, long time, especially if it's cool outside. Perhaps adding kefir whey would do the trick?

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