Sprouts vs fermented grain HELP!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by FrankHomestead, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. FrankHomestead

    FrankHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been doing non stop reading up on both, and both sound amazing. I want to provide them with the readily digestible nutrients from sprouting, but I want to provide them with the easier to digest, plus probiotics of fermentation. As of right now my chicks are about 2 1/2 weeks old and I ferment their organic chick starter feed. But I plan to just skip the commercial feed all together once I run out of what they're eating. So, do I make my own grain mix and ferment, or is it better to just sprout each seed I would give in the mix? Or, do a fermented seed mix and supplement with sprouts? Or mix the sprouts in the mix before feeding? If so, which grains or seeds are the most beneficial to sprout? Note that I'm planning for when they are older, though I am about to sprout some broccoli for them this week. And they will be supplemented with other treats as well, Thia is for their staple diet.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I'm no expert on the subject, but you may run into troubles feeding only sprouts to chicks, and even grown chickens.
     
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  3. mobius

    mobius Chillin' With My Peeps

    In fact this is not an either-or question.

    I suggest you rethink the either-or approach.

    If there WERE only one option, it would be fermenting.

    I suggest you can do a multitude of options.

    Here is an approach I use:

    1. Ferment the feed. Yum.

    2. Do sprouts if you like.

    3. Start a fodder system. I am trying barley right now.

    4. Ferment other things like alfalfa cubes

    5. Do a "salad bar" with clover or grain mix.

    Only the complete feed (I have organic non gmo, soy and corn free) really gives complete nutrient content unless you want a graduate degree in mixing your own.

    If you really want to look into mixing your own grains, it gets complicated. There are good threads about this. I looked into it and the cost and decided to buy the organic feed which was in fact less expensive.

    Bottom line: Stick with a good purchased feed of your choice. Ferment it.

    Everything else you do is gravy. And fun. And the chickens love it. But don't bypass the regular feed.

    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
  4. FrankHomestead

    FrankHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok that's what I was thinking too. Thank you!!!
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    What Mobius said.
     
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  6. bergmanchicken

    bergmanchicken Just Hatched

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    That's really good info. I thought about fermenting. Looks like I'll be looking more into it.
     
  7. reginnip

    reginnip New Egg

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    It is not a good idea to feed a 100% fodder/sprouts diet. A 70% fodder 30% regular diet works well typically with most forms of livestock including chickens. This is not set in stone, play around with the mix ratio to get the desired results. If you want to add protein to you fodder add 2 oz of baby black/oiled sunflower seeds to the 2 lbs of barley. Sunflower is rich on proteins.
     
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  8. bergmanchicken

    bergmanchicken Just Hatched

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    Good to know. Thankyou. I'll be keeping an eye.
     
  9. mobius

    mobius Chillin' With My Peeps

    Here is the best guide (lifted from @lazy gardener ) for fermenting. It really is simple and I keep a half gallon jar on my counter for my six chix. That is about three days worth before I refill, there is always a bit left in the bottom for backslopping (like a cup or two).

    https://tikktok.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/fermented-feed-faq/

    That should get anyone started nicely...[​IMG]


    Here is the massive (but highly educational) thread on fermenting feed (aka FF).

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/645057/fermented-feeds-anyone-using-them

    So, yes, FF is the first step I took. And then I started adding other pieces.

    For example, chickens are loving up the fodder right now. Good for them to have some variety. But they just get a kind of supplement of that (a couple of cups for six chickens) in the afternoon, in lieu of what I was using, which was scratch for the winter. It is warmer now so they don't need that, but I like for them to have fresh greens right now and seeds to fill their crop before bed.

    Finally, from what I have researched the fodder to regular feed ratio can affect egg production. If you can keep a very close eye on that (but it varies with weather and daylight and chicken age) you can play with the ratios. I just am choosing to do what I am describing above because it is primarily FF, and then the alfalfa, and then the barley grass.

    And then to allow chickens to have some input, especially in very cold weather, there is always a four gallon feeder with dry layer feed available. So if they need more than I feed, they have access. However, that bucket only gets filled every two months at most. Not very often.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017

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