232: Sprouting seeds for chickens
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
A Farmish Kind of Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. You can view our full affiliate disclosure here.
Today we’re learning how to grow a tasty treat for your chickens—sprouts! They’re easy to do and you probably already have all the materials in your house already.
Why feed sprouts to chickens?
I live in the frozen north and any way that I can supplement some green goodies for my chickens is a welcome addition. Sprouts are “healthy”—they are higher in vitamins and all that good stuff. Sprouts also “save money” on your feed bill, but that all depends on what you normally feed, what you’ve opted to sprout, and how you supplement.
What can you sprout for chickens?
- sunflower seeds
- wheat berries
- navy beans
- black beans
- pumpkin seeds
- squash seeds
- leftover garden seeds
- mustard seed
Is there anything I shouldn’t sprout for my chickens?
Now, understand that information about what you can sprout for chickens varies. Some folks will say, don’t sprout this particular thing because your chicken will eat it and die. But at my farm, I’m gonna at least try sprouting something if I think it can be sprouted.
I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen my chickens eat some pretty odd things.
(MINI SIDE RANT ABOUT FEEDING ANIMALS…)
It’s kind of like giving your dog a special diet and having a list of things they can’t eat… and then watching them walk outside and eat cat poop or the rotting carcass of some rabbit they found or a carboard box that was blowing across the yard. Some dogs, just like people, have to eat specific things. Other dogs you’re like wow, I wonder if that thing they just stole will finally be the thing that kills them but it never does. (I have a dog like that—the last thing she somehow found and ate was a tube of high temp glue we had for a repair we were doing on our dryer. I honestly believe the thing that will finally kill this dog is some organic dog treat from a well meaning visitor.)
All of that to say, that’s the mindset I’m coming at this from. I would never purposely give my chickens (or any other animal) something bad, but I’m also really aware of the fact that sometimes people are more particular and restrictive about what they feed their animals than what they feed themselves. And this is because your animals can’t talk back and say, “No, Felicia, I don’t want that kale and mushroom smoothie, what I’m really craving is a big mac and a DQ blizzard.”
What do I need to sprout seeds for chickens?
Sprouting seeds for chickens is really just another way of talking about a fodder system, but you can do the same basic thing on a smaller scale. In fact, you probably already have the items you need in your house! Here’s what you need:
- quart size mason jar with a ring to secure lid
- A lid—screen, cheesecloth, canning lid with little holes poked through it, be creative
- Beans/seeds/whatever you’re sprouting
How do I sprout seeds for chickens?
If you’re just starting out, measure 1/2 cup of seeds into your quart size mason jar. Resist the urge to add more than this. As your seeds/beans sprout, they will take up more of the jar. Some sprouted seeds will take up more of the jar than others. If you get into a system of sprouting the same things over and over, you will know how many seeds you can add to the jar and still allow ample space for growth.
Day One of Sprouting Seeds for Chickens
Fill the jar with water. The seeds/beans will sit in this water overnight.
Cover the jar with the top you’ve chosen and a ring and just let it sit.
Day Two of Sprouting Seeds for Chickens
The next day, drain the water out of the jar. Rinse the seeds with cool water a couple times and drain that water, too. This is why it’s really nice to have a lid that’s a screen. You just let the water pour in and then drain out.
Of course you don’t need to have a screen lid—you can just filter everything by putting your hand over the jar and separating your fingers a bit when you dump the water—but a screen lid saves a lot of time and seeds.
After the seeds have been rinsed, let the jar of seeds/beans sit on your counter with no water in it the rest of the day.
The Rest of the Days of Sprouting Seeds for Chickens
The following day, rinse the seeds again, drain that water. Let the jar sit on the counter again. Repeat this until the seeds sprout and grow. With some seeds/beans it will take a few days, with others it will longer. But eventually you will have a jar full of sprouts. This jar of navy beans took 6 days.
Where should I store my jars while sprouting seeds for chickens?
You don’t have to put the jars in any particular place—leave them on your counter, you can hide them in a cabinet, it doesn’t matter. Some people say it does, but I know folks that keep their sprouts in the dark and it still works for them. I leave mine on the counter because if they’re out of sight they’re out of mind and then I forget I’m doing this project until I have a really nasty smell coming from somewhere in the house.
Do I have to rinse seeds when I’m sprouting them for chickens?
Seeds need moisture to sprout, but they shouldn’t be drowning, right? So rinsing adds moisture to our project and makes it happen. Rinsing will also ward off any bacteria that wants to get in there.
Some people recommend rinsing a few times a day and you can certainly do that but also know that if you only think of it once a day, you’re okay. Having said, make sure you do it at least once a day or some funky stuff will happen with your sprouts.
How do I feed sprouts to my chickens?
My chickens love sprouts! Whether I feed them like treats they take from my hands or I dump them in their bowl in the coop, they’re excited when they see that jar of sprouts coming!
How often can I feed sprouts to my chickens?
Some folks will do the math about how many sprouts you should offer you chickens, but I don’t think there is a maximum. I guess I’ve always looked at it like how often could my chicken eat grass or green goodies from the yard? Don’t over think it and make it more difficult than it needs to be. I would say the frequency of how often to feed sprouts to your chickens has more to do with your system for remembering to keep sprouts happening in your kitchen.
I’d love to know about your experience with sprouts for chickens. What have you successfully sprouted? What are your chickens’ favorite sprouts to eat? Have you run into any issues with sprouting? Do you have a different system? Let me know in the comments!
Links Mentioned in Episode 232
Homeschool Highway Series (written by me!)
Self Reliance Festival (March 25-26th Camden TN)
Toolman Tim’s Workshop Radio Live
Farmish Kind of Life Telegram Group
FIND MORE GOODIES FROM A FARMISH KIND OF LIFE:
Monthly Snail Mail Newsletter: Subscribe here
Books by me, Amy Dingmann: My books
Fiction books by Shay Ray Stevens (my pen name): My fiction books
Social media: Discord, Telegram, Facebook, Instagram,
Videos: YouTube, Odysee, TikTok, Rumble