Sunday, 14 January 2007

Chook Sprouts

"By sprouting grains
you treble the volume of food
and at the same time increase the protein
and vitamin value".

From: A Guide to Organic Living in Australia by Michael J Roads.

I first read that book in the eighties and ever since have sprouted wheat for my chooks in the summer months. This is when the heat sets in and the grass goes brown. With very little green feed around the chooks really need the healthy boost that these sprouts can provide.
This little book described a method by which you soaked grains in a cut down 44 gallon drum covered with corrugated iron. He obviously had a lot more chickens than I have so I came up with the following method.
A sturdy bucket, I used an ex-catering mayonnaise bucket, with holes drilled out on the bottom for drainage.

This is place inside another, larger, bucket this time without holes in the bottom and put in 2 scoops of wheat.

Cover the grain with rainwater and leave it to soak overnight. Keep out of reach of creatures especially chooks and my dog loves to eat these sprouted grains!!

In the morning drain the grain saving the water for plants.
This method can be used for making sprouted grain for a small number of chickens by rinsing with clean water twice a day (over plants again) for 2-3 days until the sprout is as long as the grain. This is when it has of the most nutritional value for the chickens.
This year we purchased 12 new laying hens. The bucket wasn’t big enough any more.
I didn’t have a spare 44 gallon drum lying around as these get used for too many other things… worm farms, vegetable planters and frost diverters to name some. I had to think of some other way of growing the sprouts.
Out the back was a stack of old bakery crates we had acquired along the way. But the holes were too big.

We had some off-cuts of shade cloth left over from all the shade structures we have been building this year so I cut these to size and sewed the corners to make them fit.

These crates are perfect. They stack conveniently on top of each other and I had a bench under the back pergola that was big enough to put them.

I simply spread out the soaked grain.

Put another crate over the top which also provides a shade cover for the tray bellow.

As I water the top crate the others are watered as well and the water drains off the corrugated iron bench into a bucket and old baby’s bath at the bottom thus allowing the water to be reused.

This water is used on other plants in the garden or pots and planters like this salad box growing nearby under the pergola.

In one or two days the grain is big enough for the chooks to enjoy

So I scoop up enough for the girls to eat

And let them have it.

They love it and I get lots of yummy googies with deep golden yolks.


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