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The Basics of Sprouting Grains

Sprouting Grains for you and/or your chickens!! (what’s good for them is actually pretty

good for you to for the same reasons.)

Look at these benefits…

Better nutrition: Did you know that if you let grains sprout, the protein content can jump

by 50%, depending on the grain and other factors? Sprouted wheat contains four times

the amount of niacin and nearly twice the amount of vitamin B6 and folate as

unsprouted wheat. 

More grain for your money: the volume of the grains, as they swell up with water and

sprout, increases. A half-bucket of dry grains becomes a three-quarters-full bucket of

grains, just with the addition of warm water and time. There’s real economy in that. It’s

also an easy way to get water in to the feed supply.

Palatability: Anybody who feeds chickens will notice that the birds rarely clean up all of

their dry grains. Hard, slick grains can be tough for chickens to eat. But not soft, soaked

ones… Somehow, those hard grains never discourage the House Sparrows though…

So – how do you actually do it – sprout those grains?

Grab any kind of container from a mason jar to a 5-gallon bucket and put dry seed in to

the bottom. Make sure that the volume of seed is no more than 1/3 the volume of the

container. The seed is going to swell with water and can more than double in volume

depending on the seeds you chose. Fill the container with warm water and sit somewhere warm for 24 hours. This allows the seed to swell with as much water as they can absorb and starts the enzyme process for germination. Then, pour off the water, rinse, drain well and place in a bright area to encourage germination. Repeat the rinse, drain and place process every day until the grains show little tails – that’s your seed sprouting roots (3-5 days depending on seed). At this point, the nutritional value of the seed is coming on to maximum. If you keep going and get the sprouts to the green shoot stage then you’ll really see a color change in the yolks of your eggs to a deeper yellow/orange.

There are some pitfalls…

If you leave too much water in the grain after the first 24-hour soak, the seed will not

sprout and will actually start to rot due to lack of oxygen so keeping the sprouting seeds within view in your kitchen is probably the best way to get started. If you find this really works for you then you adapt the model to your lifestyle and you make it work where ever it’s most convenient to have the containers. Raw and dried beans are toxic to chickens – and aren’t so good for you either. Happily, the process of sprouting destroys the hemagglutinin toxin, but you might avoid large beans (like kidney beans -kidney beans REALLY need to be soaked and cooked to be safe) for sprouting – just in case. However, smaller legumes like mung beans and lentils are just fine once sprouted!

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