Several weeks ago, I was approached to review a product from
Incubator Warehouse. I was told I could look through the entire site and choose something for my existing flock.
|Photo image from Incubator Warehouse.com|
I pulled the three plastic drawers out of a chest I had been keeping-thinking I might raise mealworms. (I might yet.) I found a clear plastic shoe box that fit inside the drawer (and purchased two more shoe boxes at the local Dollar Store for $1 each at the after holiday sale). I think maybe the main thing to remember when sprouting grains is to keep the grain wet, but to have really good drainage. The videos I watched showed a rack system with slightly tilted sprouting bins—by watering the top bin, water would drain from one into the bin below and finally into a catch pan.
|two bin system|
|Drainage holes in bottom of bin|
|Measuring the fodder grains|
I chose 6 ounces for the first “batch” because I had read that there should be about ½ inch of the soaked grain in the bin, and I wasn’t sure if the grains would plump up at all while soaking. (In the next batches, I used 8 ounces.) I carefully watered the grains, watched to see that they drained, and set them on a shelf in our back office.
|Day 2–if you look closely you will see that the wheat are showing little sprouts|
On Day 5, the sprouts were beginning to show green, so I set the bin on the kitchen counter by a window. I checked for a root system, too.
On Day 6, I rolled back the greened fodder system, and sliced it with a sharp knife.
I only cut off a third of it, because I only planned to use it as a supplement for the hens. The articles I read, and the videos I watched, suggested growing the sprouts up to nine days before feeding them. I worry about impacted crops in my ladies, so when, at Day 6 the sprouts appeared to be about the size of the lawn grass the chickens like to snip in the summer, I harvested the first third. For the next two days, I fed a third of the sprouted grain –cut into bite sized pieces –to the hens.
|Sprouted fodder, Day 6–by Day 8 the root system is very thick and the sprouts are about 3 to 4 inches tall|
I really have no way to measure the effect on the birds, except to tell you that this week we had several days of very cold weather, and the ladies needed to be kept shut in the coop. Generally, this would cause a decline in their laying (which they just started getting back up to speed!)—that didn’t happen this time. Egg production continued as usual. Was this because of the sprouted fodder supplement? Again, there’s no way to tell, but I suppose it’s possible.