Most people who raise chickens do so because they want farm fresh eggs. If you are like us, you sell the surplus eggs hoping to recoup some of your feed cost. A year ago I started growing oat sprouts and while it is extra work it has been worth it. Not only are we covering the feed cost of our hens, we have made enough to cover the cost of 48 chicks that we purchased in November and their feed. They should start to lay eggs in about a month or so and we can start saving for the next batch of chicks.
So if you are still reading, I will assume you want to know how it is done. I have a six day cycle that I will explain step by step below. On day one I start with four cups of oats and by day six I have approximately 20 cups of sprouts. The photos depict a five day cycle. I have bumped it to six so I will have sprouts for the chicks now that they are old enough to start eating them.
You will need two buckets and six containers with holes drilled in the bottom. I used shoebox size storage containers and plastic meat containers. I drilled (well the hubby did) approximately 10 holes in the bottoms of the each container. For day one I used a water garden planter that has holes all over it so it would work like a strainer.
This picture shows volume before and after soaking.
This picture shows the progression of growth. The yogurt container in the container on the left compares day 1 and day 5.
It will form a solid mat if you don’t stir it daily.
Ready to take out to the hens.
Day 1 Place 4 cups of whole oat feed in a 6-8 cup container with holes.
Put the container in a larger container (I use a gallon ice cream bucket) without holes and fill with water.
Soak over night. Each day you will need to soak a new batch of oats.
Day 2 Drain the water and transfer the oats to the shoebox storage container.
Day 3 Rinse the oats and stir. Drain the second batch of oats that you are soaking.
Day 4 Rinse the oats in each shoebox container and drain the batch that is soaking.
Continue to repeat this process every day and by day six you will have approximately 20 cups of home-grown sprouts for your girls. As long as you keep the process going you will have a batch ready everyday. It is not necessary to stir the oats. However, if you don’t, it will make a thick mat. I stir our sprouts because the hens eat it better that way. It is necessary to water each tray every day. I keep mine covered with a plastic trash bag and only rinse once a day. If you don’t keep it covered you will need to rinse twice a day.
We still feed them laying pellets just not as many. They prefer the sprouts over the laying pellets. The egg production did not decline with the change. If anything if picked up. If you give it a try let me know how it goes.
As an added note. I keep a drain strainer in place to keep the oats from going down the drain. They don’t need light to grow and you could get a clogged drain in a matter of days if you don’t use a strainer.