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Fodder barley or wheat

 
gardener
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Location: N. California
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I have been growing fodder for a few months now.  I started with wheat, but with the hot weather I switched to barley.  My chickens definitely like the wheat better.  They would attack the wheat fodder, and eat the other feed when the fodder was all gone.  With the barley they still eat it, but some go for the feed first.  The last batch I started I mixed wheat and barley, we will see what happens.  I have also just started fermenting the barley.  I've been reading there are a lot of benefits to it.  I have also noticed my chickens like the fodder that had more seeds, and less green.  I do still buy chicken feed and scratch, but it lasts a lot longer.   I will continue to grow fodder, I will just add fermenting into the mix.  At this time my chickens are stuck in the coop.  Last year my whole flock disappeared.  Literally one evening no one came home. No feathers, nothing.  So until I can come up with something else, I can't let them out.   This is why I like to give them a variety of food.
 
pollinator
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Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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I hope to try sprouting fodder this winter.  In the meantime, I ferment my chickens' scratch grains (corn and wheat), which they love.  I find it pretty easy to put grain in a container, cover it with water for about three days, and then dump it in the chicken yard--and they go crazy for it.
 
pollinator
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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Been sprouting wheat for my broilers this year. I did a lot of reading on wheat vs barley for chickens, and wheat is supposed to be better suited to them.

I also read up on the malting process they use for brewing. This process terminates germination when the sprout (not the roots) are roughly the same length as the seed. With barley, this means it is usually still encased inside the husk, but with wheat it's much easier to see because there is no husk. The reason germination is halted then is because the enzymes created by the germinating seed (that are used to break down the carbohydrates and make them bioavailable to the plant) are at their peak, and only about 10% of the nutrients have gone to plant growth.

I have found that the sprouted wheat is most preferred by my chickens when the tip of the sprout is just starting to show a bit of green. At this point the seed is sweet and the sprout is juicy.
 
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