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Feeding chickens myceliated grains

 
Christopher G Williams
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Location: Ossineke, MI
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I just so happen to run a small mushroom farm, and I also happen to have a small flock of pullets. We ended up 'freshening up' our reishi genetics a month or so ago and I ended up with a number of extra bags of grain spawn from the old strain that I wasn't going to be using. I was considering innoculating some wood chip beds, but I've always had better luck doing that with sawdust spawn. Then it occurred to me to try feeding it to the chickens! Especially since they are young and still deciding what is and is not food I figured get them used to it now.

It took them a few days but now they are loving it as much as their normal 'starter' feed. I've also started throwing in shiitake grain spawn too, although they seem to like it less than the reishi. There are a couple studies and a few anecdotal reports out there on the internet about doing this, so it's not without precedent. However I thought I would share my experience if any other people with access to grain spawn and chickens ever thought about doing this.

The benefits, as I see them, are: 1) Much higher protein content in myceliated grain compared with regular grains. 2) All types of beta-glucans, polysaccharides and other healthy components not found in regular grain 3) It is very cheap for me to produce and it's sometimes a waste product 4) If not closing a loop, bringing the two ends a little bit closer to each other.

I would be very interested to hear opinions or similar experiences on this subject.

((Note to moderator: I 'cross posted' this in the Fungi forum as well. If that sort of thing is frowned upon please decide which forum it fits better in and delete the other. Thanks!))
 
Adam Klaus
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I fed my hens a bit of myceliated grain last month. They loved it. They are accustomed to eating just whole grain or sprouted grain, and they seemed to really prefer the myceliated grain. When I have my mushroom operation up and running, and surplus spawn, I would definitely like to feed it to my hens.

In short, I think it is a great idea.
 
John Saltveit
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It seems that it would be more alive, and full of enzymes than just dry grain, and therefore healthier.
John S
PDX OR
 
Dan Tutor
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Location: Zone 5, Maine Coast
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Christopher G Williams wrote:

I just so happen to run a small mushroom farm, and I also happen to have a small flock of pullets. We ended up 'freshening up' our reishi genetics a month or so ago and I ended up with a number of extra bags of grain spawn from the old strain that I wasn't going to be using. I was considering innoculating some wood chip beds, but I've always had better luck doing that with sawdust spawn. Then it occurred to me to try feeding it to the chickens! Especially since they are young and still deciding what is and is not food I figured get them used to it now.

It took them a few days but now they are loving it as much as their normal 'starter' feed. I've also started throwing in shiitake grain spawn too, although they seem to like it less than the reishi. There are a couple studies and a few anecdotal reports out there on the internet about doing this, so it's not without precedent. However I thought I would share my experience if any other people with access to grain spawn and chickens ever thought about doing this.

The benefits, as I see them, are: 1) Much higher protein content in myceliated grain compared with regular grains. 2) All types of beta-glucans, polysaccharides and other healthy components not found in regular grain 3) It is very cheap for me to produce and it's sometimes a waste product 4) If not closing a loop, bringing the two ends a little bit closer to each other.

I would be very interested to hear opinions or similar experiences on this subject.

((Note to moderator: I 'cross posted' this in the Fungi forum as well. If that sort of thing is frowned upon please decide which forum it fits better in and delete the other. Thanks!))


I always feed my chickens my contaminated ( usually trich) myceliated grain. They love it. No negative effects, I've been doing it sporadically for at least a few years.
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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They also like spent substrate/mycelium blocks, especially straw
 
Christopher G Williams
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Location: Ossineke, MI
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I've heard they will eat straw from oyster mushroom production, and I'm hoping they will go for sawdust blocks as well since we only do sawdust species.

I'm glad you commented on Trich since I was a little hesitant to do so. I've so far avoided feeding them mold contaminated bags, but they all end up in the compost pile where they are going to have access to before long. I know chickens can eat way worse things, like carrion, so a bit of mold shouldn't be a problem. In fact I was looking at ingredients of conventional chick starter and was surprised to notice A. niger and other molds included on the list. I decided to pay the double for organic feed, but if they are putting more dangerous molds like A. niger right in feed a bit of trich from the compost pile doesn't worry me as much.
 
Dan Tutor
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Christopher G Williams wrote:I've heard they will eat straw from oyster mushroom production, and I'm hoping they will go for sawdust blocks as well since we only do sawdust species.

I'm glad you commented on Trich since I was a little hesitant to do so. I've so far avoided feeding them mold contaminated bags, but they all end up in the compost pile where they are going to have access to before long. I know chickens can eat way worse things, like carrion, so a bit of mold shouldn't be a problem. In fact I was looking at ingredients of conventional chick starter and was surprised to notice A. niger and other molds included on the list. I decided to pay the double for organic feed, but if they are putting more dangerous molds like A. niger right in feed a bit of trich from the compost pile doesn't worry me as much.


Yeah, I did consider it being possibly harmful, but yeah, it's going in the compost so they are going to get it anyway. Speaking of carrion, my chickens had free range of the remains of a frozen deer carcass all winter (3 of them actually). I think it really supplemented their diet and especially helped with extra protein for a few going through a late molt. They were only able to get at it when it wasn't a total Popsicle or buried in snow, and they kept working on it up to the point in March when I buried it in a hugulculture.
They are some big healthy birds! Or small feathery dinosaurs...
 
Dan Tutor
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Location: Zone 5, Maine Coast
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I had an idea for a better use of trich contaminated spawn: inoculate holes for vegetables and trees with it! Trying this now.
 
Matt Gorham
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Location: Louisburg, NC Zone 7b avg. 50" precip.
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What type of grain was the grain spawn? Rye? Chickens are amazing critters.
 
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