Growing Sprouts as Treats for Chickens

It’s no secret by now that we are in “how-to-save-the-most-money-while-raising-non-gmo-organic-backyard-chicken-eggs” mode.

There has been a lot of projects and experimenting around here. So much that Scott often wonders if the “honey-do” list will ever end. No, honey… It won’t ever end. 😀

To recap, so far we have:

The next thing I’m experimenting with is growing sprouts for them. Essentially, it’s like the grazing box but without dirt. You get your grains or sprouts, soak them in water for the first day, and then rinse them out twice a day until they sprout to the desired length you want.

Doing this gives them fresh, nutritious greens and hopefully saves you money on feed. For the sprouts, I decided to try alfalfa, clover, wheat grass, and barley (find organic sprouts here).

The process was incredibly easy but there are a few newbie mistakes I made that I want to share:

  • I put 1/2 a cup of each in a pint size mason jar which ended up being a mistake for the clover and alfalfa. They outgrew their space 4-fold and one jar actually busted on me. Next time, I’ll put about 2 tablespoons of clover and alfalfa per jar or use bigger jars and increase my amount of sprouts.
  • I soaked them for two days instead of one. Yep, I totally forgot them about them being in the cupboard. Next time, I’ll probably set a reminder on the phone since it has been so busy and crazy around here lately.
  • I didn’t have a mesh screen so I had to use a really small mesh colander which worked fine, but it would have been much easier with a mesh screen and rubber band that fit perfectly. I’ve considered getting one of these sprout kits for ease.

At the end of my experiment, I found that growing your own sprouts for chickens on a small scale (like in the mason jars) is great to give as a nutritious treat that does not cost much at all. In terms of saving money long run and making an impact on the feed bill, you would have to turn the whole process into a fodder system and grow them on a larger scale (think large flats).

Sprouting for your chickens and determining if it will decrease your feed bill also varies on the amount of chickens you have. We have eight girls so a couple mason jars would serve as great treats but nothing that would cut our costs significantly. If we only had two, I could see it making a difference.

That being said, I can definitely see myself growing sprouts as treats for chickens once or twice a month because the cost of seed is extremely minimal and the amount of time you have to actually put into growing the sprouts is minimal as well.

In terms of what the chickens liked best; they went for the barley and wheat grass first and then after a little hesitation, went for the alfalfa and clover. Interestingly enough, I thought they would gobble up the alfalfa and clover but they always seem to surprise me with what their spoiled chicken taste buds like.

Have you ever grown sprouts for your chickens?

This post is sponsored by SeedsNow and contains affiliate links. However, the opinions and photos are of my own. Authenticity is important so I would never promote any brand or product that I wholeheartedly don’t believe in. My readers are my number one priority and I always recommend companies and products that I believe will benefit my readers.


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Aside from being a wannabe backyard homesteader who wrangles chickens and free-range kids, Loriel is the owner/creator of the professional natural lifestyle blog Naturally Loriel, owner of the organic spice blend business Naturally Free, and freelance professional food photographer.

'Growing Sprouts as Treats for Chickens' has 27 comments

  1. March 16, 2015 @ 2:36 pm Raia

    I’ve been giving mine sprouted lentils, which they only seem to eat when they’re ravenously hungry. I have also been soaking/fermenting my feed, which makes it double in size and increases the nutritional value as well. They go crazy over that! 🙂


    • December 12, 2017 @ 12:23 pm Ged Gilmore

      How do you mean ‘fermenting’ and how do you do it?


      • September 8, 2018 @ 11:45 am Jen

        Water, pellets or crumble and a large bottle. Put no more than a quarter of a jar full of dry food, fill 3/4 with water put lid on snug but not tight. Wait 2 days, no more than 2 1/2 days, press on top of jar or unscrew top, it should ‘fizz’ a bit on opening. Feed to hens


        • September 7, 2019 @ 5:01 pm Allie

          Hi. I love the idea of fermenting the pellets. However, after a day, it can really stink. What may I be doing wrong? It starts to fiz after 5-6 hours…..
          Would love an answer


    • September 12, 2019 @ 10:31 am Melissa

      Yes my chickens love that as well. Even when I let them out to chase grasshoppers and they see me coming they run and don’t let me walk cause they think I’m going to give them some treats.


  2. March 16, 2015 @ 10:13 pm jamie

    I love this idea! It makes me want to have chickens even more now. I’ll be sharing this with our neighbors who do have some chickens!


  3. March 19, 2015 @ 12:24 pm Kylie Worthington

    What a great idea! Happy chickens. 🙂


  4. March 29, 2015 @ 11:04 pm Monica

    I have been procrastinating on growing sprouts for my chickens for a good week now… It’s on my to do list! I started growing sprouts for our family to eat last summer and they are great on sandwiches. 🙂 I’m going to grow large trays of sprouts soon for our 7 chickens.


  5. February 18, 2016 @ 10:13 pm Elvira

    There are many such projects arnoud the country. Usually there is a chairperson who is voted as such by the project members. FInding out who, from government, is managing the project is difficult it could be local department of agriculture, DTI, IDC, Agriseta, LIBSA or even a project handled by a company like Xxaro. You would need to visit the project and ask. What is it you would like to find out?


  6. April 24, 2016 @ 4:48 pm Darla

    OMG I started giving my chicks sprouts at about three weeks and they totally go crazy over them. I have used the sprouts to encourage them to come out of their chick house and into the run and up and down their steps…..working wonderful. Was purchasing the alfalfa sprouts at store when I first started now am sprouting my own. 🙂


  7. April 27, 2016 @ 10:11 pm Barb E

    I have been sprouting seeds in quart jars for my chickens. I use the canning ring and I saved the tray from inside the Healthy Choice Dinners. This tray has lots of small holes in the center. Use the ring to draw a pattern on the center of the tray and then you can cut it out easily. This will fit in the ring perfectly. It works for all but the smaller seeds. Lots of sprouters for free. 🙂


    • January 12, 2020 @ 10:28 am Anne

      Wow! That is a great idea! Everytime I grow sprouts I lose most of the tiny seeds when draining.


  8. June 10, 2016 @ 11:49 am Susan

    I have enjoyed all of your chicken posts! I am a first time chicken momma with a mixed flock of 13 hens who are almost 9 weeks old (yep, I’m counting)
    Thank you for the links for organic seed. I’ve been wondering where to find seed on a smaller scale than our local farm supply sells.
    I look forward to seeing more of your blog posts!


  9. October 14, 2016 @ 11:26 am Heather

    We have a fodder system going for our 12 meat rabbits (plus all their babies) and 14 ducks. The rabbits LOVE the barley fodder, but the ducks only like the sprouted seeds. So i soak for 8 hrs, put the barley in trays, with one designated for the ducks, and just let that go for one extra day, and then out to them it goes! The rest goes for about 6 more days on trays for the buns 🙂 it cuts our feed costs by over half! And organic feed isnt cheap, so its a fantastic money saver.


  10. November 2, 2016 @ 11:14 am Henrietta

    how about plastic canvas? that is what i am about to use, you can get it at hobby lobby or walmart(maybe). i’ve been wanting to try sprouts…


    • March 10, 2017 @ 6:20 pm Angela

      plastic canvas is what I use too. I happened to have some left over from another project and gave it a try. Worked like a charm!


  11. November 19, 2016 @ 10:41 am Dusty

    Hi, I use tulle. I bought a small spool 6″x25 yards from michaels for a few bucks for another project, but cut a piece big enough to be doubled so the little seeds won’t try to escape and rubber band it to the lid of a large mason jar. it is perfect because i can run the water through it and then dump it out without messing with it until it is time to use them.


  12. February 4, 2017 @ 9:51 pm Mary

    I have been growing broccoli sprouts for my 3 girls. They were apprehensive at first, just as they are to try anything new. 3 spoiled princesses is what they are. I have some organic wheat grass seed on order. I already had sprouting rings I wasn’t using for myself – 3 different, graduated size drain holes which fit my canning jars. They get some sprouts a couple times a week.


    • August 4, 2020 @ 6:58 pm Chicken lady

      It would be great to some pictures to get an idea how to do it. I’ve never done it and have 14 girls. Thanks


  13. February 8, 2017 @ 5:41 pm Kim

    Your post on sprouting is great, but you don’t tell exactly how to do it.


  14. March 22, 2017 @ 11:59 am Jenny Coleman

    We used to grow sprouts for ourselves when I was a kid, and we just used mum’s old knee-high stocking/pantihose with a rubber band (forty years ago, when women were still expected to wear stockings to work…). I must grow some for my girls. I love the idea of the grazing box, but I get so many bush turkeys here (Queensland, Australia), I’m not sure it would be worth it.


  15. May 23, 2017 @ 12:50 am Bev

    I have been given my girls sprouted green lentil’s for some time now and they love them. I’ve experimented with other seeds but haven’t had too much sucess. I’ve purchased small trays at the dollar store that are full of holes and it works great. I usually have 3 going at a time……every other day or so, I start a new one when I feed them one.


  16. November 26, 2017 @ 3:43 pm SUE

    My hens love sprouted lentils.


  17. August 17, 2018 @ 9:34 pm Btends

    I have six hens and they love sprouted lentils. i also sprout black black beans and sunflower .Every time I go into their coop a few of peck me would someone know why?


  18. September 20, 2018 @ 1:56 pm Wendy

    I’ve been sprouting mostly wheat for my chickens for years and now I have 25 birds so am going to start 3 jars / one each day for 3 Days so each day they can have a jar full. Otherwise it takes 3 or 4 Days to get them ready to feed.


  19. September 24, 2018 @ 1:11 pm Georgianna

    I don’t see why you can’t use cheese cloth for the top.


  20. September 10, 2020 @ 4:57 pm Sherry

    I understand that wet clover is bad for livestock. Sometime about mold or fungi growth, so that might be why they shy away from the alfalfa and clover sprouts.


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