Here is a quick and easy guide to sprouting lentils for your backyard chickens. Simple, inexpensive, and a great source of protein and vitamins!
It’s pretty safe to say our backyard chickens (and yours too!) love treats!
They are filled with excitement when we give them strawberry tops, and other scraps from fruits and veggies. The girls go absolutely bananas whenever I give them mealworms. And in the heat of the summer I even make them special frozen treats to help them cool off.
Providing fresh scraps is easiest in the spring, summer, and fall when everything is growing and fresh. We use poultry netting to move our hens onto different parts of the yard so they have access to fresh grass and the bugs hiding in the grass.
But winter can be a little trickier. During the winters here in east Tennessee there is no fresh grass to offer them. So it’s nice to treat them with some freshly grown green sprouts!
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Can Chickens Eat Lentils?
Yes – chickens can eat lentils! If they are properly prepared.
Do not feed raw lentils to your chickens! Or to yourself for that matter! Raw lentils are poisonous. They must be either cooked or sprouted before you or your chickens can consume them.
What Seeds Are Good For Sprouting For Chickens?
- Sunflower Seeds
I was able to get some bags of lentils for free recently, so that’s what I’ve been using. You could try different seeds to see which ones your hens like the best!
Split peas will not sprout though. They’ve been split down the middle, and they won’t germinate.
Materials For Sprouting Lentils
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Lentils – or another edible legume
- Mason jar – or another container
- A lid for the jar
Directions For Sprouting Lentils
Put a few tablespoons of lentils into the mason jar or other container of your choice.
Fill the mason jar with water. You definitely want to make sure that the lentils are completely covered with water. They need to be fully submerged for 24 hours. The lentils will soak up quite a bit of water during this time, so just keep an eye out to make sure they stay submerged and don’t begin to dry out.
After the 24 hour soak, drain the water from the mason jar. For me, the easiest way I’ve found to do this is by punching holes in the lid of my mason jar. This allows the water to drain without losing any of the lentils. I just used a hammer and a nail to punch some drain holes in the lid, and then it’s ready to go!
Every day for the next few days, you’ll need to rinse and drain your jar full of lentils. I rinse mine in the morning and in the evening.
Out of sight – out of mind! It really doesn’t take much for me to forget things these days, so I keep my jar of sprouting lentils beside the kitchen sink. This way I will see it and be reminded to rinse and drain. Typically, I rinse and drain the sprouting lentils after I wash breakfast dishes and again after I wash supper dishes.
The lentils will begin to germinate and sprout after just a few days. The first time I tried this I was really amazed at how quickly it happened.
Once your lentils have germinated and you can see some green sprouts you can feed them to your chickens!
Tips For Sprouting Lentils
It is important to make sure that the lentils don’t dry out. If they dry out they will stop sprouting.
And it is equally important to make sure they don’t stay too wet. If they stay too wet the lentils will begin to mold.
During the winter months, you may want to start a jar of lentil sprouts and the next day start a new jar. If you are able to start a new jar every day or so, you’ll always have fresh lentil sprouts to share with your chickens.
Whenever I sprout lentils in a mason jar they become pretty compacted. So before I feed them to my hens I usually pull them apart to fluff them a bit. This makes it easier to spread them out so all the hens can get some.
Benefits Of Sprouting Lentils
The process of germinating and sprouting lentils actually helps them become more dense in nutrients. This is especially important during times when the chickens cannot forage for much.
Sprouting lentils is a great way to provide extra protein and nutrition to your chickens to help them through the winter months.
Another benefit is cost. Lentils are pretty inexpensive so this is a low cost way to provide treats to your flock.
What Sprouts Do Your Chickens Like The Best?
Let me know in the comments!
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