- Increased nutritional value – When you sprout a seed digestible energy, bioavailable vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and phytochemicals, are greatly increased as these are necessary for a germinating plant to grow. (Wikipedia) Your animals will benefit from all these important aspects of plants.
- The sprout is much more easily digested by your animals than the seed itself – As a living food, sprouts contain high numbers of enzymes for growth, which aid in digestion. (eHow)
- You can sprout year round in a controlled environment – Since we sprout on our kitchen counter top currently, it is very easy to just grow a new “crop” every time we want one.
- It’s cheap – Seeds for sprouting can be purchased in bulk and are very economical. We currently get our wheat grass from the store Sprout’s. It cost us around $2.31 for 1-1/2 lbs. If you purchased in even more bulk from an online source you could probably lower that cost even more.
For sprouting, we took a 9 X 13 tin pan and punched a bunch of holes in the bottom with a 16 penny nail. We use a large basting pan for the bottom pan/drip pan, and a wire rack out of an old refrigerator that I gutted for another project.
- Pour approximately a 1/4″ of seed in the bottom of the pan and level it off.
- Place the smaller pan inside the larger pan and cover the seeds with water and allow them to soak for approximately 12 hrs. Smaller seeds with a very thin shell will need less time than seeds with a thicker, denser shell.
- Place the smaller pan on the wire rack over the larger pan and allow to drain.
- Rinse the seeds twice daily over the wire rack allowing them to drain.
- Within a short time the seeds will start to sprout. When they are about 1/2″ tall they are ready to feed.
- mung beans
- mustard seeds
- garbanzo beans
- sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- and many others
There are other methods of sprouting using mason jars or commercially available tray or jar systems. I chose this system for us as it allows us to sprout larger amounts to feed our flock of chickens and herd of goats. If you have a small flock or only a few animals to feed the mason jar method might better serve you. To make a mason jar system simply use a mason jar, the band, and some type of straining medium (such as screen, rubber shelf liner, a lid with holes punched in it, etc). Place your seeds in the bottom of the mason jar, fill with water, soak as above, turn over in colander or sink to strain/drain, and then rinse and strain daily as above. You can rinse and drain 2-4 times daily.
I hope you decide to give sprouting a try. I think you’ll find it as beneficial and fun as our family has. God bless!