My chickens are free ranging, but they like to get a fed a bit in the morning. I have a feed mill in town that lets you (and even helps) clean up around the augers and take from the bin where they empty hoppers. Last week there was only barley - is this okay for chickens? It is certainly not all they get, they cruise the whole yard and eat a lot of bugs & stuff, and they get eggshells as well about once a week or so, and the odd bit of kitchen scraps (one person doesn't produce much of that, especially for 60 birds!).
Post by simplynaturalfarm on Jun 19, 2007 8:10:06 GMT -5
I used to feed probably 60% barley in my chickens ration. Barley is a low energy /coarse grain (like oats) and the lower energy value of barley is due to lower starch, higher poorly digestable glucans , and higher fiber. THe fiber is associated with the hull and awn though so if chopped, some animals can sort it out., the B-glucans are poorly digested and lower the energy content - particularily true for poultry. Beta glucans are composed of glucose molecules linked together by chemical bonds that are different from those found in starch. Animals do not serete glucanases to break these bonds, so they cannot digest B glucans. The glucans are viscous, gummy, reduce intestinal flow rate, feed intake, inhibit formation of lipiid micelles and reduce fat absorption. In poultry, the hydroscopic nature of them makes excreta wet ands ticky causing soupy droppings that increase humidity and ammonia - the reason many poultry houses don't feed much barley - a management problem. With young chicks, the glucans in barley may cause pasty vent and death, so it is rarely used in young chick diets. Soaking barley in water activates B cluvanases and reduces the glucan content (I used to sprout the barley I fed). There is the information I have on it - but I had free barley too so fed it. Heather
Thanks Heather! I got some wheat last night, so that will hopefully help to balance things up, and I will soak the remaining barley. Would overnight be sufficient you think? Or does it need to soak longer?
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