Its no secret, I love spoiling my ladies in the coop! Afterall, they supply us with the freshest, best tasting eggs I have ever had, daily! I'm always looking into healthy treats to give them that don't cost a lot but yield big nutritional results. In the Summer, my ladies feast on garden extras such as lettuce and tomatoes but in the Winter, fresh treats are hard to come by on the prairies of Canada! I have seen on Pinterest some pins about sprouting lentils/wheat etc so I thought I'd try it out for myself to see what all the fuss was about. And, after round 1 I can honestly say I will be sprouting lentils from now until Summer! The process was so easy! From beginning to end, the sprouts took 4 days and I made enough to last at least a week!
Now, since we grow wheat, durum and lentils..all I had to do was shop from our own farm for all the supplies needed to prepare the sprouts for my chickens. I have a 5 gallon pail of lentils from our 2013 harvest in the basement so thats what I went with for this test round. If you do not have access to fresh lentils like I do, they are easily found in most bulk stores or grocery aisles.
So, here is what you do to sprout your own lentils to treat your ladies with wholesome, homegrown, nutritional treats! Take a few tablespoons of lentils and place them into a glass pint jar. I used 4 canning jars for more treats in less time and am very happy I did! Fill the glass jar full of water and soak the lentils for 12-24 hours. I did this at night and they were ready to go by the next day. I soaked them all in 1 jar then drained the water and divided the lentils into four jars and set them in a dark corner of my kitchen counter
Twice a day, rinse the lentils under water to keep the sprouts moist as they grow. I have seen some people use a sprouting lid to help with this process and I can tell you with 100% certainty that I will be using a sprouting lid for future ease of use as dumping out each jar, rinsing then putting the sprouts back into the jar was more time consuming then need be
Within a day, I noticed my lentils were already starting to sprout! trust me, in the dead of winter when everything is covered under a blanket of snow outside..this is a *very* welcome sight!! Keep rinsing your lentils twice daily for 2-4 days
Once you notice some significant sprouting, move your jar(s) to a windowsill or bright spot in your home to let them green up a bit (above). This process will happen anywhere between days 4-6. Once this happens, they are ready to be given to your ladies!!
The real test came when I took my freshly sprouted lentils out to the ladies. As with people, chickens vary in their tastes and what works for one persons' flock will not necessarily work for their neighbors!! I was so curious to see their reaction! I called my ladies out from their warm, cozy coop and spread the lentils amongst the snow and watched with glee as they happily clucked and pecked at every last morsel....SUCCESS!!
I will definitely be treating my ladies with these sprouts throughout the Winter to get them thru. Fresh, homegrown treats are always a good choice and this one definitely hit it out of the park with my flock!