Can Chickens Eat Alfalfa Sprouts?

Can Chickens Eat Alfalfa Sprouts?



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I’ve been raising chickens on my farm for over 10 years now.

Just the other mornin’ I was chowin’ down on a tasty salad topped with crunchy alfalfa sprouts.

When my prize hen Cluckers jumped up and started peckin’ at them sprouts right outta my bowl!

I was so surprised I fell backwards clean outta my chair while my wife just laughed her head off.

Got me wonderin’ – can chickens eat these sprouts or are they bad for them?

Are Alfalfa Sprouts Safe for Chickens?

Can Chickens Eat Alfalfa Sprouts?

I did some research and found out alfalfa sprouts are totally fine and even healthy for chickens to eat.

See, alfalfa is a legume plant which means the sprouts have lots of protein – important for my girls’ egg layin’ and feather growth.

The sprouts are also chock full of vitamins A, E, K, C and B complex.

Vitamin A keeps their eyes and immune system in tip-top shape.

Vitamin E protects their cells from damage and boosts overall immunity.

Vitamin K helps with blood clotting so they don’t bleed too much if they get injured.

Vitamin C helps them absorb iron properly and supports connective tissue in bones and cartilage.

B complex vitamins give my flock energy and keep their metabolism running smoothly.

Alfalfa sprouts have beta carotene too – this antioxidant strengthens the immune system to fight off sickness.

So turns out alfalfa sprouts are chock full of nutrition for chickens!

Nutritional Benefits of Alfalfa Sprouts for Chickens

Can Chickens Eat Alfalfa Sprouts?

Let me break down the biggest benefits of feeding alfalfa sprouts to your flock:

First up, they’re high in protein – chickens need protein for egg production and growing healthy feathers.

The vitamins A, E and K boost your chickens’ immunity so they resist diseases and stay in good health.

Vitamin C helps them properly absorb iron from their feed and supports connective tissue in bones and cartilage.

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The B complex vitamins provide energy for foraging and play time. B vitamins also aid metabolism and feather growth.

Beta carotene is an antioxidant that destroys free radicals. This keeps your chickens’ cells healthy and lowers risk of illness.

Some other trace minerals in alfalfa sprouts benefit chickens too.

Zinc promotes a healthy immune system and is needed for enzyme function.

Manganese helps form bone and eggshells. It also aids enzyme activity.

Copper keeps nerves, immune system and bones healthy. It also helps form red blood cells.

Overall, the nutritional profile of alfalfa sprouts makes them an excellent supplement for chickens!

How to Feed Chickens Alfalfa Sprouts

Can Chickens Eat Alfalfa Sprouts?

Adding alfalfa sprouts to your chickens’ diet is super easy.

You can feed them fresh or dried sprouts – chickens will gobble them up either way.

Try mixing sprouts right into your flock’s regular feed for an extra nutrition boost.

Or serve them free choice in a separate dish so your chickens can snack on them through the day.

Just don’t store sprouts too long before feeding – only offer what chickens will eat in 1-2 days.

Make sure to chop sprouts into tiny pieces first – this prevents choking hazards.

Feed sparingly as a treat 1-2 times per week – sprouts are healthy but high in goitrogens.

Monitor for any diarrhea or tummy troubles when introducing new treats.

Remove sprouts if chickens have adverse reactions.

When feeding dried sprouts, reconstitute in water first to plump them up.

Rinse fresh sprouts well to remove any bacteria or mold.

That’s all the tips for feeding alfalfa sprouts to your flock!

Let me know if your chickens go as nuts for them as my gals do.

Y’all take care now and happy sproutin’!

Different Ways to Serve Alfalfa Sprouts

There’s lots of ways to serve up alfalfa sprouts for your chickens’ enjoyment.

One easy method is mixing dried sprouts right into their feed – this boosts nutrition in their regular diet.

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You can also pour fresh sprouts on top of feed to encourage chickens to peck through and find the treats.

Sprinkle dried or fresh sprouts in scratch areas so chickens can forage and snack throughout the day.

Make sprout trail mixes with cracked corn, oats, sunflower seeds and sprouts for fun free choice nutrition.

Offer freshly sprouted trays so chickens can pick sprouts directly off the roots.

Stir chopped sprouts into nutritious hot mashes during cold months for a warm treat.

Mix dried sprouts into scratch grains served separately from regular feed.

Create sprout-boosted mealworm and bug treats by coating insects with ground sprouts before feeding.

Stuff sprouts into hanging cabbage heads, leafy greens or fruit rinds for foraging fun.

Top treats like watermelon, cornbread and yogurt with fresh sprouts for extra nutrition.

Growing Your Own Sprouts

It’s easy and cost effective to grow sprouts at home for your chickens.

Use a wide mouth mason jar with sprouting lid or cheesecloth secured by a rubber band.

Add 2-3 tablespoons alfalfa seeds and fill jar with cool, clean water for 6-8 hours.

Drain the water and rinse seeds 2-3 times daily, returning jar to a dark place each time.

In 4-6 days the sprouts will be 1-2 inches long and ready to serve.

Rinse and drain sprouts well before feeding to remove bacteria.

Sanitize jars after each sprouting batch to prevent mold growth.

Experiment with sprouting other seeds like clover, radish, mung bean, wheat and lentils too.

Grow sprouts year-round for fresh produce through winter.

Rotate sprout varieties to provide different nutrients.

Time seed soaking and rinsing to your schedule – flexible once routine is established.

Sprout small batches continuously for steady harvest.

Potential Concerns When Feeding Sprouts

While nutritious, some potential downsides of sprouts exist.

Raw sprouts may harbor Salmonella or E. coli if not properly rinsed.

Thoroughly wash sprouts and sanitize sprouting jars for safety.

Sprouts contain enzyme inhibitors that can limit nutrition absorption.

Feed cooked mashed sprouts occasionally to remove inhibitors.

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They’re high in goitrogens which can impact thyroid function if fed excessively.

Limit sprouts to a couple times per week.

Don’t store fresh sprouts long since they spoil quickly.

Discard any mushy or smelly sprouts immediately.

Monitor for loose droppings or tummy upset when introducing new treats.

Reduce or eliminate sprouts if issues arise.

Incorporating Sprouts into a Balanced Diet

Sprouts make a great supplemental treat but not complete feed.

Offer sprouts alongside a balanced base diet.

Feed traditional laying rations, organic feeds or whole grains as the dietary foundation.

Free range chickens get additional nutrients from foraging.

Supplement base diets with a variety of treats like sprouts, fruit, bugs and greens.

Provide insoluble grit to help grind and digest plant-based foods.

Ensure adequate calcium from eggshells or oyster shell when feeding any additional treats.

Change up sprout feeding schedules and amounts frequently for versatility.

Assess chickens’ body condition and egg production to gauge if diet is balanced.

Sprouts are a healthy component of a varied diet when fed judiciously.

Saving Excess Sprouts

Don’t waste extra sprouts – find uses for any surplus.

Share with family, friends and neighbors.

Add to your own salads, sandwiches and veggie dishes.

Dehydrate excess sprouts for long term storage.

Chop and freeze any sprouts chickens don’t eat promptly.

Add freezer bags of sprouts to recipes as needed.

Dry leftover fresh sprouts for crunch sunflower seed substitutes.

Feed surplus sprouts to other farm animals like goats, pigs, cattle or sheep.

Compost old sprouts instead of tossing to reduce food waste.

Donate unneeded sprouts to food banks, soup kitchens or shelters.

Leftover sprouts don’t need to be wasted!

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