Why fer­men­ta­tion isn’t the same as sprout­ing grains

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Your Poultry -

SOME­TIMES THERE can be con­fu­sion with the idea of fer­ment­ing grains and sprout­ing them, as both in­volve the ad­di­tion of water to grain. In the case of sprouted grains, water is added and rinsed off daily un­til the ger­mi­nal root ap­pears and there is sig­nif­i­cant growth of the green sprout. The grain, sprouts and all, is fed to the chicken, and some flock own­ers claim this is a ben­e­fi­cial way to feed grain.

There are pluses and mi­nuses. The process of ger­mi­na­tion utilises the starch stored in the grain dur­ing the first week be­fore pho­to­syn­the­sis on the green sprouts starts and the root is able to draw up min­er­als from the ground/water. There­fore it ap­pears that 25-30% of the dry mat­ter (DM) of the grain is used up, mak­ing the feed­ing of dry grain/seeds more cost ef­fi­cient.

There are ben­e­fits to us­ing sprouted grains, es­pe­cially in win­ter when fresh green feed may be short. It ap­pears there may be ben­e­fi­cial nat­u­ral en­zymes which are ac­ti­vated and can lower the vis­cos­ity in the gut, mak­ing it eas­ier for the nutri­ent con­tent to be more eas­ily metabolised by the bird. Vi­ta­mins A and E and Omega 3 fatty acids which are present in green leafy pas­ture may also be pro­vided by sprouted grains such as wheat.

One thing com­mon to grains and seeds be­fore ei­ther the sprout­ing or fer­ment­ing process starts is that they may con­tain some anti-nu­tri­ents, which ac­tu­ally pro­tect the seed so that it might pass through the di­ges­tive tract un­al­tered, es­pe­cially if the grind­ing ac­tion in the giz­zard does not af­fect it to break down the hard outer husk. These anti-nu­tri­ents can in­clude: • phytic acid • en­zyme in­hibitors • tan­nins • hard-to-di­gest pro­teins

Prob­lems with eat­ing these antin­u­tri­ents in­clude block­ing cal­cium, mag­ne­sium, cop­per, iron and zinc in the in­testi­nal tract which can re­sult in de­fi­cien­cies in these es­sen­tial min­er­als.

By sprout­ing or fer­ment­ing these grains it can elim­i­nate the anti-nu­tri­ents and in­crease the avail­abil­ity of B vi­ta­mins, fo­late, vi­ta­min C and es­sen­tial amino acids like ly­sine and the en­zymes which make the grain eas­ier to di­gest. Beta carotene present in the green sprouts is also an aid to yolk colour­ing.

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