Author Topic: Barley for Poultry Feed?  (Read 1184 times)

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Offline Little Feather

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Barley for Poultry Feed?
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2013, 02:52:36 AM »
Lots of times barley is recommended because some old-timer said to use barley, so his son said to use barley, so his neighbor said Old Timerís son said barley is the thing to use, and he oughta know, so youíd better use barley, etc.  Old timerís land wouldnít grow wheat, which is why he used barley.


As a nutritionist I used to see a similar thing when alpacas were big around here.  The early breeders got their breeding stock from a few entrepreneurs who lived where the best hay grown was orchardgrass hay.  So they recommended orchardgrass hay.  It made sense for them because it was good quality and reasonably priced.  But then it became the standard, and people who were new to livestock took the advice of the breeders who took the advice they had been given, and next thing you know people thought alpacas could only eat orchardgrass.  Orchardgrass doesnít grow very well around here, but a lot of other fine quality grasses do.  People were passing up better quality hay because they didnít know that the reasons for using orchardgrass were specific to a situation.


Barley is recommended for feeding because it can be grown easily on marginal land with little trouble and so it is cheaper than wheat.  Thereís lots wrong with barley, from the awns that poke the animals as Cathryn Therese said, to the sticky beta-glucans, as Diane said.  But if you have land that wonít grow wheat well, it may grow barley OK.  That doesnít mean barley is better. (Except when making beer, and thatís a little different situation.)


If you are growing it yourself, using it as a supplement or sprouting it, itís hard to beat wheat.  If youíre buying a truckload (30 tons) ten bucks a ton difference between barley and wheat might mean something if youíve got a feedlot and a grinder.  But for growing birds, wheat is digested better, the hulls come off easier, and itís generally a better buy of you consider calories per dollar.

Of course if you ask the birds, they prefer corn.  They donít get that it is a pain to store compared to the small grains.  Donít even bother with rye or buckwheat.


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