Do It Yourself!
Growing Sprouts for Your Horse
Sprouts are alive with active nutrients and enzymes. The concentration of nutrients and phytochemicals makes them an important fresh food for humans and animals. Highly digestible, sprouts are easily converted to useful nutrition and energy at minimum energy and enzyme expenditure. And they can be grown in your own home - or barn! All you need is a clean, heated-in-winter area with a sink and running water, a countertop or sturdy table, and the items listed below.
Each horse is different, so feed amounts and grains will vary. Start with a small amount and increase as needed. Decide if you will be feeding the sprouts in one feeding a day or two. If you plan to feed sprouts once daily, fewer jars will be needed.
Whole oats and/or barley
Hard red winter wheat
Shelled (whole) corn
6 wide-mouth one-gallon jars and 6 wide-mouth one-quart jars, preferably glass (wash and rinse very thoroughly)
At least 18 large, strong, rubber bands, 2 for each gallon jar (it's no fun when the lids come off unexpectedly!)
Cheesecloth-type non-toxic netting, washable, cut into squares or rounds to fit over the tops of jars (different sizes may be needed)
Rack and trays or dish drainers and trays for draining and standing up the jars
A countertop or sturdy table near the sink and out of direct sunlight
Three large and three small jars are needed if the sprouts will be fed once daily; if twice, 6 large and six* small jars are needed. The large jars are for the oats/barley/wheat and will hold, at maximum, about one pound of the dry grains, which take up more space when sprouting. The small jars are for the corn because the amount used is generally less than the oat blend in a typical grain ratio. It generally takes three days for the oats to sprout and two to three for the corn. The 'tails' on the grains should be about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long when fed. The warmer the room temperature, the faster they sprout, and the more often they should be rinsed. The sprouts 'sweat' and must be rinsed twice a day or more. New sprouts will be prepared every day for future meals.
* Both servings of corn may fit comfortably in a one-quart jar - just use half of it per serving.
Days one, two, and probably three:
Put one day's worth of grain into jar(s). Stretch cloth over top and secure with 2 rubber bands. Fill with enough water to generously cover the grains. Some will float and some will sink. Soak 6 to 8 hours.
Drain off soak water, rinse grains twice. Stand jar upside down on rack to drain. Watch 'em grow.
AM - Day one sprouts should be ready by now; rinse and feed.
Clean the jars and mesh cloths, rinse well and refill jars with new grains to soak and start the cycle over.
Note: Always rinse the grains thoroughly twice daily.
To minimize rinsing, clean the grains if there are dust and fines by using a colander or sieve (with mesh small enough to contain the oats but large enough to let dust through). The dust and fines can be composted; rinse and soak water can be collected in a bucket and used to water plants, flowers, grass, or trees.
A sprouting book may provide you with some other helpful hints for making sprouting easier in your situation. If the setup is well organized, the process goes smoothly and more quickly with less effort. Bring sunshine into your horse's diet - no soil necessary. It's springtime every day of the year!