Sprouts, The Easy Winter Garden

| October 16, 2015
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Wheat Berry Sprouts
While sprouts seem like more of a summer sandwich garnish, they are easily grown indoors, and make an awesome winter crop for those of us that endure cold and unforgiving winters. Summer is nearly year round in Southern California, but at our Wyoming homestead we wanted a low maintenance way to get fresh greens and great nutrition, without losing our hard work to the bitter cold.

When you eat sprouted beans, seeds and grains, you consume a plant at a stage of development when it is exceptionally rich in proteins, amino acids, minerals, fiber, vitamins, especially vitamins(A, B-complex, C, and E) and enzymes that make them more bio available and digestible.

By sprouting at home, you aren’t limited to the often overpriced sprout selections on store shelves. Try some of these:

Adzuki
Alfalfa
Amaranth
Barley
Broccoli
Chick Peas
Clover
Lentils
Most Micro Greens and Even leafy greens (kale, etc.)
Mizuna
Mung Beans
Radish
Rice
Sunflower
Wheat Berries
Wheat Grass

Getting Started:
Sprouts are exceptionally easy to get started. All you need is a jar, cheese cloth, jar lid/rings or a rubber band, and your seeds of choice.

Microgreens Sprouting

Place seeds or beans into the jar and secure a cloth over the top.

Wash your seeds or beans. We use only non-gmo organic seed, and will initially do a wash with a diluted food grade hydrogen peroxide or 1-2% bleach solution.

After a good initial rinse, let soak in lukewarm water until the seed has swollen(imbibed), then drain. Don’t do this for more than a couple of hours. If you do, replace the water, a couple times to avoid creating an environment for molds and fungi.

Now sit back and relax, the hard work is done. At this point, you will water your sprouts by rinsing with water a minimum of twice a day. Morning and evening works fine, perfect for a work schedule. 3 seems to work best if possible.

Leave your sprouts in a cool place with little sunlight. For us, thats one side of the kitchen counter. Only increase the indirect light to get a ‘greener’ sprout.

Eat when they look good! Your poultry, if you have any, will love them also.

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Quail Camera

| October 13, 2015
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Quail_Baby_Coturnix

I set up a Kickstarter project to put together and support a Quail webcam for 2016, called Quail Cam. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1143260378/quail-cam

I will turn a credit card sized computer(BeagleBoard) and an IP camera into a 30fps 640×480 web stream of both quail hatches, and adult quail. I will publish the feed on a new satellite connection, and host the video stream from a dedicated url.

I wanted to share a hobby that I greatly enjoy, by turning it into an entertaining, and educational resource, available to anyone. When baby quail hatch, they are about the size of a quarter, are absolutely adorable, and amazing to watch develop.

Coturnix quail reach maturity in about 6-8 weeks, so I will run multiple hatches throughout the year, so that the entire development cycle can be observed by everyone.

It would be great if children and adults alike could reconnect with nature, and its adorable miracles, through the technology that is partially responsible for the disconnect to begin with. Please checkout the Kickstarter page, and consider supporting if you are able.

Thank you,
Ben

DIY Gamebird Feed Ingredients

| October 12, 2015
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Quail_Feed
On the topic of DIY poultry and quail feeds, many naysayers will say its a waste of time and money. However, they may not have baby quail that require a very high protein content feed for the early stages of life, and probably don’t live somewhere where its hard to get a quality high protein feed. So, if you are not a naysayer, and looking for some help, here is a list of things to help you provide proper nutrition to baby quail, or just bulk your protein content.

The list is for readily available food items, from grocery, hardware, and pet stores, that can be used to bulk protein content of chicken feeds. Or perhaps you’ll use them to mix your own.

50%-56% Dry Meal Worms – Found in the bird feed section of hardware stores, or at pet stores
40% Dry Soybean – Bulk food section at grocery store
20%-22% Flaxseed – Bulk food section at grocery store
20% Meatbird Chicken Feed
18% Finch Bird Seed – Found in the bird feed section of hardware stores, or at pet stores
16% Standard Adult Chicken Feed
13%-16% Wheat Berries – Bulk food section at grocery store
10% Dry Milo
9% Dry Corn

After measuring out ingredients to the right ratios on a food scale, we use a nut and spice grinder or old blender(dedicated to this process) to bulk the protein content of feeds. We also dust calcium, vitamins, and any other seed mixes to increase vitamin, fat, and oil contents of our feeds.

If you use the bulk soybeans, they should get a quick roasting in the oven. Otherwise, they will contain growth inhibitors, which is counterproductive to the effort of bulking your protein. Heat destroys the growth inhibitors in raw soybean. Just stick them on a pan in an oven for a bit, until they are evenly golden.

The naysayers can hate, but our quail frequently reach maturity at an early age, are healthy, and happy. The eggs our breeding quail lay are large, hatching rates high, and the health of newly hatched chicks great. Its worth it to us to DIY high protein feeds, it may not be for others, but we’d rather encourage than discourage you, and hopefully provide some help along the way.

If you have additional suggestions, please leave us a comment, and we’ll add it to the list. Thanks.

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