Taking nature inside the poultry house
A surprising addition in layer nutrition is a fresh green product, based on grain seeds. This so called “Stable Green” enhances gut health, with other benefits as a result. In addition, it serves as distraction material, preventing cannibalism in the flock. - By Ad Bal
It is an unusual view: chickens inside a poultry house, picking from freshly germinated green grain. They have been fed this product in the shape of mats (carpet), placed in racks in various parts of the house. The chickens are clogging together around the racks, eager to picking the fresh product. Looks like horses, eating hay from a rack.
This so called “Stable Green” product has been developed by Dutch based company Grow Grain.
The initiative was taken by Leo Verbers and Maarten Kweens who had been active in animal nutrition already for some time. Together with their grain supplier Ben Mijten from Belgium, they joined forces and founded the Grow Grain company.
“In dry and hot climates this principle is being practiced already in a somewhat different way in the dairy business”, say Leo and Maarten.
“Based on this method, we developed Stable Green. We aim to improve animal performance, like in poultry, through the properties of our product. There is no scientific evidence yet, that it is beneficial. However, we simply observe on a practical basis what happens once it is used in a poultry house. The flock is doing well, due to various reasons.”
The idea is quite simple. Selected grains are put in carton boxes with a size of 40 x 60 cm each. No further preparation at all. These boxes are put in a climate controlled container. Here, water is added to the grain seeds in ample quantities and under temperature controlled conditions. In order to let photosynthesis happen, also (artificial) light is provided.
For producing the Stable Green mat, various kinds of seeds can be used, such as wheat or barley. That depends on what is available. However, quality must be excellent and if fungi easily develop, it is unsuitable. “For that reason our cooperation with the Mijten company is of great importance. They have the knowledge on this matter”, say Leo and Maarten.
From the moment the seeds start germinating, the seedlings have reached their desired length in only six days of time. At the bottom of the carton box, the roots of the seedlings have grown together, thus creating the mat. As a result, the mat can easily be taken out and handled.
Onwards, the mats are taken to the poultry house. There, they can be put on the floor, or in racks. As said, no scientific research has been carried out yet, so the advantages are based on observation only. But those are promising.
“The great advantage is obviously a better gut health of the birds”, Leo continues. “As a...
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