Can Chicken Eat Spent Grain?

Chickens make lovely pets

Feeding them the right food is very important to ensure they stay healthy

So if you have some spent grain and wondering can chickens eat spent grain? then here’s the answer

Yes, chickens can and will eat spent grains. Chickens are intelligent creatures that aren’t discerning eaters. So, your chickens will happily eat pretty much anything you put before it. But, it’s your job as a pet parent of a chicken or flock of chickens to care about your pet’s well-being.

To put you at ease, spent grain is actually a healthy choice to be as a part of your chicken’s diet 

So, without further delays, let’s get straight to the subject at hand – is spent grain good for chickens?

What Are The Health Benefits Of Feeding Spent Grain To Chickens?

To begin with, you need to understand that spent grain doesn’t contain any form of toxins or allergens.

Moreover, if you acquire grains from non-GMOs and organic farmers, then spent grain will do nothing but good for your chickens.

And, even the process of soaking grains in hot water for beer brewing does not trigger a formulation of toxins.

Instead, the steeping of grains in hot water releases sugars used in making alcohol.

But, the leftover grain is impregnated with proteins and minerals.

Spent grains consist primarily of barley husks ( the aurelone and pericarp layers), embryonic remnants, protein, and minerals.

When dried, spent grain is approximately 41% carbohydrates, 28% protein, 17.5% cellulose, 8.2% fat, and 5.3% minerals. 

Now, the process of soaking grains doesn’t altogether remove all of the carbs from the spent grain.

But, when the sugars are released, many carbs simply disappear from the grains you then have a whole lot of protein, minerals, fibers, and a tiny bit of fat. 

So, let’s take a look at how these elements – protein, fiber, and minerals -are going to benefit your beloved pet.


Protein is an essential nutrient for poultry and you need to understand that with protein, you get amino acids that play a significant role in growth, bone development, egg production, and immunity.

Furthermore, protein even helps with the adaptation of poultry to their environment.

Moreover, other biological functions can be directly attributed to amino acids such as Lysine, Threonine, and Methionine. 

For example, Lysine can improve the carcass quality of chickens by supporting the makeup of type llb fiber which holds smaller amounts of fat and has a low cooking loss (loss of nutrients in cooking water).

The one thing you need to comprehend is that chickens have different protein needs at various stages of their lives.

So, chicks certainly need protein for their growth and bone and skeletal structure.

Adult chickens perhaps need a little less protein though egg-laying chickens also need more protein.


Much like humans, chickens need fiber too perhaps for the same function.

You see, fiber is vital for proper gut functioning and a healthier digestive system.

By introducing fiber into your chicken’s meals, you can quickly improve the development of their organs, enhance their ability to digest nutrients, and increase natural enzyme production.

But, the presence of insoluble fibers rather than soluble fibers is essential for poultry.

Chickens can use soluble fibers as a source of energy.

At the same time, soluble fiber reduces the digestibility of nutrients such as protein, starch, and fat.


According to Meneses and others, the most minerals in Brewer’s spent grain (BSG) are calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium.

You will also find other minerals in smaller measures in BSG, such as iron, copper, potassium, and manganese.

Indeed, you must know calcium is a must for healthy bones, even in chickens.

Magnesium is necessary for cellular metabolism and bone development.

And phosphorus is required to metabolize calcium.

On the other hand, your chicken also needs minerals like iron, copper, and potassium.

You should know that chickens with a diet lacking in iron and potassium lay fewer eggs, and the weight per egg is also considerably lower.

Wrapping Up 

Chickens are low-maintenance pets that are easy to care for, but as a pet parent, you need to ensure that your flock of chickens gets the best diet to live long, healthy, and happy lives.

Hence, if you think about giving your chickens some spent grain, go right ahead, as spent grain is quite suitable for poultry. 

However, you should remember that chickens love variety, so let your beloved pets feast on spent grain for a bit and let them go free-range on other days.

This way, you’ll keep your chicken’s taste buds singing, and your chickens will look the very picture of wellness.

What Is Spent Grain?

Spent grain is the compact waste of malt or grains left after mashing and lautering in the brewhouse.

Technically, spent grain is whatever is leftover of the grain after breweries are done making beer. 

You see, malt beer requires the use of grain.

Grain, in particular, can consist of barley and wheat.

At breweries, malted barley is soaked for long hours in hot water.

By doing so, brewers can release a lot of sugars from the grains that are a must for the later production of alcohol. 

Once the sugars are released into the liquid, the grain is unnecessary and often discarded.

But, some time ago, it was discovered that the process of soaking barley or wheat in hot water doesn’t make the grain useless.

Quite the contrary, soaked grain has many health benefits to offer to humans and chickens alike.





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