This week we added Spent Barley Grains for our chickens.

On Sunday Anne and I visited with the brewmaster at Lake Chelan Brewery.  “Strange question,” we said, “but what do you do with your grain after you brew your beer?”  He took us out to the alley where eleven 100-pound bags of spent barley mash were waiting for disposal.

“You can have it all,” he said.  “I’ll have another batch every week. Give me your phone number and I’ll call you.”

Brewers start their process by boiling the malted grains to get the sugars and starches out of the grain so they can ferment it into beer.  After this “mashing” process the grain is waste for them – good food for chickens.  The chickens ate so much of it the first day I was a bit concerned.

I researched and found out its fantastic food for them – 25% protein compared to the 16-17% from the feed I’ve been buying.  I think I may be as excited as the chickens about this new food find.

Sometimes I think about the well-being of our planet while I’m making the food pickup run.  Sustainability.  Ecology. Turning trash into treasure. Call it what you will – the feeling is gratitude, stepping from the using up of nature to the generative  creative cycle of nature – through the belly of a happy hen.

Alice’s Restaurant – that’s where our chicken’s eat.  Our menu now includes Spent Barley Grain. We’re getting closer and closer to Arlo Guthrie’s famous line, “You can get anything you want – at Alice’s Restaurant.”  Lucky Chickens.