mung & adzuki
Let me say right off that I enjoy eating mung bean sprouts frequently and have a special fondness for adzuki bean cakes from the Asian markets/restaurants. Now, I'm thinking of growing them next year and not using them as my own food.
I've often raised small flocks of chickens and fed them out of my garden. Recently, I've been looking at some of the crops that I could have especially for laying hens and I'm a little dismayed at the low protein levels of most garden produce.
Laying hens require a diet much like our own and need about 14% protein in their ration. They can eat the very same food that we eat. What they can't do, and stay healthy and productive, is eat a high carbohydrate diet.
Most garden produce that I could give the hens would rate very high in carbohydrates and very low in protein - 1% to 3%, something like that. I'll still be giving them laying mash free-choice but not much of their daily ration can come from the garden without compromising their egg production. I'd just have lazy, non-laying, fat hens hanging around the backyard.
Adzuki beans seem especially appropriate as a potential poultry food mostly because of their good yield. Mung beans may even be more suitable because of their small size and digestibility. Both, are well over 20% protein.
I don't believe I live where I could grow soy beans. I've known other local gardeners who have tried unsuccessfully. The season is short and altho' daytime temperatures can be high, low humidity means night temperatures drop. Soy beans are not grown commercially anywhere nearby. Cereal grain crops are but I'm really trying to have good yield of a very high-protein feed. The potential of 2 tons of adzuki beans per acre, for example, sounds really good even if I'm only growing them within a thousand square feet.
What do you think of mung and adzuki beans as appropriate crops for the garden and feed for laying hens? I have never grown either and would appreciate your help on this (the hens would too).