Can I grow chicken of the woods at home? : Can I grow chicken of the woods at home?

Can I Grow Chicken of the Woods at Home?

Key Takeaways

  • Chicken of the Woods mushrooms can be grown at home both outdoors and indoors.
  • Outdoor cultivation requires the use of oak logs as a substrate, maintaining optimal temperature and humidity levels, and regular care.
  • Indoor cultivation requires selecting the right growth substrate, maintaining specific temperature and humidity levels, providing adequate lighting and air circulation, and proper care of the mushroom culture.

Chicken of the Woods mushrooms, scientifically known as Laetiporus, are a popular choice among mushroom enthusiasts for their unique texture and flavor. If you have ever wondered whether you can grow these delicious fungi at home, the answer is yes! While it may require some effort and specific conditions, cultivating chicken of the woods mushrooms in your own garden or indoors is indeed possible.

Outdoor Cultivation

To grow chicken of the woods mushrooms outdoors, you will need to create a suitable environment by providing the right substrate, maintaining optimal temperature and humidity levels, and regularly tending to the logs. The preferred substrate for outdoor cultivation is freshly cut oak logs, approximately 3-4 feet in length and 4-6 inches in diameter.

First, you will need to obtain healthy chicken of the woods mushroom spawn. This can be done by purchasing spawn plugs or dowels from reputable suppliers. Use a drill to create holes in the logs and insert the spawn plugs. Ensure the spawn is evenly distributed throughout the logs to promote uniform growth.

Next, find a shaded area in your garden where you can place the logs. Chicken of the woods mushrooms prefer indirect sunlight, so a spot under a tree or a covered patio can work well. Regularly water the logs to maintain moisture levels, as mushrooms require a humid environment to thrive.

Over time, you will start to see mycelium growth on the logs. This white, web-like substance indicates that the mushroom is establishing itself. Be patient, as it can take several months for the mycelium to fully colonize the logs. Once the mycelium has spread throughout the logs, you can expect to see the formation of fruiting bodies.

When the mushrooms are firm and brightly colored, they are ready to be harvested. Carefully cut them off the logs, leaving a small portion behind to encourage regrowth. It’s important to note that chicken of the woods mushrooms should always be cooked before consumption to ensure they are safe to eat.

Indoor Cultivation

If you prefer to cultivate chicken of the woods mushrooms indoors, the process is slightly different but equally rewarding. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Select the right growth substrate: Chicken of the woods mushrooms can be grown on various substrates, including hardwood such as oak or beech, corn cobs, or wheat straw.
  2. Obtain high-quality mushroom spawn: Purchase mushroom spawn from reputable suppliers, either online or locally. Make sure the spawn is specific to chicken of the woods mushrooms.
  3. Prepare the growing environment: Maintain a temperature range of 65-75°F (18-24°C) and a relative humidity of 85-95%. You can use a humidifier or mist the area regularly to achieve the desired humidity level.
  4. Provide adequate lighting: Chicken of the woods mushrooms benefit from approximately 12 hours of light per day. Artificial light sources like fluorescent or LED lights can be used to supplement natural light.
  5. Ensure proper air circulation: Good ventilation is essential to prevent mold growth. Use fans or open windows to maintain fresh airflow in the growing area.
  6. Inoculate the substrate: Mix the mushroom spawn thoroughly with the chosen substrate and pack them into clean and sterilized containers. Seal the containers to create a controlled environment for colonization.
  7. Incubate the containers: Place the containers in a warm and dark location for several weeks, allowing the mycelium to fully colonize the substrate. Periodically check for signs of growth.
  8. Expose to fresh air and light: After colonization, introduce the containers to fresh air and proper lighting conditions to induce fruiting. This will trigger the mushrooms to grow and develop.
  9. Care for the mushroom culture: Maintain proper watering, temperature regulation, and protection from pests and diseases. Regularly monitor the growing conditions to ensure optimal growth.
  10. Harvest and store: When the mushrooms are fully grown, carefully harvest them by cutting them off at the base. Store them properly to maintain their flavor and quality.

It’s important to note that cultivating chicken of the woods mushrooms indoors requires careful attention to environmental factors and sterilization procedures to prevent contamination. However, with proper care, you can enjoy a successful indoor harvest.


Whether you choose to cultivate chicken of the woods mushrooms in your home garden or indoors, it is indeed possible to grow these delectable fungi. Outdoor cultivation on oak logs offers a more natural setting, while indoor cultivation provides greater control over environmental conditions. Whichever method you choose, be prepared to invest time and effort into creating the ideal environment for the mushrooms to thrive.

Remember, always cook chicken of the woods mushrooms before consuming them to ensure they are safe to eat. Enjoy the process of growing your own mushrooms and savor the unique flavors they bring to your culinary endeavors!

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Q: Can I grow chicken of the woods at home?

While chicken of the woods is primarily a wild mushroom, it is possible to cultivate it at home. However, it can be challenging due to the specific growing conditions and the need to replicate its natural habitat.

Q: What are the unique characteristics of chicken of the woods?

Chicken of the woods is a distinctive mushroom known for its vibrant orange or yellow coloration and unique texture that resembles cooked chicken. It has a mild, nutty flavor and is highly prized for its culinary uses, often used as a meat substitute in vegetarian dishes.

Q: What are the preferred growing conditions for chicken of the woods?

Chicken of the woods thrives in a specific environment. It prefers to grow on hardwood trees, particularly oak and chestnut. Adequate moisture, partial sunlight, and a temperature range of 70-85°F (21-29°C) are essential for successful growth.

Q: Why is it difficult to grow chicken of the woods at home?

Cultivating chicken of the woods can be challenging because it is primarily a wild mushroom and not commonly cultivated. Replicating its natural habitat and finding suitable host trees can be difficult. Additionally, it requires specific conditions that may be hard to achieve consistently.

Q: Are there alternative methods for growing chicken of the woods?

Enthusiasts have experimented with alternative methods to grow chicken of the woods at home. These include inoculating logs or wood chips with chicken of the woods spores. However, patience and experimentation are often needed to achieve successful cultivation.