Expert Guide: How To Grow Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms

Expert Guide: How To Grow Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms

Are you interested in cultivating your own delicious and nutritious mushrooms at home? Look no further than the Chicken Of The Woods mushroom! With our comprehensive guide, you’ll learn all the tips and tricks for successfully growing these delectable mushrooms from the comfort of your own home.

Whether you’re an experienced gardener or a beginner, our step-by-step process will guide you through selecting the right growth substrate, obtaining high-quality mushroom spawn, and creating the ideal growing environment. Plus, we’ll provide troubleshooting techniques to overcome any challenges that may arise in the cultivation process.

Get ready to impress your friends and family with your homemade culinary creations featuring fresh, flavorful Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms!

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

  • Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms are a delicious and nutritious addition to any diet.
  • Successful cultivation requires the appropriate growth substrate, high-quality mushroom spawn, and the ideal growing environment.
  • Proper care and maintenance are crucial for ensuring a healthy mushroom culture.
  • Harvesting and storing techniques can help maintain the flavor and quality of your freshly grown mushrooms.
  • Alternative cultivation methods, such as log or outdoor patch cultivation, offer creative options for mushroom cultivation.

Understanding Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms

Before embarking on your Chicken Of The Woods mushroom cultivation journey, it’s important to understand the unique characteristics of this species. Also known as Laetiporus sulphureus, Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms are a vibrant orange to yellow color and grow in large clusters on living or dead trees.

One of the most exciting features of these mushrooms is their taste, which has been compared to that of chicken. When cooked, they have a meaty texture and absorb flavors well, making them a versatile ingredient in many dishes.

Aside from their culinary value, Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms also offer several health benefits. They are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium and copper.

Where to Find Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms

While Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms can be found growing in the wild, it’s important to exercise caution and ensure you are properly identifying them. They are typically found from late spring to early fall in temperate forests, particularly on oak, beech, and maple trees.

If you’re not confident in your ability to safely identify wild mushrooms, it’s best to purchase mushroom spawn and cultivate them at home.

The Science Behind Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms

Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms belong to the Polyporaceae family, which includes other popular edible mushrooms like shiitake and oyster mushrooms. They are saprotrophic, meaning they obtain nutrients by breaking down dead organic matter in their environment.

These mushrooms also have a unique ability to break down toxins in the soil, making them effective in environmental cleanup efforts.

“Chicken Of The Woods is a very interesting fungus because it’s able to break down and decompose toxins. It has the potential to sequester things like heavy metals, which is important for environmental cleanup.”

The Bottom Line

Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms are a delicious and nutritious addition to any diet. By understanding their unique characteristics and growth requirements, you can successfully cultivate them at home and enjoy a fresh supply of these tasty mushrooms all year round.

Selecting the Right Growth Substrate

The growth substrate is the material in which your Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms will grow. The ideal substrate for this type of mushroom is hardwood, such as oak or beech. However, a variety of other substrates can be used, such as corn cobs or wheat straw. Ultimately, the substrate you select will depend on what you have available and what you think will work best for your particular situation.

When selecting a substrate, it’s essential to consider the nutrient content, pH level, and water retention capacity. Hardwoods are generally preferred due to their high nutrient content, but they also require a longer preparation time. Corn cobs and wheat straw, while less nutrient-dense, can be prepared more quickly and are more widely available.

Preparing the substrate correctly is crucial to ensure a high yield of healthy mushrooms. Sterilization techniques like boiling or pressure cooking can help eliminate contaminants that could compete with your mushroom culture for nutrients. When preparing your substrate, make sure to use sterile equipment and work in a clean environment to prevent contamination.


Nutrient Content

Preparation Time

Ideal pH

Water Retention Capacity

Hardwood (oak, beech)




Low to medium

Corn cobs

Low to medium




Wheat straw





Overall, selecting the right substrate is essential for successful Chicken Of The Woods mushroom cultivation. Take the time to consider your options and weigh the benefits of each before deciding on one for your home growing operation.

Obtaining Chicken Of The Woods Mushroom Spawn

When it comes to growing Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms at home, obtaining high-quality mushroom spawn is crucial. Mushroom spawn serves as the starting point for the cultivation process and ensures that your mushrooms produce a good yield. There are several sources of mushroom spawn available, including:

  • Online suppliers: Numerous online suppliers offer a variety of Mushroom Spawn for Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms. Do some research to find a reputable supplier who offers high-quality spawn.
  • Local suppliers: Check with your local garden center, nursery or agricultural extension service to see if they have mushroom spawn available. This can be a good option if you prefer to buy locally.
  • DIY spawn: If you’re more experienced, you can create your own spawn by using a sterilized agar medium and a mushroom culture.

When purchasing Chicken Of The Woods mushroom spawn, it’s important to choose a reliable supplier who provides pure, viable spawn. Avoid purchasing spawn that is discolored or has a strange odor, as this may indicate contamination or poor quality. Store your mushroom spawn properly, preferably in a refrigerator, until you’re ready to use it.

Preparing the Growing Environment

In order to grow healthy and productive Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms, it’s important to provide them with the right growing environment. Here are some key factors to consider:


Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms thrive in a temperature range of 65-75°F (18-24°C). Consistent and stable temperatures are key to successful cultivation, so it’s important to regulate the temperature in your growing space. This can be achieved using a thermometer and a heating or cooling system if necessary.


Mushrooms need a humid environment to grow, with a relative humidity of around 85-95%. To maintain high humidity levels, you can mist the area with a spray bottle or use a humidifier. Be sure to monitor humidity levels regularly and adjust as necessary.


While Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms do not require direct sunlight, they do need some light to grow. Artificial light sources, such as fluorescent or LED lights, can be used to provide the necessary illumination. Aim for a light period of approximately 12 hours per day.


Adequate air circulation is important to prevent the growth of mold and other contaminants. Use a fan or other ventilation system to provide fresh air and promote healthy mushroom growth.

By ensuring the right growing conditions, you can set your Chicken Of The Woods mushroom culture up for success and achieve a bountiful harvest.

Inoculating Your Substrate with Spawn

Now that you have selected the appropriate growth substrate for your Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms, it’s time to inoculate it with high-quality spawn. Proper inoculation is crucial for the successful cultivation of your mushrooms, as it ensures that the mycelium fully colonizes the substrate and produces healthy fruiting bodies.

Follow these step-by-step instructions for best results:

  1. Prepare your work area by cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces, tools, and equipment. This will help prevent contamination and ensure a sterile environment for your inoculation.
  2. If using grain spawn, break it up into smaller pieces using a clean and sterilized tool, such as a scalpel or spoon. If using sawdust spawn, fluff it up to ensure it is evenly distributed.
  3. Add the spawn to your prepared substrate, using a ratio of 10-20% spawn to substrate. Mix the spawn and substrate thoroughly until it is evenly distributed.
  4. Pack the inoculated substrate into clean and sterilized containers, such as jars or bags, and seal them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Incubate the sealed containers in a warm and dark location, ideally between 70-75°F, for several weeks. This allows the mycelium to fully colonize the substrate.
  6. After the mycelium has fully colonized the substrate, it is time to induce fruiting. This can be done by exposing the substrate to fresh air and proper lighting conditions. You can transfer the colonized substrate to a fruiting chamber or create one yourself.

Proper sterilization techniques are crucial during the inoculation process to avoid contamination. If you are unsure about the sterilization process, consider purchasing pre-sterilized spawn or seek guidance from experienced mushroom growers.

Pro Tip: If you want to scale up your mushroom production, you can use your colonized substrate to inoculate more substrate. This process is called “grain-to-grain” or “expansion” and can be done multiple times to increase your yield.

Now that you have successfully inoculated your substrate with Chicken Of The Woods mushroom spawn, it’s time to move on to the next step: caring for your mushroom culture.

Caring for Your Mushroom Culture

Now that your mushroom culture is established, it’s important to provide proper care and maintenance to ensure its success. Here are some tips for caring for your Chicken Of The Woods mushroom culture:


Mushrooms require a consistent level of moisture to grow properly. Keep your substrate moist, but not overly wet. If the substrate is too dry, mist it lightly with water to increase humidity. You can also place a tray of water nearby to create a humid environment. Avoid spraying water directly on the mushrooms.

Temperature Regulation

Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms grow best in a temperature range of 60-80°F (15-27°C). Monitor the temperature in your growing space regularly and make adjustments as necessary. Avoid exposing your mushrooms to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.

Protecting from Pests and Diseases

Mushrooms can be vulnerable to pests and diseases, so it’s important to take precautions to protect your culture. Keep your growing space clean and sterilize all equipment and materials before use. Keep insects and other pests away from your mushrooms and monitor for signs of contamination or mold growth.

Patience and Monitoring Growth Progress

Growing mushrooms can be a slow process, so it’s important to be patient and monitor the progress of your culture regularly. Check on your mushrooms daily and track their growth progress. You should notice an increase in size over time, indicating that your mushrooms are growing properly. If growth appears to be slow or stalled, adjust your growing environment or consult a mushroom cultivation expert for advice.

Harvesting and Storing Your Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms

Harvesting your Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms at the right time is crucial for preserving their flavor and texture. Here are some tips on how to know when your mushrooms are ready to be harvested:

  1. Look for the distinct orange and yellow coloration of the mushrooms. This indicates that they are mature enough for harvest.
  2. Check if the edges of the caps are turning upwards. This is another sign that the mushrooms are ready to be harvested.
  3. Gently press the underside of the mushroom cap with your finger. If it feels firm, it’s ready to be harvested. If it’s soft or spongy, it needs more time to grow.

When harvesting, use a sharp knife to cut the mushrooms at the base of the stem. Be careful not to damage the surrounding mycelium, which will produce more mushrooms in the future.

Once harvested, it’s important to store your Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms properly to maintain their quality. Follow these storage tips:

  1. Store the mushrooms in a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel. This will help absorb any excess moisture and prevent the mushrooms from getting slimy.
  2. Place the bag or paper towel in the refrigerator. Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms can last up to a week when stored this way.
  3. If you want to freeze your mushrooms, blanch them in boiling water for two minutes and then transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.

Troubleshooting Chicken Of The Woods Mushroom Cultivation

While growing Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms is a relatively straightforward process, challenges may arise along the way. Here are some common issues that you may encounter during cultivation and how to troubleshoot them:


Contamination of your mushroom culture can occur if your substrate or environment is not properly sterilized. Signs of contamination may include unusual colors or odors, or the growth of mold or bacteria. To prevent contamination, ensure that all equipment and surfaces are thoroughly cleaned and sterilized before and during cultivation. If contamination occurs, remove any affected materials immediately and start again with new substrates and spawn.

Slow Growth

If your mushrooms are growing slower than expected, it may be due to factors such as low temperature, low humidity, or insufficient nutrition. Check that your growing environment is maintaining proper temperature and humidity levels, and that you are providing enough water and nutrients to your substrate. Additionally, ensure that your spawn is of high quality and has fully colonized the substrate before moving on to the fruiting phase.

Pests and Diseases

Like any crop, Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms are susceptible to pests and diseases. Common pests include mites, flies, and slugs, while diseases can range from bacterial infections to viral outbreaks. To prevent these issues, keep a close eye on your growing environment and keep it clean and well-maintained. If pests or diseases are detected, take immediate action with appropriate treatments.

Low Yields

If you’re not getting the yields you were hoping for, it may be due to issues such as improper inoculation, poor substrate quality, or inadequate lighting. Review your cultivation process and make adjustments as necessary. Additionally, consider experimenting with different substrates, spawn sources, and growing conditions to find the best combination for optimal yield.

By troubleshooting these common issues, you can overcome challenges in your Chicken Of The Woods mushroom cultivation and achieve successful harvests. With patience and attention to detail, you can enjoy the rewards of growing and harvesting your own delicious and nutritious mushrooms.

Expanding Your Mushroom Cultivation

Congratulations! You have successfully grown your first batch of Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms and want to expand your cultivation efforts. Here are some ways to do it:

Scale Up Production

If you have space and resources, you can scale up production by increasing the number of growing containers or adding more shelves to your setup. This will allow you to grow a larger number of mushrooms and meet the demand for your delicious produce.

Propagate Your Culture

Once you have a healthy and productive mushroom culture, you can propagate it to create new cultures. This can be done through grain-to-grain transfer or spore printing. By propagating your culture, you can ensure a continuous supply of high-quality spawn for future mushroom cultivation.

Share Your Knowledge

If you’re passionate about mushroom cultivation, consider sharing your knowledge with others. You can mentor aspiring mushroom growers or teach workshops on home cultivation. This can be a rewarding experience and help others discover the joys of growing their own mushrooms.

Try Different Methods

While this guide focuses on traditional indoor cultivation methods, there are alternative approaches worth exploring. For example, log cultivation involves inoculating logs with mushroom spawn and allowing them to grow outdoors. Outdoor patch cultivation involves creating a suitable growing environment in a shaded outdoor area. These methods can offer different advantages and challenges, so experiment and see what works best for you.

Expanding your chicken of the woods mushroom cultivation can be a fun and fulfilling adventure. With some creativity and dedication, you can increase your production, share your knowledge, and explore new methods. Happy growing!

Alternative Methods for Growing Chicken Of The Woods Mushrooms

While traditional cultivation methods are effective, there are alternative approaches worth exploring for growing Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms. These techniques differ in terms of their requirements and outcomes and may offer diversity to your home cultivation efforts.

Log Cultivation

Log cultivation is a popular method for growing Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms. It involves inoculating hardwood logs with mushroom spawn. The spawn colonizes the logs, breaking down the wood fibers, and producing mushrooms.

Choosing the right type of log is important, as it can affect the overall success of the cultivation. Hardwoods like oak, maple, and birch are ideal for Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms. The logs should be freshly cut, ideally in the fall or winter, and stored in a shady spot.

The process of inoculating the logs involves drilling holes in the logs, inserting the spawn, and sealing the holes with wax. The logs are then kept in a shaded, humid area, and monitored regularly for growth progress. Harvest time varies, but typically occurs in the late summer or early fall.

Outdoor Patch Cultivation

Another method for growing Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms is outdoor patch cultivation. This involves inoculating an outdoor patch of wood chips or sawdust with mushroom spawn and allowing it to grow naturally.

Choosing the right location for the patch is crucial, as it needs to be a shady, damp spot with good drainage. The patch should also be protected from strong winds and direct sunlight.

The process of inoculating the patch involves mixing the spawn into the wood chips or sawdust, creating a uniform layer, and covering it with a layer of straw or other mulch. The patch is then kept moist and monitored regularly for growth progress. Harvest time varies, but typically occurs in the late summer or early fall.

Comparison of Cultivation Methods

Cultivation Method



Traditional Cultivation

Growth substrate, mushroom spawn, controlled environment

Predictable yields, indoor cultivation

Log Cultivation

Hardwood logs, mushroom spawn, shaded area

Higher yields, outdoor cultivation

Outdoor Patch Cultivation

Wood chips or sawdust, mushroom spawn, shaded and damp area

Low maintenance, outdoor cultivation

While each cultivation method has its own pros and cons, exploring alternative techniques can provide a new and exciting experience for growing Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms. With the right knowledge and resources, you can enjoy the satisfaction of cultivating these delicious mushrooms in various ways.


As you come to the end of this comprehensive guide on how to grow Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms, we hope you have gained valuable insights and knowledge on cultivating these delicious mushrooms at home.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own mushrooms and incorporating them into your culinary creations.


Here are some key takeaways to remember:

  • Understand the characteristics and nutritional value of Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms before you start growing them.
  • Choose the right growth substrate and mushroom spawn to achieve better yields.
  • Provide the right growing environment, temperature, humidity, and lighting conditions for optimal growth.
  • Care for your mushroom culture properly, including watering, temperature regulation, and pest control to prevent contamination and diseases.
  • Harvest your mushrooms at the right time and store them properly to maintain their flavor and quality.
  • Be patient and monitor your mushroom growth progress. Troubleshoot any issues that arise.
  • Consider expanding your mushroom cultivation efforts and exploring alternative methods such as log cultivation or outdoor patch cultivation.

We hope this guide has inspired you to start your own mushroom cultivation journey. Enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own mushrooms and savoring their delicious flavor!


How long does it take to grow Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms?

The time it takes for Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms to grow can vary depending on factors such as temperature, humidity, and the quality of your spawn. Generally, it takes around 4-6 months for the mushrooms to fully develop and be ready for harvest.

Can I grow Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms indoors?

While it is possible to grow Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms indoors, they prefer a more natural environment. If you choose to cultivate them indoors, ensure you provide the right conditions, including proper lighting, temperature, and humidity levels.

Can I eat Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms raw?

It is generally recommended to cook Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms before consuming them. Cooking helps enhance their flavor and makes them more digestible. Ensure they are thoroughly cooked to avoid any potential digestive issues.

How do I know if my Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms are safe to eat?

It is essential to correctly identify Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms before consuming them. If you are unsure, consult a mushroom expert or mycologist for assistance. Additionally, make sure you are harvesting from a clean and uncontaminated environment.

How should I store harvested Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms?

Store your freshly harvested Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms in a paper bag or a loosely covered container in the refrigerator. Avoid storing them in a sealed plastic bag, as they need some airflow. They can last for up to a week when stored properly.

Can I use store-bought chicken broth to cultivate Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms?

It is not recommended to use store-bought chicken broth as a growth substrate for Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms. They require specific substrates like sawdust or hardwood logs. Using store-bought broth may not provide the necessary nutrients for successful cultivation.

What are the ideal temperature and humidity levels for growing Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms?

Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms thrive in temperatures ranging from 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C) with a humidity level around 85%. It is important to maintain these conditions consistently throughout the cultivation process.

How do I prevent contamination during the cultivation process?

Contamination can be prevented by maintaining a clean and sterile environment. Ensure that all equipment and surfaces are properly sanitized. Additionally, avoid introducing contaminants by washing your hands thoroughly and wearing gloves while handling the substrate and spawn.

Can I use chicken manure as a substrate for growing Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms?

Chicken manure is not recommended as a substrate for growing Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms. It is considered too nitrogen-rich and can lead to contamination issues. Stick to using appropriate substrates like sawdust, wood chips, or hardwood logs.

What should I do if my mushroom culture shows signs of contamination?

If you notice signs of contamination in your mushroom culture, it is best to isolate and discard the contaminated materials to prevent further spread. Identify the source of contamination and take necessary measures to improve cleanliness and prevent future contamination.

Can I reuse the substrate after harvesting my first batch of Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms?

It is unlikely that you will be able to reuse the substrate for growing additional batches of Chicken Of The Woods mushrooms. The mycelium has likely exhausted the nutrients in the substrate during the first cultivation cycle. It is recommended to start with fresh substrate for subsequent batches.