Spouting seeds, grains and legumes is a fantastic way of providing nutrients, minerals and a source of protein to your bird. When seeds are sprouted, the fat reserve is used up during germination which makes them healthier and easier to digest.
Which Seeds Can Be Sprouted?
Not all seeds, grains and legumes can be sprouted, so check multiple lists before deciding whether to sprout them. Split peas and lentils cannot be sprouted as the legumes are no longer whole, and certain beans such as kidney beans must be fully cooked before serving otherwise they are toxic for your bird.
The process of sprouting is very simple; soak the seeds, grains and legumes for a number of hours, drain, then rinse twice a day until little white tails appear as they start to sprout. When soaking the items, it’s best to add a tablespoon of raw, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar, or several drops of grapefruit seed extract to the water which will prevent bacteria and mould growth.
When leaving the seeds to sprout between rinses, it’s best to keep them in a sprouting jar or sieve so that any excess water can drain out, and so there is adequate air flow which will reduce the chance of the food going off.
Different food items will have different soaking times, so it’s best to check how long each one takes. Some examples are:
Buckwheat: Soaks for 15 minutes and sprouts within 1-2 days.
Quinoa: Soaks for 2-4 hours and sprouts within 1-2 days.
Mung beans: Soaks for 8-12 hours and sprouts within 3-4 days.
It’s best to keep the sprouts out of direct sunlight and at room temperature for optimal growth. When the white tails appear, you can continue to rinse and allow the seeds to grow, and serve each day. Usually after 4 days, the sprouts will begin to have a bitter taste and will be less palatable for birds, so aim to grow 4-5 days worth at a time to reduce waste.
You will know if your sprouts have gone off as there will either be visible mould, or they will have an acidic, earthy smell. Sprouts should smell like fresh salad when they are safe to eat. It can take a few goes to get it right, but it’s worth it for optimal Parrot nutrition.
Sprouts are an excellent conversion tool for getting fussy birds interested in food, so give it a go today and see what your Parrot thinks!