the importance of
As research continues to expand in regards to avian health and nutrition, we see the rise in awareness for feeding a varied diet to your companion parrot.
Two of those avenues are sprouts and soaked seed.
easily sprouted at home
I like the idea of offering lots of options to our birds and seeing what they really like and what they ignore. As when offering anything new, it’s a good idea to be patient and give them time to experiment and maybe even develop a taste for new food items. Our birds are well into their third and fourth decade, and as far as we know, sprouts are an entirely new experience for them both. They ignored all sprouts for weeks, but eventually they grew more interested and now sprouts make up a large portion of their diet.
Although sprouting may sound complicated it really takes only minutes. Put some seeds in a jar, wash if needed and soak them overnight, then rinse them twice a day. In a few days, sprouts! Enjoy!
sprouts touted as super foods, miracle foods that cure what ails you (or your bird)! In addition to claims about vitamins, enzymes, proteins, and anti-oxidant potential
It is very economical, sprouts can multiply by up to 15 times their weight.
Sprouts can be produced all year round but keep in mind that the same rules apply as for successful seed germination in the garden. Just like all other seed, sprouting seed has a temperature range that is best for germination. Avoid very hot or cold periods; temperatures between 20°C - 28°C work best. In winter a heated propagator tray can be helpful.
The amount of healthy amino acids goes up during sprouting, as does the vitamin content (notably vitamin C).
The mineral content stays the same, but the minerals in question are better utilized, meaning sprouts are more nutritious.
Speaking of better utilization: sprouts in general are easier to digest and their nutrients absorbed better. They’re even perfect for weaning baby birds, as they’re softer than dried seeds.
okay, but what now?
fresh will sprout easier
less likely to have mould
TYPES OF SEEDS/BEANS THAT SPROUT
things that have a similar germination rate
mung bean, wheat, oat, whole green lentils, grey striped sunflower, safflower
Wash the seeds well in fresh water before soaking. Float off any leaf or twig debris. Small seeds that float off are usually not viable. The exception is onion which has to be encouraged to sink.
.Soak the seeds for the correct time; do not over or under soak. Over-soaking can kill your sprouts. Good aeration with a plentiful supply of oxygen gives life to the seed, so avoid soaking too much seed at a time and then overcrowding it in the sprouter. Never put the sprouting jar or bag flat to a surface where air cannot reach the seeds; all living things need to breathe. Poor drainage will also cause the seed to rot.
Rinse at least twice a day. During hotter weather, rinse more often. Thorough rinsing is important as the water provides the moisture needed to activate growth, it also flushes away waste products and re-oxygenates the seed, but be gentle. If you can’t be at home on hot days, refrigerate the sprouts until you get back. Under-rinsing will cause the seeds to shrivel and die, as will hot, direct sunlight. If seeds start to dry out, soak briefly and then drain well.
Only start sprouts if you are available to look after them for the next 3 - 5 days.
professional set ups with a draining rack
Start out with small amounts added to their regular diet, adding more as you note your birds eating more of the sprouts over time. Feed any time after the soaking period and use up before they’re putting out green leaves (although that’s not necessarily a bad thing for them).
Congrats, you just created a home-grown meal for your parrot – and yourself, if you want. Check your sprouts over one more time to make sure there’s no mold. They should smell fresh and crisp, a bit like when you open a bag of lettuce.
more expensive but easier
cautions and troubleshooting
Another word of caution regarding sprouts and parrots: by creating a moist environment for days at a time at room temperature, you are creating an environment in which other things can grow too. It really helps a lot that 1) you’ve rinsed them well before soaking, 2) you’re rinsing them at least twice a day, and 3) that the seeds themselves are alive and growing. But as you’ve likely heard, sprouts sold for human consumption have very occasionally become contaminated by nasty microbes like Salmonella.
will still continue to sprout but slowly due to reduced temperature
rinse before feeding