How to soak and sprout for birds (schedules included)

A healthy, varied and nutritious diet for your parrot includes:

  1. A reputable parrot pellet brand
  2. Fruits (bird-safe list here)
  3. Vegetables (bird-safe list here)
  4. Grains (bird-safe list here)
  5. Flowers (bird-safe list here)
  6. Herbs and spices (bird-safe list here)
  7. Sprouts
  8. Nuts (occasionally) (bird-safe list here)
  9. Seeds (sparingly) (bird-safe list here)

Benefits of soaking and sprouting

  • Soaking and sprouting is one of the easiest ways to introduce fresh foods to seed junkies
  • The process of soaking and sprouting makes grains, legumes, nuts and seeds more nutrient-dense and easily digestible 
  • Sprouts are very high in vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants, protein and chlorophyll
  • The process of sprouting lowers the fat content of seed and nuts (usually very high in fat), as the process of sprouting utilizes the fat in the seed and nut to start the germinating process
  • Great for breeding or molting birds as they are high in protein
  • Sprouts make a great weaning food for baby birds

What you will need

  1. A variety of grains, beans/legumes, nuts and seeds (you can purchase them in supermarkets or health food stores)
  2. Sprouting jar, mason jar with a mesh lid or sprouting tray
  3. Grapefruit seed extract (to sanitize seeds and prevent mold)

How to soak

  1. Rinse all dry items before soaking
  2. Add 5 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) per litre of clean water (refer to soaking schedule for cool or warm water)
  3. Soak seeds in GSE-water mixture for the recommended time (refer to soaking schedule)
  4. Drain off soaking water, rinse and drain thoroughly
  5. If the nuts and seeds cannot be sprouted (refer to sprouting schedule below), serve immediately to your birds. You can choose to serve other sproutables at this point too.

How to sprout

  1. After soaking (steps 1-4), strain and rinse the sproutables 2-3 times a day with a cool and fresh GSE-water mixture
  2. Harvest the sprouts when they have grown little roots
  3. Rinse the sprouts before serving to your birds
  4. Refrigerate unserved sprouts for 2-3 days

Safety tips

  • Sprouts are very susceptible to mold, mildew or bacteria. Discard the entire batch if a foul odor or mold develops at any point!

Serving tips

  • Only spout 3 tablespoons of seeds at most for a few birds as seeds increase in volume tremendously when sprouted
  • Leave the sprouts in a cool, dry place
  • Freezing sprouts can last longer 
  • Feed sprouts occasionally to hormonal birds, birds suffering from kidney disease or chronic egg laying birds

Important notes

  • Whenever possible, opt for human-grade and organic ingredients as they are safer, fresher, much better quality and more likely to sprout
  • Avoid anything that is GMO, roasted, processed, or separated from its whole form as they are not likely to sprout
  • This list of grains, beans/legumes, nuts and seeds that can be soaked and/or sprouted is the entirety of what we know are safe for parrots. If you know about a safe sproutable that have not been included, please contact us. However please do not contact us asking about other sproutables not listed

Below are the soaking and sprouting schedules of

  • Grains
  • Beans/legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Small vegetable seeds

NOTE: Soaking and sprouting timings in the charts below are approximate guidelines only. Required sprouting times may vary based on climate, temperature and humidity levels. Sprouts can be harvested when they have germinated.

Grains

Amaranth Amaranth sprouts safe for birds Soak for 2-4 hours in very warm water for the soaking stage Sprouts in 1-1.5 days
Barley (unhulled) Barley sprouts safe for birds Soak for 6-8 hours in very warm water for the soaking stage Sprouts in 2 days
Buckwheat (raw groats) Buckwheat sprouts safe for birds Soak for 15 minutes in cool water Sprouts in 6 hours
Corn Corn sprouts safe for birds Soak for 12 hours in very warm water for the soaking stage  Sprouts in 2-3 days
Kamut Kamut sprouts safe for birds Soak for 7 hours in very warm water for the soaking stage Sprouts in 2-3 days
Millet (loose seeds or spray)

Loose seeds Millet sprouts safe for birds

Spray Millet spray sprouts safe for birds

Soak for 8 hours in very warm water for the soaking stage Sprouts in 1+ days
Oats (unhulled) Oat sprouts safe for birds Soak for 6 hours Sprouts in 2-3 days
Quinoa (white, red, black) White quinoa sprouts safe for birds Soak for 4 hours in very warm water for the soaking stage Sprouts in 1-3 days
Rye Rye sprouts safe for birds Soak for 8-14 hours in very warm water for the soaking stage Sprouts in 1-1.5 days
Spelt Spelt sprouts safe for birds Soak for 8-14 hours in very warm water for the soaking stage Sprouts in 1-1.5 days
Teff Soak for 2 hours in very warm water for the soaking stage Sprouts in 1 day
Wheat grain (wheatgrass seeds) Wheatgrain wheat grass sprouts safe for birds Soak for 7 hours Sprouts in 2-3 days

Beans/legumes

Adzuki beans Adzuki bean sprouts safe for birds Soak for 8 hours in very warm water for the soaking stage Sprouts in 3-5 days
Chickpeas Chickpea sprouts safe for birds Soak for 12 hours in very warm water for the soaking stage Sprouts in 2-3 days
Lentils (brown, green, red) Lentil sprouts safe for birds Soak for 8 hours in very warm water for the soaking stage to convert starches to complex sugars Sprouts in 12 hours - 3 days
Mung beans Mung bean sprouts safe for birds Soak for 1 day in very warm water for the soaking stage Sprouts in 2-3 days
Peas (whole) Whole green pea sprouts safe for birds Soak for 12 hours in very warm water for the soaking stage Sprouts in 2-3 days

Nuts

Almonds (hulled)

Almond sprouts safe for birds Soak for 8-10 hours in cool water Sprouts in 12 hours
Cashew Soaked cashew safe for birds Soak for 2.5 hours in cool water Does not sprout
Pecan (hulled) Soaked pecan safe for birds Soak for 4-6 hours in cool water Does not sprout
Walnut (hulled) Soaked walnut safe for birds Soak for 4 hours in cool water Does not sprout

Seeds

Flax seeds (Linseed) Soaked flaxseed safe for birds Soak for 8 hours Does not sprout
Pumpkin seeds Pumpkin seed sprouts safe for birds Soak for 6-8 hours in cool water Sprouts in 1-2 days
Poppy seeds Poppy seed sprouts safe for birds Soak for 8 hours Sprouts in 1-2 days
Sesame seeds (unhulled) Sesame sprouts safe for birds Soak for 8 hours in cool water. Do not sprout for longer as they will be bitter Sprouts in 1-2 days
Sunflower seeds

Hulled seeds are more likely to sprout Hulled sunflower seed sprouts safe for birds

Unhulled Unhulled sunflower seed sprouts safe for birds

Soak for 8 hours in cool water Sprouts in 2-3 days

Small vegetable seeds

Alfalfa Alfalfa sprouts safe for birds Soak for 8 hours in cool water Sprouts in 3-5 days
Broccoli Raab Broccoli raab sprouts safe for birds Soak for 2-4 hours in cool water Sprouts in 4-5 days
Cabbage

Red cabbage Red cabbage sprouts safe for birds

Soak for 6 hours in cool water Sprouts in 4-5 days
Clover Clover sprouts safe for birds Soak for 6 hours in cool water Sprouts in 1-1.5 days
Kale Kale sprouts safe for birds Soak for 6 hours in cool water Sprouts in 4-5 days
Mustard (yellow or black) Mustard sprouts safe for birds Soak for 6 hours Sprouts in 1+ days
Radish Radish sprouts safe for birds Soak for 6 hours in cool water Sprouts in 4-5 days
Turnip Turnip sprouts safe for birds Soak for 6 hours in cool water Sprouts in 4-5 days
Fenugreek Fenugreek sprouts safe for birds Soak for 8 hours in cool water to dissolve mucus surrounding seed Sprouts in 2-3 days
Watercress Watercress sprouts microgreens safe for birds Soak for 6 hours Sprouts in 4-5 days

 

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