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Sprouting Seeds at Home: A Useful Method of Providing Pet Birds with Nutritious Treats

Recently I wrote about the nutritional value of seed sprouts, and highlighted Vitakraft’s Sprout Pot, a most convenient way of growing them (please see below). Today I’d like to describe a method of sprouting additional types of seed at home.

Seeds to Use
The seeds chosen for spouting should be fresh and be comprised of as wide a range of plant species as possible. A simple way to achieve this end is to utilize Kay tee’s Forti-Diet Safflower Seed Blend as the basis of your new “garden”. You can also purchase a wide variety of seeds from most health food stores. Particularly nutritious, and favored by many birds, are safflower, lentils, mung beans, sunflower, wheat berries, barley, buckwheat, popcorn, brown rice, oats and wheat – but there are many others as well.

Producing and Using Sprouts
You will need to rinse the sprouts several times each day, so they should be grown in a colander or other porous container. Then simply proceed as follows:

Rinse the seeds and remove those that are broken or damaged.
Soak in water overnight.
Spread seeds on a colander and place in a dark, well-ventilated location.
Rinse 2-3 times each day; discard moldy seeds.
Shoots will appear in 1-3 days.
Drain to dry and serve.

Unused sprouts will keep well in a refrigerator for several days. You can also dry the sprouts in an oven (use lowest setting) and later re-hydrate or feed to your pets as is.

Additional Notes and Cautions
A wide variety of animals relish sprouts – try them on cats, tortoises, herbivorous lizards, red-eared sliders, hamsters, gerbils, chipmunks or other pets you may have.

I have not experienced any mold-related problems while sprouting seeds, but if this or bacterial contamination is a concern, you can add grapefruit extract to your soak water.

Ventilation is extremely important…the sprouts will invariably develop mold if kept in a closet or similar location. Try using a shelf blocked off by a cloth if you have difficulty finding a dark, well-ventilated site.

Popcorn needs to soak for 18 hours before being set out for sprouting; buckwheat only ½ hour. Overnight works well for most other seeds.

Some hobbyists have reported that fava, black, kidney, lima, pinto, navy and similar beans have caused digestive upset in pet birds, while others note no problems at all. I have used lima and kidney beans for eclectus parrots without incident.

You can read more about the nutritional value of sprouts, and how to grow them using the VitaKraft Sprout Part in my article entitled Product Review: Vitakraft’s Sprout Pot – a Convenient Method of Supplying Your Birds with Valuable Nutrients.

About Frank Indiviglio

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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