HOW TO SPROUT FOR YOUR PARROT
By Dani Clevenger
Sprouting is not hard and is perhaps the easiest step you can take toward a healthy diet for your companion bird.
First, choose your seed. You can sprout any seed, but be sure that it is a safe seed for your bird to eat. I like to sprout Volkman’s or Royal brand seeds in the size labeled for my species. Be sure that there are no pellets in the seed mix you choose, as they will make the sprouts more likely to spoil. You can also sprout things like mung beans, chick peas, lentils, quinoa, any seed for a plant that is safe for your bird to eat. Look into the specific nutritional needs of your species when choosing seeds for sprouting.
Strainer with holes the seeds will not fit through
Apple cider vinegar
Special sprouting containers are available online, or a simple mason jar with mesh over the opening can be substituted as well. Basically any container with a means of straining off the liquid.
The first time you sprout it is wise to sprout ½ cup or less of dry seed. Measure out your seed, put it in a bowl large enough to contain at least four times the amount you are sprouting, and fill the bowl with water to soak the seeds. Soak for 6-12 hours, overnight works well for this.
In the morning, pour the seeds and water into the strainer and rinse thoroughly. Drain well and place back in the bowl wet, but do not add more water. Rinse your seeds two to four times each day depending on your climate until the sprouts have reached their desired state. Rinsing more is better than rinsing less. I usually sprout for around three days. Right before you feed the sprouts, pour a small amount (around a table spoon) of apple cider vinegar into the bowl with the seeds and fill with water. Swish the seeds around in the water, and then rinse as usual. If you can still smell the vinegar on the seeds, you didn’t rinse it well enough. Rinse very thoroughly, and leave in the strainer for a few minutes so that as much moisture as possible is drained. Smell the sprouts. They should smell fresh and “planty” but never sour or spoiled. If they smell bad, through them out and rinse more often for the next batch. If the sprouts look and smell good, feed them to your bird (eat them yourself if you like!). Refrigerate the leftovers and continue to rinse once a day until they are gone. Be sure to smell them before feeding each day. You can also freeze them and thaw them for later use.
If you have extra space in your kitchen sink, it is possible to simply leave the seeds in the strainer and let it sit so that it is suspended over the sink rather than transferring the seeds back to the bowl.
Some of my favorite things to sprout are:
-High quality seed mix, no pellets or dried fruit added, in the size labeled for my species.