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Parrot Food: Sprouts

Updated on June 12, 2013

In the wild, there is no better sign of the coming spring and impending bountiful sustenance than sprouts. Many of the pet birds we keep have wild counterparts who relish in the sprouts, when new sprouts are coming out of the ground. Sprouts are an incredibly healthy pet bird food, and brings a little bit of the wild into your home. Some would argue it is the best parrot food you can give your pets. They are, in fact, the most organic parrot food you can give your pet.

Sprouts are a living food and good for humans and birds alike. It's because of this that you can find sprouting mixes that offer a mix of healthy seeds for sprouting purposes. But if you buy individually, here are some good, easy to find seeds to sprout (be sure to buy organic when possible):

  • Almonds
  • Alfalfa
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Brown Rice
  • Cabbage
  • Chia
  • Flax
  • Garbanzo
  • Lentils
  • Millet
  • Mung Beans
  • Mustard
  • Oats
  • Popcorn
  • Pumpkin
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Sesame
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Wheat Berries

There are a lot of different methods that can be found online about how to sprout and what equipment to use, but one that is rather helpful for most sprouts (depending on the size of the mesh) is the mason jar method. This method uses a mason jar, a mesh to cover the open lid, plenty of seeds, and grape seed oil.

My cockatiel playing with wool roving. Not exactly sprouts...He should really get sprouts!
My cockatiel playing with wool roving. Not exactly sprouts...He should really get sprouts! | Source
  1. Select your seeds or seed mix and rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear of any dirt or debris.
  2. Place you seeds in a mason jar and fill with water, and a few drops of grape seed extract - a natural antifungal.
  3. Cut some mesh fabric and place over the mouth of the jar. Screw on the open lid to hold the mesh in place to allow the seeds to breath while they soak overnight.
  4. In the morning, drain your seeds of all the water. Then rinse your seeds until the water runs clear. Either gently dry them before replacing in your now-dry mason jar, or return as is and place upside down at an angle to allow the water to run out from the seeds.
  5. Repeat step 4 at least three times a day. Store at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and always make sure to allow for water to drain or to work with dry seeds, or else the sprouts may spoil.
  6. Within two to three days, you will see the sprouts take shape as a little hair emerges from the seed. Once at this stage, the sprout is ready to consume for birds.
  7. Store dry seeds in refrigerator, and use as soon as possible. Sprouts spoil very easily, and caution should be taken when you are about to give them to your birds. Slimy sprouts or bad smelling sprouts are no longer good and should be tossed.

Don't be intimidated by the amount of steps it takes to get sprouts started for your pet bird! Really, there's so many steps, you would think it was a parrot food recipe - and in some ways, it is. Only no food will be quite like this natural parrot food.

Sprouts can be given every day to birds, and is probably the closest an owner can get to giving their bird foods that they will get in the wild. Experiment with what your birds enjoy. It might take them a while to even try it, so have patience with them and try to serve the sprouts with other foods in order to get the them to try them. Don't leave the sprouts out for too long, however, as is with fresh food, they can spoil very easily.


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