How to Sprout

- By DeAnn Waggoner, Executive Director, Wings of Love Bird Haven

Sprouting for birds is one of the best ways to get live nutrition to the birds. Many birds love seeds, but the dry seeds that you buy in the pet store offer no nutritional value. Even a bird that is hooked on dry seed will not have any trouble getting accustomed to eating sprouts. Below are a few companies that sell sprout mixes for birds. There are others on the web as well.

How to Sprout

Depending on the size and number of birds you have you will have to decide how much you need to sprout at any one time. I typically use about 1/2 cup of dry sprouts for one serving for all the birds here at the Haven. However, you can do that many and just keep them refrigerated if you don't use them all the first serving. Don't try to store sprouts for more than 2 days at a time. They loose their nutritional value fairly quickly. First, cover sprouts with fresh water, preferable distilled or at least filtered. Add a drop or two of either apple cider vinegar or grapeseed extract. (make sure the cider vinegar is the type that is labeled on the bottle that it has the "MOTHER" still in the cider. This can usually only be obtained at health food stores. Soak seeds overnight. Drain the next morning and rinse well. Prop the jar (using a kerr jar with a plastic straining lid is the easiest for me--see picture at Tilt jar so that air can get into the jar so yet more water can drain throughout the day. I usually tilt it onto a kitchen towel in the corner of my window seal. Rinse seeds twice a day for 3 days.

At the point where the sprout shows only a 1/8" or so is when they are at the peek of nutrition. This is when you should feed them to your birds. Once they are ready refrigerate any left over for the next day's use.

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