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Sprouted beans

Sprouted seed is an extremely valuable and nutritious addition to any bird’s diet. Sprouts contain an essential source of vitamins A, B and E. And minerals, magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, and important trace minerals; zinc and selenium.They also contain larger quantities of carbohydrates and protein and less fat than found in dried seed. This makes it especially important for baby, young or breeding birds that have more demanding nutritional requirements, however all birds may benefit from sprouted seed a couple of times a week.

How to successfully sprout your sprout mix
There are various methods used to sprout seed, but the method that we have used for many years is still the best I have found. We use a stainless steel colander and a large plastic container with a tight fitting lid.

Sprouted seeds must smell sweet, if they smell sour they are unsafe for your bird so please discard in rubbish if they are not sweet smelling!

The steps involved are:

  1. Thoroughly rinse the sprout mix with cold water until water runs clear and then soak in cold water (with a suitable anti-bacterial additive) for approximately 12 hours. We use Vetafarm’s Aviclens and soak overnight. NOTE: Do not use warm water to soak and speed up the process as many beans will split and not sprout.
  1. Rinse in fresh cold water, then drain and let sit in container with lid on. Rinsing under cold water every 4-6 hours, until ‘sprouting’ occurs. Drain well and keeping the lid on the container at all times. If it starts to dry out then fungus is more likely to grow.
  1. Once you can see the sprouts starting to appear from the bean, it is ready to use. Rinse well then soak the sprouts in cold water for a final 10 minutes, again with an anti-bacterial additive such as Aviclens, before draining and using. Any unused sprouted seed can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. NOTE: When stored in the fridge, sprouts should be rinsed 1-2 times daily and stored in an airtight container.
  1. Extra sprouts can be stored in the freezer in individual portion sizes. Blanch in Boiling water for 3 minutes then place in ice cold water. Drain well and freeze in zip lock bags or small containers.

It is important not to let the sprouting process go too far. The seed is most nutritious when the root has just appeared from the seed. Do not allow your sprouts to grow more than 1cm in length, after this stage the digestible carbohydrates and proteins are getting converted to cellulose as the root and stem grow, and cellulose is essentially indigestible to birds and is wasted. I find in summer the process only takes 24 hours but in the cooler temperatures of winter it may take up to 48 hours.

It is also important to add the anti-bacterial additive to the soaking water. This will prevent bacteria and fungus from growing on the seeds and new sprouts and many bacteria and fungi that may grow on sprouting seed can be dangerous if eaten by your bird. As an alternatively to products like Aviclens, a dash of Peroxide can be used—Available at most supermarkets in the medical isle. Don’t worry about the Peroxide when you drain—it quickly evaporates away as the seed dries a bit.

Our Blue Fronted Amazon “Paulie” eating he’s Sprout Mix

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