Sprouting Seeds for Birds

Most edible plants can be grown from seeds, including beans, grains, pulses and legumes. In order to sprout the seeds, you just need to duplicate what happens in nature.

How to Sprout the Easy Way

  1. Put the desired amount of dry seeds, beans in a plastic container and cover with clean water. Drown, stir, and rinse until water looks dirt and debris clean.
  2. (I use a shallow bucket and do 1/2 gallon of dry at a time ... but I am feeding a lot of birds!) Remember it plumps! I feed 3/4 cup per pair as a supplement to their regular diet.)
  3. Drown again, allowing enough extra water to allow for absorption of the grain. At least twice as much.

    Keep out of direct sunlight and allow to set for 10 hours ... (never over 18 hours as it will start to rot).

    Drain and rinse till clean (I have a giant bowl-shaped screen-sieve)

    It will take very little rinsing with seed, more with beans and the most with grains. Some grains like oats groats take as many as 6 rinsings.)
  4. Leave it in subdued light for 24 to 36 hours, at room temperature. The germination time will vary depending on air temperature and age of sprouting material.

    I usually start the whole process in the early morning - rinse that night - and feed the following evening. The birds like it the best when it JUST cracks the shell ... 1/16 inch. That applies to most ... only Alfalfa sprouts should be allowed to grow long, remember to keep moist and rinse once or twice a day. The sprouting material can be 4 or 5 inches deep. Keep refrigerated to halt or slow more growth.

On final rinsing of sprouted foods, you may use an antibacterial rinse consisting of 1/4 cup of un-distilled apple cider vinegar to one gallon of water. (Thanks for the tip, Cynthia Wallace!)

If you sprout back to back as each batch germinates, you will have three feedings per week in the summer and two per week in the winter. My birds all have varying preferences as to their favorite sprout. I sprout just about everything. I typically buy GARBANZO BEANS, MUNG BEANS (high in vegetable protein), A TEN-BEAN MIX, A GRAIN MIX - consisting of oat groats, rice and white millet, WHOLE GREEN PEAS ... BLACK OIL SUNFLOWER SEED, and LARGE STRIPED SUN FLOWER SEED. I also purchase quinoa, which I feed cooked, not sprouted.

AAOOB Storable Foods is a good online source for buying in bulk.

Properly packaged, dry seeds keep for a very long time. I order 250 pounds at a time and it lasts me just about all year long.

You can try regular packaged beans from the dried bean section of your local grocery ... you do not have to buy from a health-food store. If these beans do not sprout they are most likely too old.

Of course you can also cook these things for the birds and your own human family.

This is just like anything else you do in life ... the more you do it the easier it gets.