Feeding Sprouts to Parrots and Humans
Eating sprouts is beneficial to every member of the family – including those with feathers. Not only do parrots and other feathered friends enjoy their sprouted seeds; the increased nutrition allows for better plumage and happier birds.
Sprouting is a physical process (the absorption of water) that causes a chemical reaction and turns the dormant seed into a living food. Germination causes starches in the seed to be converted to simple sugar; proteins are broken down to amino acids; fats break down into fatty acids. All of these – simple sugar, amino acids, fatty acids – are easier to digest in this form and are the basis of better nutrition. They are important components for nutrient assimilation.
According to Leslie Moran the author of The Complete Guide to Successful Sprouting for Parrots and Everyone Else in the Family, “Sprouts are a rich source of vitamins A, C, E, B and antioxidants.” Through the germination process all major food groups – fats, proteins, carbohydrates - and essential vitamins and minerals are not only well represented but easily digested.
Since parrots love their sprouted seeds, the results are realized in fuller more colorful plumage; strong beaks; happier and calmer birds who look forward to mealtime.
Moran establishes four categories of sprouts:
Seeds: fenugreek, flax, millet, pumpkin, radish, sesame, safflower, and sunflower
Grains: amaranth, quinoa, un-hulled barley, buckwheat groats, brown rice, wheat berries, rye and whole oats
Tiny Legumes: alfalfa and clover
Medium Legumes: adzuki beans, mung beans, garbanzo beans, black turtle beans, all lentils
Large Legumes: soy and pinto beans
Nuts: raw, unshelled almonds
For most birds, an overnight soak is all they need. It is OK to sprout the seed for about a day or so. Remember, birds are like humans. Some of us like some foods a lot and other foods not so much. You may need to experiment with your bird family and find out what they like or don’t like. Be patient, give them time and enough room to say yes or no, especially if they are unfamiliar with eating fresh sprouts. Some of us took to the flavor and deliciousness of sprouting right away; for others it took a little time; and for still others a great deal of time and effort.
Our Tesla’s Mix (Lentils, Whole Buckwheat, Hard Wheat, Mung Bean, Hulled Sunflower, Pumpkin) was created by a human whose bird, Tesla, did not eat everything he was presented. The human took note of what was left on the bottom of the cage and developed this mix that included only the things Tesla did like. Yummy, good sprouts for both Tesla and his human.
This book has a ton of information to offer and by reading it I came to understand the intricacies of feeding birds. While we all need the best food that is available to us, this philosophy should also spread to our pet birds so they can be active and vibrant parts of our families.
This has become one of my favorite videos to watch (nearly every day now since I found it)
Morán Leslie. The Complete Guide to Successful Sprouting for Parrots: And Everyone Else in the Family. Silver Springs, Nv, Critter Connection, 2007.