by Diane Burroughs March 07, 2021 5 min read


First, let's talk about what sprouts are.

Sprouts are seeds that have germinated and that are in the process of becoming plants. When seeds are exposed to the right combination of temperature and moisture, they sprout!

Think about it. Your bird needs vitamins, minerals, protein, lipids, and carbohydrates in the right combination to thrive. Lipids are healthy fats. 

Imagine the huge range of vegetation available in your birds natural habitat.  There is always something sprouting up in the lush jungle.  These bird's have a rich array of plants, seeds, sprouts, fruits, berries, nuts, and more just a short flight away.

How can you replicate this lavish diet? Raw veggies, herbs, fruits, grains, nuts, and, of course, sprouts! 



But, first, feeding pet birds a healthy diet can be a challenge.  Bird’s are picky and prepping a large range of veggies is time-consuming. Plus, it’s hard to know which foods are nutritious, what food combinations synergistically work together, and which foods to avoid.

Sure, you can open any bird-related diet page on social media and get tips, but are they scientifically sound?

Probably not. 

The study of avian nutrition is fairly new. But, what we do know is that if you feed a wide range of plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, grains, herbs, flowers, sprouts, and so on your bird benefits greatly!

The experts suggest that we feed a base premium pellets and supplement them with a diverse range of fresh, whole foods, like sprouts, vegetables, herbs, grains, and more.

A lot of people are worried because they can't get their bird to eat nutritious vegetables. But, if you stop and think about it, most a wild parrot's diet is the abundantly rich, fresh vegetation found in rainforests and jungles. 

Parrot parents spend a good deal of time teaching their young which plants are safe to eat.  Parrots literally have to be taught that a particular food item is safe before they'll eat it.  This video will teach you how to work with your bird to eat nutritious plant-based foods.

sprouting for birds

What kind of sprouts are good for parrots? 

Sprouts have amazing health benefits for people and parrots, alike! In fact, they are considered nutritional powerhouses and they hold an important role in your bird's overall health.   

Sprouts are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.  However, sprouts have been linked to food poisoning and so some people are afraid to serve them to their birds.  When you know the correct way to produce them and store them though, you can safely sprout for your parrot.

There are  four main types of sprouts that are good for birds: 

Grains: Like buckwheat, amut, quinoa, amongst others
Vegetables: Think radishes, broccoli, beets, and fenugreek
Legumes:  Green peas, lentil, soybeans, mung beans, and more
Nuts & Seeds:  Almonds, sunflower seeds, and others

Avian Safe Seeds / Grains

  • Amaranth 
  • Quinoa 
  • Wheat berries
  • Rye Berries 
  • Oat Groats 
  • Red Clover 
  • Alfalfa 
  • Broccoli 
  • Safflower 
  • Gray Striped Sunflower (not black oil as they are not healthy) 
  • Whole Millet 
  • Sesame Seeds 

Safe Legumes (sprout to 1/4 inch tails)

  • Adzuki Beans 
  • Mung Beans
  • Red lentils 
  • Green Lentils 
  • French Lentils 

Which sprouts have the most nutrition?

Sprouting is a fantastic way to improve nutrition in yourparrot's diet.

Sprouted seeds are actually a very nutritionally dense live food. A sprout isn’t part of a plant—it IS the plant! Healthy fresh sprouts are full of antioxidants and nutrients that stimulate self-healing.

Sprouts supply your parrot with super-charged nourishment that isn't available in seeds or most pellets. Sprouts contain many of the trace minerals, vitamins, and enzymes necessary for tissue repair and digestive health.

But, not all sprouts offer parrot specific nutrients.  You'll want to find a seed blend that balances amino acids for complete protein while offering essential enzymes, antioxidants,vitamins and chelated minerals.

If you want to know how sprouts fit in with a largely plant-based bird diet, check out Karmen Budai's expertly written books.

How do you kill bacteria on sprouts?

Generally, sprouts will grow without risk of fungal contamination when ordinary safe food handling measures are used. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, Grapefruit Seed Extract - GSE - can be used to prevent fungal contamination.

One tablespoon of GSE per gallon of pure water is usually sufficient.

How Do You Grow Sprouts For Parrots?

If you've been putting off making sprouting for your parrot because of fears that it is a time consuming, rigorous process requiring lots of jars and you worry about contamination, then think again.

Sprouting for Parrots Infographic


Sprouting is very easy with a specialized sprouting bottle and fresh, healthy seeds.  There is no need to use lots of jars or worry about contamination ifyou follow the directions by the sprouting bottle manufacturer. Rinsing is easy with minimal waste.  And, it's a fast, efficient and convenient way to grow and store sprouted seeds, beans, grains & nuts.  

A specialty sprouting bottle will turn dry seeds into nutrient rich bird food that supplies amino acids for energy, plus, enzymes, antioxidant vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients.


Related Content

How to get your bird to eat vegetables video

How to get your bird to eat healthy, fresh foods

Converting your bird to a pellet dietet


Budai, K. and Pao, S. A Parrot's Fine Cuisine Cookbook & Nutritional Guide.

Diane Burroughs, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist trained in ABA therapy techniques. She specializes in avian anxiety disorders and is certified in Nutrition For Mental Health.

Diane's products have been featured in the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery and at Exoticscon, a conference for exotic pet veterinarians.

With over 30 years experience, in a range of settings, she’s created thousands of successful behavior plans to help turn around challenging behavior.

Diane got parrot fever in the ‘90’s and founded in 1998. Nowadays, focuses solely on Science-backed Parrot Wellness with bird collars for feather plucking birds, nutritional supplements to support avian wellness, and a range of educational materials to support challenging bird behavior. Diane’s authored a number of books on supporting challenging behavior in birds.

Please take a moment to share this blog post with your friends and on your social media. If you want to learn more about science-back parrot wellness, check out my social media channels like Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.

Don't forget to request access to my private Facebook group, UnRuffledRx Feather Plucking Help. You can find it by clicking the banner below.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.