Sprouting for birds

How To Safely Sprout For Bird's While Improving Their Health

Sprouts are nutritional powerhouses and hold an important place in your birds diet, if you know how to safely prepare them.  Learn how to sprout for birds in the post.

By Diane Burroughs, LCSW
Revised January 16, 2023


First, let's talk about what sprouts are. Sprouting bird seeds are a simple and nutritious method to provide your pet with fresh greens for complete nutrition.

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 plant-based diet to help your pet bird thrive? Feed an abundance of raw veggies, herbs, fruits, grains, nuts, and, of course, sprouts! 



But, first I get it! Feeding pet birds a healthy diet can be a challenge.  Bird’s are leery of trying new diets  and, what's more, prepping a large range of veggies is time-consuming and can get expensive. 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 

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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 your parrot'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. They require daily rinsing at a minimum.

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

 Infographic by Diane Burroughs, LCSW 2022

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 if you 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 has written a number of bird behavior books and she offers behavior consultations. She's developed a range of UnRuffledRx Science-backed Parrot Wellness Supplies.

Diane's products have been featured in the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery and at Exoticscon, a conference for exotic pet veterinarians. Her bird collars & supplements are stocked in avian vet clinics and bird stores throughout the US. With over 30 years in the field of behavior, Diane has created thousands of successful individualized behavior plans that help pets thrive.

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