Be a Good Bird and Eat Your Sprouts

Patricia Sund

Sprouts are so good for birds. It’s a wonderful method of getting a fresh, living food that is packed with nutrition. This nutrition is extremely bioavailable It’s almost impossible to list all of the advantages of sprouting. Sprouting seeds makes them so much more nutritious. Mother Nature has provided us with a way to eat the youngest and most alive plant that there is. And it’s also one of healthiest things we can feed our beloved companion birds.

Seeds are simply a small purse of potential. They are indeed a form of life but they aren’t yet really alive. They need a very exacting condition to convert from a dormant state to a living plant which is what sprouts are. They are given everything they need to become a living plant but these conditions need to be met before the seed changes into a plant. But once it does, look out! You’re in for some very healthy food to feed your flock.

Seeds need energy in order to transform itself into a living plant. They get that in the form of fat. In its dormant state, those seeds containing all of that fat isn’t really very nutritious. But once it sprouts a huge change takes place in the nutrition it has to offer. Sprouting unlocks this nutrition as well as burning off all of that fat leaving the incredible nutrition providing you and your flocks with a better food than it was as a seed. 

Sprouts are nutritionally dense and tremendously healthy for both you and your birds.

Many people tend to shy away from sprouting as they think it’s a difficult process. But it really isn’t with the right tools and a little know-how. 

And just how good are these little guys? They contain a wealth of vitamins such as A, B, C and E as well as minerals, proteins, those ever-important antioxidants, and phytochemicals which help chase down and eliminate free-radicals.

These phytochemicals and antioxidants are also important in that they have disease fighting and protective properties. 

But they contain something else that you might not have know before. And that is that sprouts also contain digestive enzymes. In order to make use of the nutrition found in food, your bird's digestive system needs to break down the sprout in order to make the nutrition found in it absorbable. If the nutrition in any food isn't absorbed either you not your bird can make use of it. 

I like to think of digestive enzymes as the package delivery system in the digestive tract. Essentially they transform food into a more efficient product that is more easily delivered to your bird’s system and easily absorbed giving her all of the benefits that this food has to offer. A bird can eat the greatest and most nutritious food in the world. But if her body doesn’t make use of that nutrition by absorbing it as completely as she can, it’s not going to do her much good. 

The fascinating part about sprouts is that they are alive when you eat them. They haven’t had that time in a truck or on a train that tends to degrade the nutrition of any food. Food that is fresh picked is food at its best and most nutritious.

And you can’t get any more alive and fresher than a plant that is still growing. 

Research has been done on sprouts and experts have found that the time when there are the most digestive enzymes in sprouts is between the time it has begun to germinate or sprout up to seven days later. And these researchers have also estimated that might be up to over a hundred times the digestive enzymes in sprouts than there is a full grown plant. That’s a fairly impressive difference! However, this research also indicates that this difference depends on the type of sprout it is.

Sprouts grow quickly so they are easy to maintain a fresh and growing crop at all times. 

Many companion bird families have learned to become very proficient at sprouting for their flocks and in time, most birds are very accepting of them.

It is a fresh alternative to serving seed and it’s fairly inexpensive to grow them yourself relative to how much you would have to pay for them at the market. 

I don’t recommend purchasing sprouts at a grocery store. I feel that once you learn to sprout it’s safer for both you and your birds. I have seen so many stories about recalls on sprout that were commercial grown so I am very wary of buying them from any big box supermarket. I have however found a source near me where I can purchase them from a small company that grows them in flats and sells them at my local farmer’s market. If you can manage to locate a source like that, you’ve got it made. 

There are many sources online where you can purchase the seeds for sprouting as well as the equipment. Sprout People and Totally Organics are big favorites among families who feed sprouts to their birds, but you can do just as well buying seeds and other items that easily sprout. 

I know people who sprout mung beans as well as quinoa so you have lots of options as to what you can sprout. You can actually sprout all kinds of different seeds including quinoa, amaranth, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, lentils, spelt, kamut and even millet. Sprout People has sprout mixes already blended for different sized birds.

One of the many reasons sprouts make sense for birds is due to their nutritional density. The average African Grey is about a pound give or take a few grams. That doesn’t allow for a whole lot of room in their system for a lot of food, so the nutritional richness of the food is important in the health and well-being of your Grey. Every mouthful of food has to make an impact on his system so and sprouts can live up to this very tall order. So you can see how efficient a food sprouts are for our companion birds. They are a terrific addition to Chop and can be grown safely and efficiently.