Sprouting is a process by which a seed is converted into a digestible form that provides different nutritional factors.
Sprouted seeds presents the simplest method of providing your birds with fresh green food and are a healthy food addition to the diet of all birds. Sprouted seeds are more nutrient-dense as they are high in vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll. They are also lower in fat, as the process of sprouting utilises the fat in the seed to start the growing process.
Sprouted seeds can also serve as a great rearing and weaning food as the softened shell is easier to break by chicks and gets them used to hard seeds.
- Rinse a small batch of seeds under a tap in a plastic sieve and then soak in a bowl of fresh cold water for up to 8 hours – any longer and the seeds will begin to ferment.
- Rinse the seeds in the sieve, and then suspend it over the bowl and cover it with a cloth.
- Between 24 and 48 hours later the seeds will start to sprout. Rinse them every 8 hours or so to prevent mold from forming.
- Once sprouted, dry the seeds on a cloth before feeding them.
- The most palatable seeds are ones that have only just germinated.
- Offer the seeds over a three-day period to catch the different stages of sprouting.
- Serving the seeds that have sprouted a little more is good for them nutritionally.
Do not feed sprouting grains, especially oats, as they go mouldy quickly.
Special sprouting seed mixes can be purchased for the purpose. Sprouted Ming beans is also very good as they are very high in vegetable protein.