For decades, farmers have
been using pesticides to prolong the lives of crops and protect them from
natural predators and pests. However, the use of such chemicals can cause
harm to your body and to that of your parrots. Eating foods which have
been sprayed with pesticides can cause damage to the nervous system,
reproductive organs, as well as negatively affect the heart and lungs.
Sprouting - A Nutritional Powerhouse
Sprouts are the only food
that is live, organic, and taste-tempting for parrots that costs no more
than twenty to forty cents per pound, grows in a very limited space
without soil, sunlight, or fertilizer, is ready to harvest in less than a
week, and contains abundant natural vitamins, minerals, enzymes and
protein. Sprouts are like a nutritional factory in high gear!
Fruits and vegetables should still be an important part of any bird’s diet; however, once harvested, they have sometimes traveled great distances and in so doing, have begun to lose their nutritional value. Sprouts, on the other hand, are harvested immediately by you in your own kitchen.
The Chinese used sprouted seeds over five thousand years ago for their healing properties. In addition to simply being a wonderful form of nutrition, sprouts are beneficial for birds in several other ways. First, they require little or no energy to digest and so are a great choice for birds with health challenges. They contain many trace minerals, vitamins, and enzymes required for tissue repair. And, because sprouts are “pre-digested” food, it frees the body from the job of digestion to speed up metabolism and boost the immune system.
Research has revealed that crucifer sprouts (broccoli) protect against carcinogens. A parrot would have to consume large quantities of broccoli to match the benefits of a small quantity of sprouts.
There is some concern regarding the danger of fungal and bacterial contamination when sprouting. However, there are some very easy steps to follow to prevent any such problems. First, ordinary safe food handling and hygiene go a long way in preventing any contamination. In addition, using several drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract* in the soaking and rinsing water prevents fungal contamination. Organic apple cider vinegar can be used instead; however, my personal experience was that the birds did not accept the sprouts when the vinegar was used; possibly leaving an aftertaste.
STEPS TO SPROUTING
• Select seeds* that are organic.
• Rinse well until water runs clear.
• Soak overnight (or at least 8-10 hours). Water level should be about an inch above the seeds, to allow for swelling.
• Rinse well in the morning.
• Spread seeds in sprouting device*.
• Rinse several times throughout the day, shaking away as much water as possible each time. Shaking away the moisture is
• Harvest when short tails appear, usually in one or two days. If tails are left to grow long, they usually take on a bitterness
that birds will not accept.
• Drain until dry and serve. Store any unused sprouts in the refrigerator for a several days (approximately, 5-6). Fresh
sprouts will have an earthy smell, spoiled sprouts will have an objectionable odor.
CAUTION: Large raw beans such as Anasazi, Black, Fava, Kidney, Lima, Navy, Pinto and Soy should not be sprouted.
They can cause toxicity and digestive problems in people and birds. The above beans should always be cooked to be digestible. In addition, raw beans contain proteolytic inhibitors - they prohibit proper protein absorption.