Monday, March 14, 2011

Budgerigar food health week: day 6

The key to a healthy budgie diet is variation, but also patience. Some budgies namely are picky about food and find it hard to accept fresh fruit and vegetables. Do you have a little seed-addict at home? Perhaps the technique mentioned below will help your feathered friend to appreciate fresh food.

Sprouting is an excellent method (and also one of the most cost-effective) of providing nutrient-dense foods to birds. The so-called sprouted or germinating seeds are usually more easily accepted by "seed addicts" than fresh fruits and vegetables.

Sprouter with glass germinator and seed bags. Image © Renae on
What exactly is sprouting?

"Sprouting is the practice of soaking seeds overnight (1 part seeds to 5 parts water), draining them, placing them into a sprouting jar (a sieve propped up in a bowl to allow the water to drain will do just fine); and then rinsing the seeds several times a day until they start to sprout (they usually start sprouting after about 24 hours) - at which time they are ready to feed. For the next days, the seeds will continue to grow. The different stages provide different nutrients to your bird. For a few birds, a few tablespoons of seeds are sufficient. If properly attended to, the sprouted seeds will last for up to 5 days."

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What are the health benefits of sprouting? 

  • Sprouted seeds are healthier as the sprouting changes and enhances the nutritional quality and value of seeds and grains. Sprouted seeds are lower in fat, as the process of sprouting utilizes the fat in the seed to start the growing process - thus reducing the fat stored in the seeds.
  • Sprouted seeds will help balance your bird’s diet by adding a nutritious supply of high in vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll. 
  • Soaked and germinated "oil" seeds, like niger and rape seeds, are rich in protein and carbohydrates; while "starch" seeds, such as canary and millets, are rich in carbohydrates, but lower in protein.  
  • It is an invaluable food at all times; however, it is especially important for breeding or molting birds. Sprouted seeds also serve as a great rearing and weaning food as the softened shell is easier to break by chicks and gets them used to the texture of seeds.
"this is my private sprout plate. Wet kitchen paper, bird seed, wait a few days and a meal of fresh greens is ready." Image ©
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Sprouting is easy, you can make it yourself, or buy it online or at the local pet store. Visit this web page for more explanation and step-by-step instructions of sprouting: