What Is Sprouted Seed? What we are attempting to achieve is to turn the normal basic dried seed into a fresh vegetable and by the process greatly increase its overall food value. The highest food value is obtained when the seed sprouts are around 5mm in length. Be careful not to allow the sprouts to become too long as they become bitter to the taste and their food value decreases.

What Items Will We Require?

  1. First off, a container in which to soak the seed. The most common one in use is the old ice-cream container.
  2. Next one of your wife’s kitchen strainers. Size dependent on the amount of seed you intend sprouting. One capable of holding double the amount of dried seed you intend soaking, as the seed swells during the sprouting process. Also one with not too fine a gauze as the water does not pass freely through and the seed at the bottom continues to be soaked and you will end up with sour seed.
  3. Good quality seed. Most problems in not being able to produce sprouted seed are caused by 2 conditions: over-soaking and the purchase of poor quality seed. Try and obtain sowing seed for the best results.

How Will I Go About It?

Take your ice-cream container and place in it the required amount of seed, a half full 4 litre container will produce enough seed for around 50 pair dependent on whether the birds are accustomed to it and the amount of babies in the nest. It is really a matter of trial and error. Next cover the seed with water. (I suggest you use warm water as this softens the harder seeds quicker.) Allow to soak for a minimum of 4 – 5 hours and a maximum of 12 hours, no longer as this will lead you onto the first step in producing sour seed

After soaking required time, tip seed into your strainer and rinse thoroughly with clean water until all signs of discoloured water are no longer visible. (Do not short cut this rinse.) Then place the strainer suspended across the ice-cream container which will allow the air to circulate through the seed. Continue to rinse the seed in the same manner every 12 hours until the desired length of sprout has been obtained. Under no circumstances rinse the seed just prior to feeding to birds. The seed should be allowed to stand unrinsed for at least 12 hours before feeding. If you have followed this procedure the seed should now have a nice nutty smell, and taste sweet.

But My Seed Stinks!

You have not followed the above procedure correctly “SO” start again.

  1. Soak seed for 12 hours – drain and wash
  2. Leave stand in kitchen strainer 12 hours – wash thoroughly
  3. Leave stand in kitchen strainer 12 hours – wash thoroughly
  4. Leave stand for minimum of 12 hours – feed to birds.

Or, No Sprouts Have Occurred!

The germ in your seed has died of old age so promptly return it to your seed merchant for a replacement. You should be receiving around 75% germination if the seed is of a good quality. Warning

Under no circumstances feed any of this seed to your birds if you in any way think the seed has turned sour. Sour seed will look wet and gluggy as well as smelling to high heaven. Also if you believe that mould has occurred on your seed rinse the seed in a solution of household bleach as this will kill the mould without any harmful effects to your birds. Sunflower seems to be the seed most likely affected by mould, more so in the summer months. Personally I do not experience mould problems using this system for sprouting


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