How To Sprout - Step By Step Guide


Recently I’ve been asked by two members how to sprout… the basics. So here is a step by step, image heavy thread for those of us new to sprouting.

Sprouted grains, seeds and legumes are a powerhouse of nutrients. Fed whilst still growing, there is no loss of precious vitamins, minerals and all important enzymes.

Choose a big jar (depending on how much you intend to sprout). Wide and fat is better than tall and thin as more air can circulate inside. I'm going to use the jar on the left. The one on the right is a standard sized jar and would be ok if you were going to sprout very small quantities:

The open end of the jar needs to be covered by mesh or netting to stop the seeds falling through when draining. Gauze from a chemist/pharmacy works well:

For demonstration purposes I’m using 2 level tablespoons of sprouting mix (see further down for content):

Soak overnight or around 8 hours in plenty of clean water:

Next morning/8 hours later tightly secure the mesh/gauze around the open end of the jar with an elastic band...

Throw out the soaking water and rinse the contents thoroughly by filling with fresh water and draining again. Do this a few times:

Leave the jar on its side so that air can circulate:

Morning and evening rinse and drain again a few times, and leave the jar on its side:

And watch them grow:

They are ready to eat when the tails are approx. 0.5 to 1 cm long:

Include them in your birds’ fresh bowls:

Alternatively special sprouting jars are available to purchase. Biosnacky does one like this:

Or tiers:

I use the tier method because I sprout a lot of different things at the same time – some in small sieves. If you use the tiers then each layer will need proper rinsing with clean water in a sieve twice a day. Letting the water trickle through from the top tier to the bottom is asking for trouble re bacteria. I like the tiers as I don’t have room on the kitchen counter for hundreds of jars. I have a system going so that as some are soaking, others are growing and yet others are being eaten:

What to Sprout?
Choose organic if possible (pesticides are not good for our parrots) or at least the freshest supply from a store with a fast turnover. Those I cannot source from a good health shop or supermarket I will order online.

Listed below are some common grains, legumes and seeds that are easy to sprout. Legumes contain the amino acids that grains lack and vice versa so include 50% of each in your sprouting mix and then add seeds.

Wheat, Spelt, Kamut, Rye, Buckwheat, Quinoa, Wholegrain Brown Rice,
Popping Corn

Mung, Lentils - Green, French, Puy (not split red), Snow Peas, Aduki Beans,
Chickpeas (Garbanzos)

Sunflower seeds, Safflower, Brown Sesame, Fenugreek, Radish, Broccoli, Red Clover,
Pumpkin/Pepita (doesn’t usually sprout so soak only), Hemp (doesn’t usually sprout so soak only)

All the above in black text can be sprouted together as they take roughly the same time.

Popping Corn takes much longer to first soak (24 hours) and then sprout, so I sprout it on its own. They also need warmth - they sprout much better in summer.
I sprout Chickpeas on their own as depending on the batch, some don’t sprout and they are easy to pick out and throw away. Chickpeas are another popular sprout with parrots.
Many sunflowers from the health shop are now heat treated to make them crunchy and taste nice. Sadly this will have killed them and they won’t sprout. If you find proper raw sunflowers, they take only a day and a half or so to sprout.
Pumpkin/pepita and hemp only need soaking so I soak them separately from the rest.

Be careful of Alfalfa – the unsprouted seeds contain the toxin canavanin.
Don’t sprout large beans such as Anasazi, Black, Kidney, Lima, Navy, Pinto and Soy as these can cause toxicity and are hard to digest.
Don’t sprout Amaranth – the unsprouted seeds have caused liver damage in chickens.
Don’t sprout split legumes such as split peas or split lentils. They won’t sprout and will turn to slush.
Don’t sprout pearl and pot barley - they won’t sprout. Barley grains have to have their jackets on.

Clockwise from left: Alfalfa (green), Green Lentils, Chickpeas, Wheat, Kamut, Aduki, Mung, Sunflower:

A spoonful of corn sprouts:

Sprouting sunflower seed is a good way to introduce parrots to sprouts. I always sprinkle some sprouted sunflower on top of the other sprouts. When I added safflower and hemp to my sprouting mix I quickly got 100% parrot interest!

If you are new to sprouting try starting with a mixture of 25% Mung Beans, 25% Wheat, 25% Lentils (green or puy) and 25% Sunflower seeds. Mix them together in a storage container and keep in a cool cupboard.

I have never had a problem in 20+ years of sprouting with mould, etc. even in very high summer temperatures of 32C/90F. If something goes off then it’s usually the fault of the batch of seed/legume.

Happy sprouting! :)
very interesting, thank you ive just ordered some organic sprouting seeds and a 3 tier seed sprouter, if its healthy for my baby then i need to try it, will let you know how it goes when stuff arrives
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Elected Forum Trainer
Regular Member
very interesting, thank you ive just ordered some organic sprouting seeds and a 3 tier seed sprouter, if its healthy for my baby then i need to try it, will let you know how it goes when stuff arrives
Great!! Looking forward to hearing about your progress! With the three tier system I think it is safer to rinse each tier in a sieve under lots of running water and to use the tiers as a holding recepticle only. The three tier system certainly saves kitchen surface space!


Elected Forum Trainer
Regular Member
They didn't work!
Nowadays a lot of sunflower seeds are lightly toasted to make them more appealing for humans. You have to experiment with them. Only one health shop here sells truly raw sunflower seeds that will sprout. Before that I used to get them online - I think from a site called “buywholefoodsonline”.


Regular Member
Thanks guys, well they loved those ones I spouted, so next question where do you get them from pet shop or online?


Regular Member

placing an order today and decided to bite the bullet and buy some soaking/sprouting things for the birds. To start off small and see what they like i have found one on Scarletts and this is what it contains- Maple Peas, Wheat, Round Berry Maize, Red Dari, Blue Peas, Safflower Seed, White Peas, White Dari.

It’s my first time so not sure if im getting the right things!

Oli Fry

Regular Member
Sounds alright. Mine like soaked/sprouted sunflower, hemp, safflower, canary seed and buckwheat best. They'll eat oats and wheat if they are really hungry!

Wendy Cooper-Wolfe

Regular Member
The mu
Let us know how you get on @Wendy Cooper-Wolfe ! 😁
Hello, the mung bean sprouts came on well, Dora wasn't keen but I love them in salad and stir fry so they're all gone. I'll do more and keep offering them to my fickle feathered friend who might decide she fancies some. She seems to like a few the first or second time of trying any sprouted seeds then gets bored!
It's been cool here this last week and despite soaking for 24 hrs and then doing the rinsing the corn didn't take off so they went to the chickens and I'll try again when we have a warm spell of weather.


Elected Forum Trainer
Regular Member
Lol about you eating the mung bean sprouts! Keep adding a few to Dora’s for bowl. You could try sprouting sunflower or safflower for her too. You could mix them with the mung.

Re the corn - I haven’t been able to sprout them for a few years, then I decided to buy a brand new fresh packet of popping corn from a vendor whose stuff usually sprouts for me, and hey presto!

I’ll try sprouting the older corn I have and see whether it’s the temperature or the corn. Even when I used to sprout corn regularly I found it difficult in the winter months.

Wendy Cooper-Wolfe

Regular Member
I'll eat any vegetables that are green and crunchy - Brussels sprouts coleslaw sandwiches are a favourite! I am going to do some alfalfa too as l see the sprouted ones are OK but will make sure about only picking out the well sprouted ones for Dora, and I just got some locally grown organic green lentils from the goat farm that's not far from here.
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