Submitted by: Sheila Wallace
Author’s Note: Fresh greens for your birds, from your birds! I had a real problem throwing away all that leftover seed when I change my birds’ food and water daily, so I found a way to RECYCLE it. This allowed me to keep fresh and healthy greens on hand for my parakeets, which they absolutely love.
What You’ll Need:
- Potting mix, nothing special, any inexpensive soil will work even composted soil. (*Do not use Miracle-Grow, it contains ingredients for plants not birds, and I have seen my birds nibble on the soil, so be careful choosing your potting soil)
- Small containers (e.g. Plastic baby food cups, they are rectangle and fit in most cages between the perch and cage.) You can also invest in small terracotta cups, and they are safe for most birds including parakeets.
- Your leftover seeds mixes
- Step 1: Save your seeds – Save the seeds you replace each day in an airtight container and place the container in a cool dry place until you are ready to use. Do not use seeds from the bottom of the cage or any contaminated seeds.
- Step 2: Sterilize that soil – This is very important! You have to sterilize the potting soil, even if its new form the store. This will kill any bacteria that may harm your birds. (Do not use Miracle-Grow.) Place the amount of soil you plan to use in an ovenproof pot or pan. Preheat the oven 350-400 degrees. Let the soil cook and become sterile for about an hour. Do not use the microwave, it will not correctly sterilize your soil no matter how long you leave it in for.
- Step 3: After the soil is cool enough to handle, add the soil to the cups you are going to use with your birds, water the soil completely before you add your seed mix.
- Step 4: Sprinkle the seeds generously in the cups and mix with spoon or fork, so all the seeds are coated with soil.
- Step 5: Place the seed cups in or next to a window where they will receive sunshine and warmth to start sprouting. When the seeds start to sprout, wait a day or two, let them grow to about 2 inches or so and now they are ready to eat.
- Step 6: Feed Your Birds – Only use one (1) cup of seed sprouts every few days or so, too much will give birds a tummy ache.
I currently have 5 parakeets and one cup of sprouts can last up to three days, but it depends on the amount of birds you have or the size of your birds. Have fun with this idea and you can be creative. Use larger pots for larger birds. Decorate your seed pots with non-toxic paints, anything will work. Hang them, or even pick the sprouts and hand-feed your birds, they love fresh sprouts and it also helps to tame young birds!