Are Mung Bean Sprouts Safe For Parrots? | A Quick Guide
Yes, parrots as well as other types of birds can eat mung bean sprouts. Mung bean sprouts are in fact a very popular pet food choice for parrots owners. They’re extremely cheap to grow, very fast to sprout and parrots love them - making them the perfect combination! Normal mung beans are dried and very hard, parrots and small birds find them difficult to eat and often won’t even touch them they taste so bad. We’ll break down why parrots love mung bean sprouts, the effect of sprouts on birds and other common types of sprouts we recommend.
What Are Mung Bean Sprouts?
Mung bean sprouts are the shoots that grow out of mung beans whilst sprouting. They’re an off-white milky color that’s thin and long. They taste very bland, but have a distinctive texture, as they’re crispy and will snap when biting into them.
The easiest way to sprout mung beans is to soak your beans in water for 6-8 hours, before thoroughly washing them. Thoroughly wash them twice per day for 3-5 days until fully sprouted. After which you can remove the shoot from the bean and store. For more information on storing mung beans check out our article: How To Store Mung Bean Sprouts.
What’s A Parrot’s Natural Diet?
A parrots typical diet is very varied as they’re omnivores (eating both meat and vegetables). In the wild they’ll typically consume nuts, seeds, insects, flowers, corn, and forage for all types of food that appear naturally. Although they can eat insects and meat, they tend to not consume so frequently.
What Do Parrots Typically Get Fed At Home?
When feeding your parrots at home, you often will feed your parrot a diet of mostly bird pellets. Which will be made from grains, that are then cooked and dried, they’re the most convenient form of parrot food as they’re cheap and will last a long time too. Food such as insects, seeds, sprouts, fresh fruit vegetables, and flowers are a lot less typical and are more recommended to be fed as treats instead.
Which Food Are Poisonous To Parrots?
Like all birds, certain foods you can not feed your parrot, due to their toxic effect. Examples include avocados, chocolate, rhubarb and all fruits that contain pips or seeds with amygdalin (a cyanide like substance which is poisonous to parrots). Food that include amygdalin are apples, apricots, almonds, pears, and nectarines.
Can Parrots Eat Mung Bean Sprouts?
Yes, parrots can eat mung bean sprouts. As mung bean sprouts don’t contain any amygdalin they can be consumed safely. In fact parrots tend to really like eating sprouts, making a refreshing change to their conventional dry food diet.
How Many Sprouts Can They Eat Per Day?
Always speak to your vet before dramatically changing portions or type of food that your parrot is eating. In general sprouts should only ever be consumed as a snack and not as the primary dietary source for your animal. Therefore it would be recommended to not feed more than ½ a tablespoon of sprouts to your parrot. Remember that parrots are pretty small and lightweight, ½ a tablespoon is more than enough.
Benefits Of Parrots Eating Mung Bean Sprouts
The biggest advantage of parrots eating mung beans is that they contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and protein. High levels of protein has been linked to increased mating between parrots. If you don’t want that then we would suggest avoiding! Source: BirdsOnline.DE.
How To Grow And Prepare Sprouts For Your Parrot
Growing mung bean sprouts at home is not only cheap and easy, but a lot of fun too. You can see them grow everyday and before long you have something to eat! Here is a generic method to sprouting mung beans.
Sprouting jar, bag or vessel
3tbsp of mung beans
1. Add your mung beans to a vessel, before leaving them to soak for 6-8 hours
2. Remove from the water and thoroughly wash them
3. After place in a cool, dry space out of direct sunlight
For the next 3-5 days thoroughly wash your spround before leaving to dry
[Tip: Be sure to position your jar or vessel in a position which will allow for them to fully drain. If you don’t you will risk mold and bacteria growth.]
Storing Your Sprouts
After you’ve finished sprouting you’ll need to store them. We would recommend storing in your fridge for safe and convenient storage.
Bowl or container
Quick Fridge Storage Method:
1. Wash your sprouts thoroughly - remove all dirt, and pull the shoot away from the bean [Discard the bean]
2. Place on a tea towel and leave to completely dry out of direct sunlight
3. Once dry transfer your sprouts to a bowl or container
[Note: If the container isn’t airtight add a sheet of paper towel over the top to prevent them from drying out too much]
4. Place in your fridge and they should be good to eat for 2-6 weeks
A Fun Way To Feed Your Parrots
Parrots are naturally wild and curious birds with a high intelligence. Therefore you should excite and challenge them by hiding the bean sprouts. Naturally parrots would spend a lot of their day foraging trying to source and find food. The more mentally stimulated that your bird is the happier it will be.
A plate of bowl
1. Either leave whole or break your sprouts up into many pieces
2. Add your pebbles into a bowl
3. Sprinkle your bean sprouts on top
4. Using your hands, mix the sprouts and pebbles together
5. Now let your parrot play!
What To Watch Out For
Bean sprouts are overall very safe for your parrots to eat. The main thing to watch out for is mold and bacteria growth. Because sprouting uses a lot of water, if the water is left stagnant then mold can grow rapidly. The best way to prevent this is to ensure all water can be drained from the sprouting vessel when growing. Also to thoroughly rinse and wash your sprouts multiple times per day. By doing both they should minimise the risk of mold growth.
Common Signs Your Sprouts Have Gone Bad
Smell - Mung bean sprouts typically don’t smell of anything, at most slightly earthy. If they smell sour, rank, of sulphur and eggs then they’ve gone bad. Do not eat them. Throw them away, thoroughly wash your equipment and start again. For a more in depth guide: Mung Bean Sprouts Smell.
Sight - They should be milk white in color. There should be no fuzzy or rough looking material growing on them. There also should not be any other color growth, on your sprouts. Common colors of mold would be green, white or red. If you spot that throw them out quickly.
It’s so easy, quick and cheap to sprout mung beans that you should never risk feeding your parrot food that has gone bad. If you suspect that they have gone bad then dispose of them immediately and start a fresh with clean equipment.
Can Parrots Eat Other Types Of Sprouts?
Yes parrots can eat many types of seeds and sprouts. Sprouts have been touted by many parrot experts to be a suitable type of food to wean them off of an all seed diet. Most common types of sprouts are edible for parrots, including alfalfa.
Can All Birds Eat Sprouts?
Yes most birds can eat sprouts. However they may not be able to eat the seed or bean that they have sprouted from. Always check online the specific variety of sprout and source to ensure they’re safe for your bird to consume. Another tip is to go through all of your sprouts and remove the seed or bean that they have grown from, only leaving the shoots.
Do I Need To Wash The Sprouts Before Feeding The Parrot?
Yes, you should always thoroughly wash your sprouts. Sprouts are classed as a high risk food as they are prone to containing lots of bacteria and mold. Inspect and clean every time.
Can Parrots Have Alfalfa Sprouts?
Yes alfalfa sprouts are suitable for parrots to eat. If you’re not sprouting them yourself then always buy from a reputable source that doesn’t use any pesticides or chemicals during the growing process.