Sprouting Seeds

Sprouted seeds are relished by finches, considered nutritious, and may even help to stimulate breeding. Unfortunately, however, the sprouting process creates a favorable environment for bacterial and fungal proliferation. The following procedure should help to minimize this risk, but never feed sprouts to your birds if they smell foul or appear to be contaminated with mold.

What You'll Need

Pan and paper towels
  • A cake pan
  • Plain, viable seed from a finch seed mix (do not use a seed mix that contains dyes or "pellets" unless they can be removed first)
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic wrap (Saran wrap)
  • Water
  • A weak bleach solution (5% bleach, 95% water)
  • A flour sifter or other appropriate strainer for small seeds


  1. Cover the bottom of the cake pan with wet paper towels.
  2. Place a single layer of seeds on top of the paper towels.
  3. Fit plastic wrap over the top of the cake pan and poke several ventilation holes in the covering.
  4. Place the pan in an air conditioned environment.
  5. Check and remoisten the paper towels daily. Quality seed should sprout within 2-5 days.
  6. Store sprouts in the refrigerator for up to four days to prevent bacterial and fungal growth.
  7. Before serving sprouts to your birds, place them in the sifter and thoroughly rinse the sprouts with dilute bleach solution, and then thoroughly with water to remove any hypochlorite residue. Serve the seeds and discard of any remainders within 4 hours to prevent spoilage.
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