All About Preparing And Soaking Bird Seed

Let’s look at the process of preparing and soaking bird seed, because over recent years there has been a growing appreciation of the fact that in the wild, virtually no birds feed only on dry seed. 

All pet birds can gain a lot of benefits from being fed either soaked or sprouted seeds from time to time.

Many of the pulses such as mung beans, which are popular for human consumption are now often used as bird food, especially for parrots, alongside more conventional seed like millet and canary seed.

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Preparing And Soaking Bird Seed

You can start the process by washing the seed in a sieve under running water to remove any dust that may have accumulated during storage.

Tip the rinsed seed into a heatproof container and cover with hot water. Leave it to stand overnight. I use hot water to speed up the results, but you can also use cold water.

This treatment of the seed triggers the germination process, causing the protein levels in the seed to rise, and increasing the level of Vitamin B.

The seed also changes in texture when it is saturated and it becomes soft and more digestible.

Soaked seed is especially valued during breeding season when there are chicks in the nest. Soaking bird seed can also prove a lifesaver for sick or weak birds, especially small finches that don’t have the strength to crack the dry seed. If they can get the soaked seed into their systems they have a significantly improved chance of recovery.

After being left to stand, the soaked seed must always be washed again very thoroughly before being fed to the birds. It will now be perishable, so any seed left uneaten at the end of the day must be thrown out before it becomes contaminated with molds. This is especially likely during hot weather.

The same applies in the case of sprouted seed, which is prepared in the same way as for human consumption. First, wash off the sprouts thoroughly in fresh water before offering them to the birds.

You will soon be able to gauge the amount of seed needed by your birds to avoid unnecessary wastage.

What Types of Seed Can You Soak And Sprout?

These are some examples of perfect soaking birdseed:

  • chick-peas
  • oats
  • Japanese millet
  • mung beans
  • hemp
  • panicum millet
  • canary seed

If you would like to purchase any of the seeds online, simply click on the pics below.




  1. Interesting share, especially about how soaking raises the nutrient value in the seeds. Which seeds have been used in that video? I would also like to ask if there is anything like giving birds too much to eat or the wrong seeds? My nephew loves birds and his dad is looking to buy him one for Christmas so this article has been very insightful. Thanks a lot.

    1. He uses normal canary or budgie seed in the video. Your pet shop will advise you as to the best seed for your specific type of bird, but I like to experiment. For instance, my budgies love canary seed mixed into their budgie seed. As long as their beaks are strong enough to crack the husks, most bird seeds are safe.

  2. The overall article is informative and exciting to me. I have a few years of experience helping my uncle to feed his birds. Maybe it is already the last 20 years; my memory is using dry seed or fruit to feed the bird only. But I agreed with your article, soaked seed, and sprout seed is better to supply for the young birds. And sprout seed will benefit the bird better with a right combination of amino acid and fatty acid, easy for digestion and absorbing for growth. 

    You have one missing image, but the video content is interesting .and an excellent choice. Thanks for the individual sharing and remind me of my youth.

  3. Thanks for writing this very informative article on All About Preparing And Soaking Bird Seed. I use to have a few cockatiels and some love birds. I never thought of giving them soaked seeds though. I can see why this would be a great idea and I wish I would have had access to an article like yours when I owned birds. I definitely would have tried soaking some seeds and giving it to them. 

    Thanks again for this interesting information.


  4. Thank you for such an informative post on bird seed. I have no idea that you can actually soaked the bird seed and let it sprout. Thanks for sharing the tips about hot water. I use the same method for cooking my sticky rice to fasten the process but never thought of the seed, I assume that I will cook the seed instead so I never use the hot water to sprout. Thanks again for sharing the tips!

  5. This is a very interesting article that I will share with my neighbor who will appreciate this information very much as he has an aviary of birds. 

    I myself never realized that birds benefit from soaked or sprouted bird seeds. My mother in law who just passed on would have loved to have this information as her birdseed holders were always brimming with seed. 

    I am sure the wild birds will enjoy this type of food too.

    1. Yes I think wild birds would love it, but one just has to be careful to make sure you keep the seed mold free and clean out any remains before they go off.

  6. Our budgie died right before Christmas last year. She is dearly missed. She had her favorite seeds, but we never gave her soaked seeds or seeds about to sprout. 

    I am amazed that the soaked seeds increase in nutrients in the seeds. This information is completely new to me. Our budgie´s absolute favorite seed type was millet. It was Christmas and New Years’ Eve at once for her.

    Soaked seeds are like giving your dog soaked dry food. The tastes just gets better and easier to swallow.

    When eating soaked seeds, is there any risk of further swelling of the seeds after the birds have swallowed them?


    1. My budgies enjoy eating the sprouting seeds – looks like grass. There is no risk of them swelling after the birds have eaten them. Think of it like you eating your lettuce.

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