Soft seed--whether boiled seed or soak seed--is one of the great canary treats.
This is where the controversy comes in. The overwhelming majority of canary breeders will recommend soaking seed.
As a matter of fact, you may never hear anyone other than me suggest boiled seed as an alternative to soaked seed. But here's the thing...
Boiled Seed is SOooo Much Easier.
Let's talk about this...
When included with a healthy diet of greens, fruit, healthy treats, fresh water, and a clean, stress free environment, boiled seed is sufficient to help keep your canary strong and healthy. Notice I said "sufficient" not "superior"...or even "equal"...
There is no argument about which is more nutritious...soaked seed or boiled.
Soaked and sprouted seed is richer in nutrients...you'll get know back-talk from me there. But when time is tight and the kids are screaming and the dog is barking and the bills need to get paid and put in the mailbox by noon, I say, "BOIL"...
I use seed that has been soaked as much as possible but when necessary I boil. As I've stated in the Canary Tips! free ezine, I've even gone an entire breeding season feeding boiled seed and no soaked or sprouted seed what-so-ever and all the birds turned out strong and healthy.
The quick and easy way--but less nutritious for your canary--is to boil the canary seed.
The benefit to feeding boiled seed over dry seed is not higher nutrition. Boiling seed is mainly used as a nestling food which parent canaries can feed to their babies. But boiling seed for your adult pet canary is beneficial too. It simply softens the seed quickly and makes it easily digestible and a pleasure to eat. Boiling is the fast and easy way to provide a soft seed treat for your canary. Simply...
1. Boil your seed for 20 minutes
2. Drain and let cool.
3. Serve to your canary.
You MUST keep boiled seed in your refrigerator to prevent spoiling. It will last for 4 or 5 days in the frig.
Simple. Easy. Fast.
But if you have the time and energy to spend making treats for your canary, then try...
"Soak seed" or "Sprouted Seed" is soaked and rinsed over a 24 to 72 hour period. Less if you use a special sprouting mix.
It will then begin to sprout creating a high vitamin and mineral content that was not available in the dry seed form.
Dry seed of course has an acceptable protein, vitamin, and mineral content but sprouting initiates the activation of the vitamin precursors. This process transforms the dry seed into a nutritious vegetable. I don't want this to turn into a lesson in botanical science so just remember...
"Sprouted seed is rich in vitamins and minerals"...and your canary will love it.
Although some "seed soakers" will weigh themselves down with a taxing cycle of...
soak, rinse, soak, rinse, soak, rinse, r-i-n-s-e, R--I--N--S--E...
Soaking seed does not have to be burdensome.
While some recommend rinsing your soak seed as many as 5 timers per day, according to birdhealth.com rinsing twice per day is adequate. Adding a little bleach to the mix will help keep bacterial growth to a minimum.
1. Put 1/2 cup dry soak seed in a glass quart jar
2. Cover seed with 1 cup water
3. Add 1/2 Tablespoon bleach
4. Cover jar with cheese cloth (or another clean straining tool) secured around top with a rubber band then let sit at room temperature for 12 hours.
5. Drain off all liquid and rinse with clean water.
6. Turn the jar sideways so that air can get to as many seeds as possible and let sit at room temperature for 18 to 24 hours, rinsing at least twice per day (if you have the time and energy, rinsing 3 or 4 times per day will help keep bacterial growth down and give you more peice of mind).
By now your seeds are beginning to germinate.
You can feed this soaked seed to your canary now or let sit for another 24-48 hours at room temperature to allow more sprouting time. Just make sure you keep rinsing to wash away any bacteria growth. This soaked seed can be stored in the frig for 4 or 5 days before it begins to go bad.
As I stated above, you may not want to use your regular dry canary seed mixture as soak seed. The best seeds to use for soaking are...
The seed you use must be free of any chemical treatments or vitamin enrichments.
You can buy these seeds and make your own soak seed mixture or you can find a special commercial mixture of soak seed.
Be aware that soaked seed is susceptible to bacteria growth and souring.
It's not the best idea to use your regular seed mixture as soaked seed. Many mixtures add pellets, dried bits of fruit and vegetable, and other additives that may accelerate the souring action. However, if you use a seed mixture that contains none of these additives you may be OK soaking it.
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