FEEDING BUDGERIGARS, CANARIES AND FINCHES

BEST YOUNG BIRD IN SHOW 2010, NORWOOD STUDBEST YOUNG BIRD IN SHOW 2010, NORWOOD STUD

In general terms these species need a diet of seed and water. This actually means blends of different appropriate seeds such as canary seed, white milletseed, black rapeseed, linseed and hempseed, all of which contain proportions of the necessary nutrients and oils. But not only is it critical for the proportions and blends to be right, but that all these food stuffs are of the best quality, and are thoroughly clean, without muck, chaff, and other detrimental rubbish. With the right food and care, birds can live for many years (the record in Finches, we think, is 27 years, but the average is some 5-10 years).

Should we also feed some fresh fruits and vegetables? Most breeders think so, partly because of the nutritional benefit, and partly because of the entertainment value. One Canary breeder we know uses hard boiled eggs, apples and oranges, and has found that Kiwi, pumpkin, tomatoes, kale and asparagus are fine. For Budgerigars, try broccoli and cauliflower leaves, cabbage, and edible flowers (but not the leaves).

 

FIFE VARIEGATED MALE, PIC COURTESY OF Mick FreakleyFIFE VARIEGATED MALE
PIC COURTESY OF Mick Freakley

But our central theme is the quality and cleanliness of the blends and seeds which form the main and fundamental part of the diet of these splendid birds.  Our blends are developed to give the right levels of nutrients, richness and variety. The ingredients used are first class -  here's one example - we only use USA white millet from the Colorado/Nebraska regions in our premium mixtures. This seed, clearly distinguished by its brilliant white colour, has a softer seed coat than other white or yellow millets and so is much easier to digest.

We know that this exceptional and obsessive attention to the formulation, composition and preparation of our seeds and blends is unusual. But we also know that birds fed in this way thrive. And this is what matters to us. So we never compromise on the quality of ingredients and we never, ever compromise on how we clean and prepare our blends. When we say pure nourishment, we mean it.

SOME TIPS …

  • don't feed lettuce - it can give your birds the runs
  • hygiene in any cage or aviary is key
  • when introducing new foods, do so gradually

WHAT ARE 'TYPES'?

 

MALE ADULT GOULDIAN FINCH, PIC COURTESY OF MARTYBUGSMALE ADULT GOULDIAN FINCH
PIC COURTESY OF MARTYBUGS

There are 3 Johnston & Jeff  'types' for these special birds - 22, 88 and 44. These are higher protein/ energy supplementary feeds, to help birds cope with periods of stress, such as when they are in the moult. These have been known for many years as 'Tonics' but these days we are told this is a term too easily confused with vet remedies so we have reverted to the term first used by the original Johnston, George Gilchrist, to make it easier to distinguish between everyday feedstuffs and the specials. He called these feeds 'Types' and so shall we.

SOAKING? COOKING? GERMINATING?

There is some debate about this but there shouldn't be. Providing the food is fed immediately and isn't left to sour,  soaking, cooking or germinating seed creates a positive nutritional effect. Not only does the seed become more easily digestible but each one of these processes start to change seed in various positive ways. Germinating starts the enzymatic process, releasing amino acids and increasing the content of vitamins A, B and E. Starch (indigestible by birds) is converted to digestible sugars. The only drawback is that warmth and moisture is also a good growing medium for bacteria so it is important to wash the seeds thoroughly after any of these processes. Soaked, germinated or cooked seed can be fed as is or mixed with soft food or eggfood. Do not leave any out to the next day. Guidelines on each of these processes can be found here.

FEEDING QUAIL AND PARTRIDGE

We have a special mix for Quail, which is also good for Partridges. Please view the Blends page for more information.