Exploring Different Brands of Bird Foods
– Who Should I Feel Safe Buying From?
Let’s be honest, we all like to compare our brand of bird food to brands others are feeding. The thing we all need to realize is that there is no “one size fits all” for all exotic birds and their caregivers. What works for one bird may not work for another depending on species, overall health and vitality, environment, past homes, etc.
As much as scientific research has revealed regarding the nutrition of exotic birds, it is still very far behind in determining the actual nutritional requirements for any species for optimum, long-term health and vitality. I suspect we will never fully know and understand all of the nutritional requirements of each species of exotic birds – or any species of bird for that matter.
A “total and complete” daily diet just does not exist for any exotic bird species at the time this article was published. Ask most any avian enthusiast, pro or novice and they will mostly agree with that statement.
When it comes to one bird food formulator and producer commenting on another commercial bird food manufacturer’s foods, it’s just not ethical. That is the stand I take. I wouldn’t want another manufacturer giving opinions on the food my company produces, positive or negative. Why? They really don’t know what went in to my research, formulation, testing, production, etc. -And I really don’t know what went into their product formulations.
On the other hand, we can generally agree on these points:
- The retail company selling bird food to the avian community should be:
- A legal company as recognized by their State Corporation Commission, Secretary of State, or other entity that issues any kind of “corporate” licensing. This holds the company accountable by the state in which the company does business.
- Licensed to produce pet food in their state of production/manufacturing. If a state doesn’t know a company is exists, they cannot hold that company accountable unless an unsuspecting person, or persons report that company to the state in which the unlicensed company is manufacturing and selling their product.
- Licensed by the state in which the company sells their product. This further ensures the company is held accountable by all local authorities, and requires a retailer to pay sales tax on the products sold to customers within the state the company is based. (This may change in the near future. All17+ years we have been in business the idea of a “VAT” tax has been in the works. All of us will see the slow implementation of this on ALL online sales, no matter who we buy from, when the VAT tax kicks in. Currently only platforms/facilitators such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy and the like are required to charge sales tax on all of their sales, even those companies selling on those platforms. Then those platforms collect the sale tax and pays into a one-system clearing house where all state sales taxes are paid to the appropriate state for each sale made on their platform. – If you have not encountered this yet, be aware it IS coming to your favorite platform soon.) In the meantime, private websites like ours are in flux regarding the collecting of sales tax for every state in the U.S. – but authorities are working on just how to enforce this new law set by a court ruling by precedence in the case of “Wayfair vs North Dakota.”
- Each formula should be laboratory tested by an unbiased 3rd-party human and/or pet food testing laboratory for “nutritional balance” which gives us the GA (guaranteed analysis) for that specific food. Now let’s be clear, there is no government authority I am aware of at this time that requires “treats” and “snacks” to be tested for GA. Even daily diets that do not claim to be “total and complete” are not required to be tested. However, we do test our daily diets. We want the public to know what the GA is. (No company is required to provide a full and complete analysis of each of their foods to anyone outside of their company, or the management of that company. In fact, most commercial bird food manufacturers have deleted total and complete analysis of their foods from the Internet. This is simply to protect their proprietary formulations which they have full, legal right to do.
My Opinion Re: Brands of Bird Foods
I always ask a bird-lover to make sure the above points are covered before purchasing from any company.
I also encourage each buyer to thoroughly research the people involved in any pet food company they are considering purchasing their beloved pet’s food from. You really don’t want someone making your bird’s food that has absolutely no knowledge (academic or experiential over many years) formulating, producing and selling food that has not been properly formulated for “balanced nutrition” and is not licensed and does not 3rd-party lab test their finished product(s). (Some companies may claim they are licensed. Ask to see their licenses.)
If you are considering a food, if you will be using is as a daily diet (even it is not advertised as a daily diet) it should contain NO LESS than 35 different ingredients, hopefully organic with no added chemical preservatives, colorings or flavor enhancers such as MSG. (Some companies may claim they use “certified organic” ingredients. Ask them for the names of the companies from which they buy their ingredients as well as the name of their sales representative, or the sales team leader of those companies. You can then call or email the company and ask if so-and-so actually purchases from them. (We maintain a list of our organic suppliers on our website). If a retailer doesn’t want to share any of this information with you, or only part then run, don’t walk away.
Foods, pellets, nuggets, chunks, treats, snacks, etc. that contain any kind of “flour” or “grain” at the beginning of the ingredient list is not, in my opinion a healthy exotic bird food diet. Flours are used as cheap fillers to make the product weigh more so that the manufacturer make more profit off a potentially less-integral product. Also, flours normally contain high levels of heavy metals.
In my opinion, “green-based” parrot foods are the healthier choices, but again if they are heat or cold extruded (traditionally using temperatures from 160 t0 above 240 degrees F) they are foods that synthetic additives must be added back into to ensure that enough nutrition is available for absorption. (In some cases a commercial food only barely supplies required nutrition, or in the case of fat-soluble vitamins may cause hypervitaminosis – which can damage the liver, kidneys and cardiovascular system – commercial companies rarely get the ratio of fat-soluble vitamins correct and even when they do if the overall formula, or overall diet of the bird does not contain enough healthy dietary fat those synthetic fat-soluble vitamins can potentially be lethal to the long-term health of a bird.)
If you are buying individual ingredients, or mixes to add to your bird’s daily diet, remember that most of the above principals should still be applied vigorously.
Here is an article I wrote quite awhile back that may shed additional light on this topic:
As always, “Happy, healthy foraging!”
Copyright 10.15.19 Passion Tree House LLC – Machelle Pacion – All Rights Reserved