Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tidbits of Information

I was shopping at Walmart the other day and found a package of pre-diced butternut squash in a package all ready to go! I mix some with my baby bird's veggie mix and they love it! This is a really convenient way to add some orange veggies to your bird's meals without a lot of trouble. The package looks like this (see picture below) and can be found in the pre-packaged salad section:

People are getting busier and busier these days and with the economy the way it is, we are all looking for easy, economical ways to feed our birds a healthy diet. I tell my customers one way to do this is to set aside some veggies or other healthy food items when you are preparing a meal for your family. Then you can add those items to your bird's next meal.

I enjoy sprouting for my birds as they are natural and nutritious, but many of the pre-mixed sprout mixes online are very expensive (I've seen them as high as $20 per pound). Add in shipping costs, which have risen significally and you can spend a chunk of change on sprouts! I make my own sprout mix from a few simple items that I can find locally. This mix is a fraction of the cost of the online mixes and the birds love them!

I start with a basic wild bird mix. Warning: Not all wild bird mixes are the same. I use Wild Bird Chow Premium Picnic (see the picture below). It is a mix for cardinals. It is a clean mix consisting only of black oil sunflower, safflower, millet and a few peanuts. I usually pick out the peanuts. There are no vitamins added. Some people use a clean dove mix, others have had success with a good quality pigeon seed mix.

To this mix, I add hard winter wheat berries (available at most health food stores in the bulk bins for about $1.99 lb), mung beans, and sometimes I add hulled sunflower (natural - no salt), and hulled natural pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas).

Below is a picture of what this mix looks like in 24 hours. This is just the basic mix of the cardinal seed, hard winter wheat berries and mung beans. You can see everything is sprouting nicely. This is the time to feed it to your birds. Don't let the tails get too long. I usually feed my sprouts within 2 days and store them in the refrigerator to keep them from spoiling. It is important to rinse them thoroughly before each feeding to be sure they are nice and clean.

So there you go! Two tips that not only will save you some time, but are economical as well! In my upcoming blog, I will show you how to make your own sprouting jars from materials you can get at any Walmart.