The formula for this product came about when I was developing food for my own birds. I kept several species of softbills and was very fond of starlings. The starling species in my collection were Amethyst, Emerald, Hildebrandt, Royal, Superb and European. I knew my birds ate grain, insects and fruit and added other materials to the mix that added nutrients. Spirulina and alfalfa were sources of natural vitamins and minerals. Other producers use commercial vitamin packs.
The proteins, crude vegetable, insect, hen egg and whey are either from human food sources or grown and processed in our facilities. Whey is included in small amount simply because it is a good protein source that seemed to work with my birds and was readily available. I am open to using more nutrient sources than necessary. I figure that good material broadly sourced may well fill in gaps of what we don’t know about feeding captive birds. So I cover my bets . I do not believe in the concept of a complete diet.
Intestinal motility, the movement of material through the gut, requires fiber. I grind the millet so that the powdered seed hulls will aid in moving the other nutrients through the bird’s gut. This also releases the lecithin, an emulsifier, in the millet and may or may not be a factor in this instance. The result is that the birds are well nourished and their stool is noticeably firmer.
The fruit that I included is just dried apple. At this time the ones I use are grown by a local friend who makes his own cider. I dry the pressed fruit to less than 10% moisture and grind it to a fairly fine powder for use in my softbill mix. There are fruit sugars and excellent fiber.
The proteins are also of both animal and vegetable origin. Musca domestica, in dried larvae and pupae form, dried and whole larvae and pupae and dried hen egg are the animal sources the grains, greens and soy provide the rest. I always use soy protein concentrate, not isolate. Isolates are too high in mineral salts and can harm animals if improperly used.
Fats are important in their need for making cell walls. It seemed to me that would be critical in egg layers so I utilize fats from the vegetables, insects, egg and rendered beef kidney suet.
My softbill birds all did well on this formula and have many others over the years. Most of the starlings I’ve fed have been reported as quite long lived, around a dozen years.
I fed fresh and canned fruit as well. Water packed fruit cocktail is easy and gives you a refreshing sip as well. The birds were also given egg bread.
- Together with fresh fruits and greens, this product simplifies the maintenance of starlings, pekin robins, jay thrushes, bulbuls and many other softbill birds. In this product, the added fats come from an animal source.
- Ingredients: Millet, dried apple, beef kidney suet, dried insects(Musca domestica), soy protein concentrate, whey, calcium carbonate, spirulina, bee pollen.
- Protein 15.07%, Fat 13.33%, Fiber 5.84%