For those who have feathered friends, bird food is the single most important product for their pets.
Here is a bird food brands guide for retailers to enable them to best serve Polly and his pals.
What Foods Do Birds Require?
I consulted Dr. Laurie Hess
, a veterinarian with a practice in Bedford Hills, N.Y., who exclusively treats birds and other exotic pets. She is also one of less than 150 people in the world who is board-certified to treat birds, and is featured on Animal Planet’s "Little Pets 101."
"Most parrots (not all birds) are called granivores – they eat a variety of grains and vegetables, although they can eat some animal protein at times in captivity," she explained.
But Not All Birds are of the Same Dietary Feather
The nutritional needs of other types of birds vary by species, requiring that they are fed specific bird food.
Sulphur crested cockatoos and parakeets
, for example, are omnivores, who may consume seeds, fruits, vegetables and animal protein such as poultry. My parakeet, Chappy, loved these, along with scrambled eggs. (I guess that qualified her as a cannibal!)
Some macaws are frugivores, which means that they enjoy dining on fruits, flowers and seeds. Lorikeets, meanwhile, are nectarivores, who savor flower nectar and pollen.
So retailers are advised to do their homework about what bird food brands are best suited to specific birds.
Some Good Commercial Bird Food Brands
My neighbor, Lou Tinel, who has a handsome green wing macaw named Ricco, swears by Harrison’s, an all-natural, organic bird food brand.
Some other respected bird food brands are:
Meanwhile, Dr. Hess recommends: “Supplementation with small amounts of vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables also may provide nutrients essential in a bird’s diet and may make eating more fun for a bird. For most birds, seed should make up only a small portion of their diet.”
Birds Need to Wet Their Beaks
It’s also crucial for retailers who deal in bird products to carry a solid variety of bird water containers and dispensers, and to educate their customers about the importance of keeping their feathered babies hydrated.
Dehydration in birds can result in serious illness or death, so this cannot be over-emphasized.
Some people prefer open bowls, while others like automatic water dispensers.
On the downside, bowls may become contaminated with feces and other debris. So you should advise customers who choose this method to monitor the bowls regularly.
Meanwhile, water dispensers such as bottles may become clogged or stopped up and malfunction.
So please make your customers aware that these must be checked regularly to ensure that they are working properly. The best way to do this is to monitor the water level; if it hasn’t moved in a while, then that’s a clear indication that it may be clogged or stopped up.
Moreover, any water container or dispenser also needs to be cleaned frequently, to eliminate the build up of bacteria.
And regardless of what water apparatus a customer may choose, please emphasize that their pet bird must have fresh, clean water at all times.