Our feeding program is somewhat of a radical approach to feeding a large number of birds in a sanctuary setting. Why?
We don’t feed pellets. WHAT? How can we NOT feed pellets? Because most pellets are manufactured, overly processed forms of barely nutritious waste products like “wheat middlings” – a by-product of milling wheat for human consumption (formerly known as “mill floor sweepings”), and “soybean meal” – a by-product of manufacturing soybean oil. They take these products – many which are the very seeds that veterinarians say NEVER to feed your birds – and manufacture them into some artificially shaped “pellet” after adding “nutrition” in the form of artificial supplementation. Many contain a liver toxin, menadione, which is used to provide a dubious form of vitamin K in order to be able to call their diet “complete.”
We believe food should be just that: food. Real food. A product of the earth, sunlight, and water – not a factory. We believe that healthy food makes healthy birds.
What DO we feed?
- Sprouted foods – sprouting is a stage of life in a plant where the seed is preparing to build a healthy plant. To do so, it changes the nutritional content, for the better. (A good scientific article on the beneficial changes due to sprouting).
- Living foods – Young freshly harvested vegetables and microgreens are an important addition to maximize nutrition for your birds. Many birds will readily accept greens and tender young vegetables. Because of the generosity of our wonderful supporters at Double B Farm our birds feasted for many years on fresh produce throughout the season and beyond (as we dehydrate much of what we receive). Check out their Facebook page!
- A “rainbow” of produce – color means something in vegetables. Different nutrients express different colors. Feeding fresh produce in a variety of colors ensures that a wide spectrum of nutrition is offered. See our blog post HERE for more information.
- “Hidden” nutrition – we use grain casseroles, pilafs, breads, muffins and cakes to present vegetables that would otherwise be spurned by picky beaks.
- A broad spectrum of stable nutrition in dry form that is made available at all times. This includes produce dehydrated under 105 degrees (nutritionally “raw”), sprouted legumes such as lentils that are then dehydrated, sprouted grains, sprouted nuts, along with a small percentage of variable ingredients added for interest and variety. The majority of this “dry” food is dehydrated fresh, seasonal produce which makes up 35-50% of the mix. We have two dehydrators that run constantly, dehydrating produce at temperatures at 110 degrees or below to preserve the maximum amount of nutrition. Gentle dehydration is paramount.