oat groat

A Guide to a Successful Training Session

Training birds, or any animal for that matter, can be done by essentially anyone who’s willing to put in the time but there’s a few things that many people tend to overlook.  The difference between a trusting, responsive bird and one who may learn slowly or only preform under certain circumstances lies in these fine details.

Motivation

 Motivation is how much the bird desires to work for you, whether you use a primary motivator (food) or a secondary motivator (stimulation) your bird has to be motivated to work for it!  This typically means reducing those motivators from their every day lives and using them solely for training.

If you’re using physical touch or a toy as a motivator this means letting the bird play with the toy less so they look forwards to playing with it during training.

For food, it can be a little more complicated depending on how you do it.

 The preferred method of food reward if to just alter the feeding schedule, do training first and feed meals afterwards, I wouldn’t be interested in working for cake if I just had a three course meal, would you?  I prefer this method because it’s safer, you don’t risk lowering their body weight or making them ill.  The most common method used is weight management, reducing up to 5% of the bird’s regular meal and filling that 5% with treats during training.  Using the weight management method requires careful attention paid to their weight through weighing them daily and recording their weights, ensuring the weigh does not drop below 5% it’s original weight and definitely no lower than 10% as that risks serious health issues.  I don’t like this method because of these risks but for some birds, they will just continually eat and gain weight which puts them at risk of other health issues (like fatty liver disease) at which point that method becomes necessary to allow the bird to stay at a healthy weight and train effectively.

Behaviour and Communication

 Watching your bird’s body language and how you are able to communicate with the bird is the only way you’ll be able to teach a concept, if neither of you know what the other is saying you will get nowhere!

If your bird is starting to play more than it wants to train, is looking around, chewing the perch, and overall seeming disinterested, that’s you bird telling you that they don’t want to do this anymore and it’s time to end the session before they get grumpy.  If you’re trying to teach a trick that involved being in close proximity to your bird and they’re starting to nibble your hands or show defensive behaviours, that’s them telling you that they aren’t ready to move that far yet and you need to back up and slow down the process until they’re ready for you to get that close.  Pushing a bird past these obvious lines of communication will more than likely result with them flying away or just biting you.

Along with you understanding how to read the bird the bird needs to understand how to read you.  How do you accomplish this?  Start off with basic concepts like target training and clicker recognition, these simple things allow the bird to understand how to do something for a reward, they start to acknowledge your body language and how it’s directing them to preform and action and will help them know when they’ve done something right as well as how that progresses in to a larger concept.

 A consistent bridging device is the best way to communicate a correct behaviour to your bird.  A bridging device is a word or sound that can be repeated consistently and is always followed by some form of positive reinforcer (food, stimulation, etc.).  Consistency is important, if you make a different sound every time the bird does something right they will struggle to understand what marks the correct behaviour.  A bridging device must sound at the exact moment the bird did the correct behaviour, this helps the bird pinpoint exactly what they did correctly and increases the odds of them repeating that behaviour.  If you’re making a different sound every time they will not know what your bridging device is and won’t think they’ve done something right until they’ve got the treat in their mouths, this can mean that them standing around or reaching for the treat (whatever they were doing when being rewarded) is the behaviour they will believe they did correctly and is the behaviour they will repeat.

Rewards and Jackpots

 This is by far one of the most helpful things when training a bird, if a bird doesn’t like what they’re being given they won’t work for it, if they have the same thing every day they’ll get bored of it, a key to a good reward is variety in substance and quantity.

Establish what your bird loves best, many birds change their favourite foods around frequently so it’s important to note when they start to lose motivation for the reward you are using and change it up. Good food reinforcers include hulled sunflower seeds, millet, banana chips, oat groats, anything that can be consumed rapidly so they don’t forget what they just did to earn the food, a good stimulative reinforcer may be a favourite toy, sounds, or physical touch.

Simple enough, but what’s a jackpot?  A jackpot is something you reward the bird with when they’ve made a larger step in the right direction, anything that’s better than what you’re already feeding them (this can mean more of the same treat or just a better treat in general).  A jackpot helps the bird understand that what they just did was better than what they were doing before and increases the odds of them repeating that behaviour to earn the jackpot again.  An example of this would be: If I’m teaching a bird to step up and they’re just leaning over my hand, all I’m rewarding with is millet then suddenly they put a foot on my hand I’m going to reward with something better, like sunflower seeds, the bird will want more of those sunflower seeds and start to put their foot on my hand more frequently to earn them.

Session Length, Session Frequency and Ending the Session

 Birds all have different attention spans, it’s important to watch their body language for signs of boredom and lack of interest.  If you push a bird past their reasonable limit they will lose interest in training all together and may learn to hate training!  The average training session should not go any longer than 15 minutes, when just starting out many birds will only be motivated long enough to work for 5 minutes.

The more sessions you have the faster the bird will understand this concept, this is true but there’s also a risk of overdoing it and stretching the bird’s attention span too far causing them to regress.  According to the various CPBT-KA’s (certified professional bird trainers, knowledge assessed) the best number of sessions to have for one concept in one day is 2, one in the morning and one in the evening.  Some birds are equipped to handle three sessions, some can only handle one, you have to evaluate your bird and determine what works best for them.

How you end the session is important, you always have to end on a positive note so the bird looks forwards to coming back the next day.  If you end with the bird tired, overworked, frustrated and confused, they won’t want to work with you and will refuse any attempts by you to get them to participate.  Have the bird enjoy the session and end it as soon as you see them getting bored.

Positive and Negative Reinforcement

 The two most common methods that work best with birds are positive reinforcement and negative punishment (not to be mistaken with negative reinforcement and positive punishment ).  Positive reinforcement is the action of encouraging repetition of a behaviour through some form of reward, negative punishment is discouraging the repetition of a behaviour by removing something positive from the environment.  

An example of positive reinforcement: The bird lifts it’s foot on to my hand, I reward it with food, the bird wants to earn more of that food so it will look to repeat the behaviour of putting it’s foot on my hand

An example of negative punishment: The bird starts to nibble at my hands instead of stepping up, I slowly move my hands away and pause, removing the opportunity to earn the desired reward.  The bird doesn’t want the opportunity to earn a reward taken away, the bird will reduce repetition of nibbling on my hands in order to continue earning treats.

Negative punishment is not the same as positive punishment, we are not harming the bird in any way or initiating a negative response from them.  Positive punishment has been linked to numerous behaviour problems including feather destruction, screaming and aggression. Birds can not correlate an action with positive punishment and understand that their action caused the punishment, positive punishment causes regression and emotional harm to the bird. Do not use positive punishment on a bird.

Progression

 How quickly you pace sessions is determined by the bird,  when teaching a concept you have to break it down in to steps so it is easily understood.  These small steps are extremely significant, birds who learn behaviours by jumping right to the end behaviours commonly forget what they learn and the entire concept must be relearned from scratch.  When taught through a variety of smaller steps a bird may forget different steps and only have to be retaught a few of those last steps to accomplish the end behaviour, the constant repetition displayed through smaller steps also solidifies the concept in their brain and makes it harder to forget.

How many steps you need is dependant on your bird, if you make too many steps and the bird is jumping ahead of you the bird may become frustrated and confused, it’s your job to keep up with the bird’s pace.  If you have too little steps and the bird is stuck it’s your job to break it down in to smaller steps so the bird can accomplish the end goal.

It’s long, I know, but incorporating all of the things listed above can drastically improve not only the bird’s ability to learn and responsiveness but also the bond and communications you are able to have with your parrot.  It might seem like a lot at first but it’s really worth it to see just how excited they can be to work with you, training has become my girls’ favourite part of the day and it’s obvious to me just how much more they enjoy my interaction after working to connect, communicate and bond with them through training.

3

I keep Japanese Quail, (Coturnix japonica ) or Coturnix quail, and I honestly like they way more than chickens.  I have two hens currently, they are about two years old.  The brown hen in front is a Tibetan variety, and the other is a Texas A&M variety.

It is common to keep them in battery style caging, to maximize yield (eggs + meat) while minimizing space and cost, but I don’t.  Same for diet, most are fed a diet that is not species appropriate because it’s cheaper and they die young anyway so who cares, right?

I do.  So mine don’t get game bird feed either.  I have tried different things, so I figured I would share a little what I have learned about feeding Japanese Quail.

Generally I like to start out with a quality turkey feed, I am currently using Scratch & Peck Feeds’ Organic Turkey Grower as the base to my food mix.  I then add a lot of small grass seeds, as Japanese quails naturally eat a lot of grass seed in the wild.  They will pick out anything they don’t like or that is too big for them - I have a no-spill hopper to keep their food clean and to prevent waste via spillage so it takes effort for them to actively pick out things they don’t like and it makes me notice.  I have noticed they will never eat whole oat groats, but like rolled oats, and steel cut oats.  These may be too big for them, so I try to give them seed smaller than this.  They are especially fond of canary grass seed during all seasons.  During winter they love nyger (thistle) seed and broken (shelled) sunflower seeds, they eat less of both of these during the spring and summer.  They eat flax seed okay, but leave golden flax seed for last.  They like hemp hearts but those have to be fed separately as they will spoil is kept too warm.  Japanese quail eat a lot of insects ad larvae in the wild, so I buy freeze dried mealworms in bulk and use that as their major source of species appropriate protein.  There are more varieties of freeze dried insect available, but I am waiting until they are about halfway done with their current food before I try new insects with them.

Quail love fresh sprouts!  Broccoli and radish sprouts were their last sprout trays I got, and they ate every last one.  They will snack on small broad-leaves they find in the grass too; they like clover and will eat most microgreens.  I have offered different fruits and vegetables with mixed results, mostly they enjoy sprouts, small seeds, and insects I have noticed.

Of course, if you have hens that lay eggs, they should also have access to calcium just like laying chickens do, but they need smaller pieces.

the cockatiels enjoying some chop!! today’s contains basmati rice, barley, oat groats, kale, cauliflower, and some bird vitamin powder. Terry is finally getting less picky and likes rice, so i minced up the kale and now it’s unavoidable >:)

Grünkohlessen (Eating Kale)

Eating kale is a social tradition in northern Germany during winter time. Friends or family gather for an extended walk outside, bringing a handcart with hot non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. During the walk, they are passing their time by playing games such as Boßeln, a kind of road bowling game in which the teams throw a ball ahead of the route with the aim to need as little as possible throws for the distance covered. Incidents like the ball falling into roadside ditches spice up the game. The destination of such an outing is usually a rural pub where hearty kale dishes as shown above are served to warm up again after the long walk in the cold. The kale is usually cooked in a strong boullion together with onions browned in pure pork fat and thickened with rolled oats. The potatoes are first cooked, then cut into chunky cubes and fried with onions until light brown. The types of meat shown here are bacon, kassler (cured, salted and lightly smoked pork cutlet), Pinkel (a smoked sausage containing wheat or oats groats in addition to the meat) and Mettwurst (a strongly cured and smoked type of sausage).

I’d been teaching Lahi and Delilah to give kisses for several months before this video, but I’d never had the chance to get it on camera before. I’d asked my sister if she could come help me give Delilah a good grooming, and so when Delilah started offering kisses there was finally someone on hand to film it.

(Nevermind that I’d been telling my sister she needed to come see their adorable new trick for ages. Really, the surprise in her voice, like I hadn’t been bragging to everyone about it for months!)

So I was sitting on the floor chatting with my sister and her boyfriend, having mostly given up on the grooming, when my little diva hops over and reaches up on her tippy toes, and I smile at her and lean over for a kiss. My sister stares like this is some unheard-of thing, and Delilah reaches up again and I kiss her again.

(Since I taught them by rewarding kisses with food, Lahi and Delilah now beg for treats by trying to kiss me. It’s completely adorable and I challenge anyone to be able to say no to those faces.)

So my sister started scrambling to get her phone out and I kissed Delilah a few more times, rather impressed that she kept trying despite not getting any food out of it. By the time the video actually started, Delilah had given so many kisses I couldn’t not reward her with food, so I grabbed the nearby jar of oat groat.

And you can just see Delilah’s waning interest shoot right back up when I grabbed the treats. The clerk at the feed mill refers to oat groats as “bunny crack”, and I can’t say I disagree.

So there you have it, Delilah’s kisses! She’s very easy to train, because of how ridiculously food-motivated she is.

Keep an eye out for the video of Lahi’s kisses! (But, I regret to inform you, it is also in vertical video. Because my sister knows not the technique of rotating your phone by ninety degrees in order to take proper videos. Eternal shame be upon her.)

~*~

See more about pudgy princess Delilah!

Learn about Delilah’s story!

~*~

Questions, comments, suggestions, or just generalized squee'ing? Rabbits love attention!

anonymous asked:

If you completely got rid of everything in your cupboards and fridge and started afresh, what would you buy to stock up on? (a bit of a strange question seeing as you have already arranged your home to accommodate your eating preferences!) (also, for the sake of the question, imagine no waste was generated in the process)

Not a strange question! I moved into a new apartment less than a month ago and I’m limited on space so I’ve cut down on non-essentials and only have what I really want/need in my pantry.

Grains/pasta/flours: 

  • Quinoa
  • Rice: white, brown, and black
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat groats
  • Oats - I don’t buy gluten free that often because regular oats never seem to bother my stomach, but if I think to I get GF oats at Trader Joe’s
  • Popcorn - not the kind in a bag with butter, just plain popcorn, super cheap in bulk 
  • Gluten free pasta: organic corn & quinoa are my 2 favorite types
  • Mung bean noodles
  • Rice noodles 
  • Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour & corn flour - I store these in the freezer to keep them fresh
  • Corn meal 
  • Rice paper wraps 

Beans/legumes: 

  • Canned black beans, small white beans (cannellini beans), and chickpeas - I try to buy low sodium. Ideally I would cook my own, cheaper and better for you but a lot of work. 
  • Red lentils and green lentils  

Nuts/seeds: 

  • Brazil nuts - great source of selenium which can be hard to find in a vegan/plant-based diet
  • Walnuts, almonds
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp hearts 
  • Flax seeds - ground and whole, I store these in the freezer, too 

Other things: 

  • Nori sheets 
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Raw honey 
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Golden raisins 
  • Bee pollen 
  • Maca powder 
  • Coconut sugar
  • Decaf green tea 
  • Apple cider vinegar 
  • Coconut oil spray 
  • Balsamic vinegar 

Herbs & spices: 

  • Sage, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, fennel seeds
  • Cumin, cayenne, curry powder, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes
  • Nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, star anise 
  • Wasabi powder 
  • Culinary lavender 
  • Dulse

If I had more space and more money I would buy more spices, spirulina powder or other superfood powders, and more organic versions of what I buy now. Or just put my money towards more organic fresh foods. And new clothes.

EDIT: I DIDN’T READ THE FRIDGE PART - not all of this I actually keep in the fridge but these are the fresh foods I usually have: 

  • Romaine and/or mixed greens
  • Baby spinach
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Melons
  • Lemons & limes
  • Carrots, celery, cucumber, zucchini
  • Whatever fruit or vegetable is in season or on sale - corn, peaches, cherries (because Whole Foods had a crazy sale the other day)
  • Apples and citrus - I shouldn’t buy these out of season as much as I do but they keep so well in the fridge
  • Bananas (obviously) - I keep them in a brown paper bag until spotted then freeze 
  • Mejool dates 
  • Onions and garlic
  • Avocado
  • White and sweet potatoes 
  • And condiments - mustard, liquid aminos, rice vinegar, ketchup, etc. 

ravenbara  asked:

Do you have a list of best to worst pellet brands? My girls are currently on fruit zupreem which I learned is not the best. I have the option of switching them to natural zupreem, lafebar pellets or pretty bird. Do you know which is best?

I don’t have a list of all of them but I get asked this a lot so hold on tight we’re going for a ride! Quick note that I am not a vet or nutritionalist, I’m just collecting information from various sources, if anything is wrong, missed, or misinterpreted please let me know so I can correct it. Ordered from best to worst, I would personally only feed the top 4.

Harrisons (adult lifetime)

Ingredients: *Ground Yellow Corn, *Ground Hull-less Barley, *Hulled Grey Millet, *Ground Soybeans, *Ground Shelled Peanuts, *Ground Shelled Sunflower Seeds, *Ground Lentils, *Ground Green Peas, *Ground Toasted Oat Groats, *Ground Alfalfa, *Ground Rice, *Chia Seed, Calcium Carbonate, Montmorillonite Clay, Vitamin E Supplement, Ground Dried Sea Kelp, Sea Salt, *Sunflower Oil, Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Lecithin, Rosemary Extract, *Algae Meal, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, D-Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Carbonate, *Vegetable Oil.*CERTIFIED ORGANIC INGREDIENT

  • Natural soybeans contain toxins (harrisons does state that they roast them to remove toxins, this also removes a lot of nutritional value)
  • Added salt, 19th on the list (lowest of the bunch)
  • Organic ingredients, spoils quickly

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude protein (min.) 14%

Crude fat (min.) 6%

Crude fiber (max.) 4.5%

Moisture (max.) 10%.


Totally Organics

Ingredients: Rice, barley, corn, sunflower seed hulled, alfalfa leaf, sesame seeds unhulled, amaranth whole, quinoa whole, buckwheat hulled, millet hulled, dandelion leaf powder, carrot powder, spinach leaf powder, purple dulse, rose hips powder, rose hips crushed, orange peel powder, lemon peel powder, rosemary whole leaf, cayenne ground, crushed red chili peppers, wheat grass powder, barley grass powder.

  • a lot of powdered ingredients, generally dehydrated or lacking more nutrients than their raw counterparts
  • no added sweeteners or fillers

Guaranteed Analysis:

Protein 15% Max.

Fat 6% Min.

Crude Fiber 6% Max.


Roudybush (maintainence)

Ingredients: Ground Corn, Ground Wheat, Peanut Meal, Soy Oil, Soy Meal, Hydrated Sodium Calcium Aluminosilicate, Yucca schidigen Extract,Salt, Calcium Carbonate, L-Lysine, DL-Methionine, Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Lecithin, Silicon Dioxide (carrier for liquid antioxidants), Sodium Selenite (on Calcium Carbonate), Niacin, Alpha-Tocopherol Acetate (Source of Vitamin E), Biotin, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Zinc Oxide, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vit. A Acetate, Thiamine, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vit K), Cyanocobalamin (VitB12), Vit D3 Sup. Folic Acid, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Propionic Acid, Ammonium Hydroxide, Acetic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Tartaric Acid, and natural apple flavoring.

  • Added salt, 9th on the list
  • Menadione sodium bisulfite (source of vitamin K), a man-made synthetic vitamin K3 which has caused Liver problems, allergic reactions, and anemia in mammals
  • Natural flavouring - These are obtained from plants, meat, fish, fungi and even wood.
  • Chemical compounds of nutrients, guaranteed nutrient value, covers it’s nutritional bases, lasts a long time

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein Minimum 11.0%
Crude Fat Minimum 7.0%
Crude Fiber Maximum 3.5%
Moisture Maximum 12.0%


Lafeber (parakeet diet)

Ingredients: Ground corn, soybean meal, wheat flour, oat groats, cane molasses, dried whole egg, canola oil, dicalcium phosphate, ground limestone, iodized salt, citric acid, dl-methionine (an essential amino acid), l-lysine (an essential amino acid), vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, copper lysine, choline chloride, zinc oxide, manganese oxide, mixed tocopherols (a preservative), biotin, sodium selenite.

  • Added salt, 11th on the list
  • Menadione sodium bisulfite (source of vitamin K), a man-made synthetic vitamin K3 which has caused Liver problems, allergic reactions, and anemia in mammals
  • Ground limestone - a common soluble grit, while good for nutrients it may cause issues in the crop
  • Cane molasses - some health benefits but very high in sugar, 5th on the ingredient list,

Guaranteed Analysis: 

Crude protein not less than 15.5%

Crude fat not less than 5%

Crude fibre not more than 3%

Moisture not more than 10.5%


Zupreem (Naturals)

Ingredients: Ground corn, Soybean meal, Ground millet, Ground oat groats, Ground barley, Ground wheat, Wheat germ meal, Sugar, Vegetable oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Ground flaxseed, Calcium carbonate, Dicalcium phosphate, Iodized salt, DL-Methionine, Dried carrots, Dried celery, Dried beets, Dried parsley, Dried cranberries, Dried blueberries, Choline chloride, L-Lysine, Vitamins (Vitamin E supplement, Niacin, Calcium pantothenate, Vitamin A supplement, Biotin, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Thiamine mononitrate, Menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), Vitamin B12 supplement, Vitamin D3 supplement, Folic acid), preserved with Mixed tocopherols and Citric acid, Hydrolyzed yeast, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (a source of Vitamin C), Minerals (Manganous oxide, Zinc oxide, Copper sulfate, Sodium selenite, Calcium iodate), Rosemary extract

  • Menadione sodium bisulfite (source of vitamin K), a man-made synthetic vitamin K3 which has caused Liver problems, allergic reactions, and anemia in mammals
  • Added Sugar, 8th on the list
  • Added salt, 13th on the list
  • dried/dehydrated foods
  • most nutritional value is obtained from supplements

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein (min.)14.0%
Crude Fat (min.)4.0%
Crude Fiber (max.)5.0%
Moisture (max.)10.0%

Higgins (InTune Natural)

Ingredients: Ground Yellow Corn, Brown Rice, Soybean Meal, Ground Wheat, Oatmeal, Cane Sugar, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Dicalcium Phosphate, Dried Egg Product, Flaxseed, Calcium Carbonate, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Sea Salt, Cranberries, Apples, Blueberries, Celery, Beets, Parsley, Lettuce, Spinach, Watercress, Brewer’s Dried Yeast, DL-Methionine, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, Algae Meal, Mixed Tocopherols (a natural preservative), Rosemary Extract, Potassium Chloride, Yeast Extract, Iron Oxide, L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Carbonate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Turmeric, Natural Annatto Coloring, Beet Juice, Natural Citrus Flavor, Natural Banana Flavor, Natural Pineapple Flavor, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.

  • Added Sugar
  • Cane Sugar - pure sugar, birds may become addicted, may refuse fresh fruits and vegetables, may lead to obesity, heart conditions, high doses of sugar can be toxic
  • Added salt, 15th on the list
  • “natural” flavourings - These are obtained from plants, meat, fish, fungi and even wood.
  • Menadione sodium bisulfite (source of vitamin K), a man-made synthetic vitamin K3 which has caused Liver problems, allergic reactions, and anemia in mammals

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude protein (min.) 15%

Crude fat (min.) 5%

Crude fiber (max.) 5%

Moisture (max.) 11%,


Zupreem (veggie blend)

Ingredients: Ground corn, Soybean meal, Ground wheat, Wheat germ meal, Sugar, Vegetable oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Celery, Green beans, Carrots, Parsley, Beets, Peas, Calcium carbonate, Dicalcium phosphate, Iodized salt, Natural carrot flavor, DL-Methionine, Choline chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E supplement, Niacin, Calcium pantothenate, Vitamin A supplement, Biotin, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Thiamine mononitrate, Menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), Vitamin B12 supplement, Vitamin D3 supplement, Folic acid), L-Lysine monohydrochloride, preserved with Citric acid and Mixed tocopherols, Yellow 5, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (a source of Vitamin C), Yellow 6, Minerals (Manganous oxide, Zinc oxide, Copper sulfate, Sodium selenite, Calcium iodate), Blue 1, Color added, Rosemary extract.

  • Dyes are high in sugar
  • Sugar - birds may become addicted, may refuse fresh fruits and vegetables, may lead to obesity, heart conditions, high doses of sugar can be toxic
  • Coloured pellets can cause birds to pick favourites and not eat the other colours, wasting the bag
  • Added salt, 15th on the list
  • Menadione sodium bisulfite (source of vitamin K), a man-made synthetic vitamin K3 which has caused Liver problems, allergic reactions, and anemia in mammals
  • Natural flavours - These are obtained from plants, meat, fish, fungi and even wood.


Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein (min.)14%
Crude Fat (min.)4.0%
Crude Fiber (max.)3.5%
Moisture (max.)10%


Pretty Bird (daily select)

Ingredients: Corn, Wheat, Oat Groats, Corn Gluten Meal, Potato Protein, Soya Oil, Coconut Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, Natural and Artificial Flavors, DL Methionine, Isoleucine, L-Threonine, L-Tryptophan, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Ferrous Sulfate, D-Biotin, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Zinc Oxide, Manganous Oxide, Niacinamide, Magnesium Oxide,Vitamin B12 Supplement,BHT (as a preservative), Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Folic Acid, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Natural and Artificial Colors, Menadione Dimethylpyrimidinol Bisulfite (source of Vitamin K3), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Cobalt Sulfate.

  • Sugary artificial colours
  • Corn Gluten Meal - little nutritional value, not toxic but just a pointless filler
  • Coloured pellets can cause birds to choose favourites and refuse other colours, wasting the bag
  • Birds have been known to develop sensitivities to food colourings
  • Menadione dimethylpyrimidinol (source of vitamin K), a man-made synthetic vitamin K3 which has caused Liver problems, allergic reactions, and anemia in mammals
  • BHT (as a preservative), banned in Japan, Australia, Romania, and Sweden. America has banned it in infant food. Debated in the veterinary field, may cause cancer
  • artificial flavours
  • Natural flavours - These are obtained from plants, meat, fish, fungi and even wood.

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min) 14%

Crude Fat/Oil (min) 5 %

Crude Fiber (max) 4%

Moisture (max) 10 %


Nutribird (P15 tropical)

Ingredients: Grains, seeds (at least 10% peanut kernels), fruit (at least 5% fresh fruit), vegetable protein extracts, vegetable by-products, sugar, minerals, L-lysine, methionine, extr. Yucca schidigera, fructo-oligosaccharides, vitamins, trace elements.

  • Sugary artificial colours
  • Sugar -  birds may become addicted, may refuse fresh fruits and vegetables,
  • fructo-oligosaccharides - another sweetener, vegetable-based, used in medicines, high doses may cause digestive upsets, may lead to obesity, heart conditions, high doses of sugar can be toxic
  • Coloured pellets can cause birds to choose favourites and refuse other colours, wasting the bag
  • Birds have been known to develop sensitivities to food colourings
  • Limited real ingredients
  • Very high in fats
  • very limited nutritional value

Guaranteed Analysis

Protein 15%
Fat 16%
Fibre 3.5%

Kaytee (exact rainbow)

Ingredients: Ground Corn, Ground Wheat, Ground Oat Groats, Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat Middlings, Ground Flax Seed, Soybean Meal, Dried Whole Egg, Dried Beet Pulp, Soy Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Wheat Germ Meal, Dicalcium Phosphate, L-Lysine, Salt, Algae Meal (source of DHA), Fructooligosaccharide, Corn Sugar, Brewers Dried Yeast, Vitamin A Supplement, Choline Chloride, Titanium Dioxide, Mixed Tocopherols (a preservative), Yeast Extract, DL-Methionine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Propionic Acid (a preservative), Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganous Oxide, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (source of vitamin K activity), Niacin, Rosemary Extract, Citric Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), Beta-Carotene, Canthaxanthin, Folic Acid, Calcium Iodate, Biotin, Cobalt Carbonate, Sodium Selenite, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus licheniformis Fermentation Product, Artificial Colors, Natural and Artificial Flavors. Allergen information: Manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts and other tree nuts.

  • Dehydrated fruits and vegetables
  • Sugary artificial colours
  • Coloured pellets can cause birds to choose favourites and refuse other colours, wasting the bag
  • Fructooligosaccharide - another sweetener, vegetable-based, used in medicines, high doses may cause digestive upsets
  • Birds have been known to develop sensitivities to food colourings causing illness, behavioural changes, or neurological health conditions
  • Corn Gluten Meal - little nutritional value, not toxic but just a pointless filler
  • Added salt, 16th on the list
  • Menadione sodium bisulfite (source of vitamin K), a man-made synthetic vitamin K3 which has caused Liver problems, allergic reactions, and anemia in mammals
  • Corn Sugar - pure sugar, birds may become addicted, may refuse fresh fruits and vegetables, may lead to obesity, heart conditions, high doses of sugar can be toxic
  • artificial flavours
  • Natural flavours - These are obtained from plants, meat, fish, fungi and even wood

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein (min.) 14.0% 

Crude Fat (min.)5.0% 

Crude Fiber (max.) 5.0% 

Moisture (max.) 12.0%


Menadione - banned in human foods

BHT

Fructo-oligosaccharides

Corn Gluten Meal

“Natural” flavourings

Soybeans

This post is a follow to my post about which blocks to avoid. On this post I will give you a bit of background on each brand of food and a few reasons as to why these are the best brands to feed your pet rats.
*Mazuri- Mazuri only has one formula which is best suited to young female rats. This is because one of the main ingredients is soybean meal which is believed to help prevent mammary tumors however this block is high in protein 23% which is why this block is suited to young female rats. Mazuri is vegetable based so if you are vegetarian or vegan this could be a good option for you to feed your pets without compromising their health.
In America you should be able to find this food at your local pet store.
*Oxbow- Oxbow has an adult and young rat formula. The adult rat formula has 15% protein while the young rat formula has 18%. Both Oxbow formulas are nutritionally complete and is low-fat to help maintain an appropriate weight. The young rat formula has added vitamins and minerals. For those of you interested in the first 5 ingredients for both formulas I’ve got a list here for you
Adult formula: Whole Brown Rice, Oat Groats, Wheat Bran, Wheat, and Soybean Meal.
In America you can get Oxbow easyly in pet stores however if you are in New Zealand you could ask your local vet or pet store if they can order Oxbow in. My local vet (Pet Doctors) orders rabbit and g-pig food from Oxbow, they may be able to order rat food in also.
Young Rat formula:Ground Corn, Soybean Meal, Wheat Middlings, Soybean Hulls, and Dried Whey.
*Harlan- There are a few different types of Harlan Teklad blocks which are 2014 and 2016. 2016 is best suited to adult rats with 16% protein while 2018 is best suited to young rats up to the age of 8months with 18% protein. Usually you have to order large amounts of Harlan at one time however at times rescues will make a large order and sell smaller quantities on to rat owners. If you live in New Zealand you can order Harlan on the New Zealand Rat rescue site.

Here’s the general recipe, since I was exploring with a variety of things to see what the birds would like I made a base mix, made balls out of some of it, added some different things, made balls out of that mix, then added a few different things and made the remainder of the mix in to balls (if that makes sense)

So I chopped up these things and threw them in to a blender (my blender gets stuck on dried fruit if you don’t slice it up in to strips first): 6 dried apple slices, 9 dried apricots, 1 tsp pumpkin seeds, 1 tsp hemp hearts

I made 7 balls out of that (around half an inch to an inch in diameter)

I took what was left over from that mixture and added in 3 apricots, 1 tsp millet, 15 dried raisins/blueberries

and made 11 balls out of that

taking the remainder of the previous mix I added in: 4 apricots, 1 tsp quinoa, 1 tsp chia, 5 banana chips, 1 tsp oat groats, 1 tsp almond, 1 tsp millet, 1 tsp flax

and just made that whole mix in to balls (this one ended up super fine because it was using pre-blended stuff from the previous mixes, my birds aren’t liking it as much because it’s so fine)

bake 325 F for 7-10  minutes (I did it for 15 and that was overkill, you’re just wanting them to not be sticky to the touch and a light brown). You shouldn’t need to use oil on the pan at all, I just laid them out on a cookie sheet and nothing got stuck

It would be super easy to switch out any of the seeds I used for pellets or whatever your bird happens to like, same goes for the dried fruits I used (apple wasn’t too sticky which is why apricot was the main fruit used to hold the mixture together).