Dr. Gysels' explanation clearly showed that a standard mix is insufficient ( cf. Article : Bird food ) to cover the food needs of birds. This finding formed for me the beginning of the search for the characteristics of the current seeds. So here are my findings.
Canary seed grass forms the main part of common mixtures. This seed is classified under the herbaceous. It is also called white alpiste.
This seed is rich in trace elements and amino acids such as leucine and arginine. Cystine is missing.
The average values :
Humidity 12,8 % Crude protein 15,1 % Fat 6,1 % Trace element 56 % Crude cellulose 5,3 % limestone 0,05 % Phosphorus 0,55 %
Millet and panicum are distinguished. From a scientific point of view, the two grains form only one family. The shape is round.
Yellow millet is the best known of the family. It contains a lot of trace elements. White millet is bigger than yellow, but it is not so hard.
Red millet is very hard, but it contains a lot of trace elements.
Japan's millet is the one that contains the highest proportion of protein.
The millet of Senegal is another name for the yellow millet.
Millet contains a lot of leucine-like proteins.
The average values :
Humidity 12,7 % Crude protein 11,1 % Fat 3,7 % Trace element 59,8 % Crude cellulose 8,9 % limestone 0,03 % Phosphorus 0,32 %
During our visit to Versele-Laga, Dr. P. Ghysels gave us a talk on the food of birds and the requirements of this food. This presentation, based on scientific research and experiments, was clear and easy to follow, with plenty of examples.
The result is that we are smarter on the point of food, but we are not yet specialists in bird food.
This article is based on the presentation of Dr. Ghysels and presents some points to be aware of.
For our birds, this balanced food consists of the following ingredients :
1. Protein, fat and carbohydrates.
2. Minerals and trace elements such as zinc, iron, etc.
The amount of protein needed depends on the situation. During breeding and moulting, this amount is significantly higher than during the resting season. Seed mixtures can never be adequate enough to provide the normal situation.
Carbohydrates are found in starch form in plants and seeds. Fats are concentrated sources of energy. Too much fat in the food causes a bad function of other materials in the digestion of food. The history of omega-3s is a good illustration of this case. Fats are found in oil-rich seeds. These seeds can constitute at most 1/5 of the mixture.
Minerals and trace elements must be presented daily. These elements constitute the "fitness" of the bird.
For the female, limestone is a primordial necessity. At each egg laid, the amount of limestone of the female decreases by 20%. During the breeding season, the female must be able to hold her limestone stock to the maximum. During this period, it is therefore necessary to provide extra limestone in the food.