When I brought my Quaker home over two years ago, I was annoyed that he was on an all seed diet, especially since the species is prone to fatty liver disease. While I didn’t want to completely exclude seeds from his diet, I wanted to be sure that the ones I did offer him were nutritious. It was a little shocking to me to see how little variety between commercial seed mixes were, and how sunflower and safflower laden they all were!
After comparing seed mixes, pellet mixes, and more, and using my local co-op and Nuts.com, I managed to create my own seed mix that I was quite pleased with. Now, I didn’t add a bunch of other things like flowers, herbs, dried fruit, etc, because I wanted this to be solely a seed mix that I could soak and sprout. However, back then I was unaware of the fact that flax and chia seeds are mucilaginous, meaning they gel up when they are wet. They require a different method for sprouting and will suffocate the other seeds if you attempt to do them together. My “sage advice” is that if you want to be able to sprout this mix, leave those seeds out.
1 lb – millet ($2.99 to $4.99)
1 lb – barley ($2.99 to $3.99)
1 lb – buckwheat ($3.99 to $4.49)
1/2 lb – flax seed ($1.49)
1/2 lb – sesame seed ($1.49 to $1.99)
1/2 lb – oat groats ($1.49)
1/2 lb – chia seeds ($4.49 to $5.99)
1/4 lb – hemp seeds ($0.99)
1/4 lb – milk thistle ($2.78)
1/4 lb – pumpkin seeds ($0.99 to ($1.49)
Makes: 5.75 pounds of seed mix.
Total Cost: $23.69 (non-organic) to $29.69 (organic)
Price per pound: $4.12 to $5.16
These prices are using Nuts.com, not including shipping. I was actually able to get some of these items cheaper at my local natural food stores/co-ops, so it came out to be a little less for me. Still, it’s comparable to seed mixes I buy at the store, and this is using all human grade seeds, with options for many of them to be organic.
So why these seeds? I tried to find seeds that would give a good balance of proteins, lower in fat, provided some vitamins and minerals, and that would be attractive to the birds. While this diet is far from “complete”, neither is one of the seed mixes you will find at the pet store. I personally feel much better feeding this than some sunflower and safflower laden mixes! I have fed this to my Green Cheeked Conure, Quaker, and Hahn’s Macaw with good results; I typically feed one-half teaspoon per day per bird, and I try to do it in foraging toys or baskets as much as possible. Make them work for it!