Encyclopaedia of Birdcare
Foods For BirdsBirds eat a huge variety of natural foods, including leaves, roots, seed, fruit, nuts, and all kinds of animals from plankton to (as carrion) elephants, but especially insects and other invertebrates. In providing food artificially we need to try to imitate natural foods so that the birds' real dietary requirements are satisfied, but this concept has to be based on scientific research and has only been seriously attempted in recent years, with the appearance of carefully formulated products from specialised suppliers such as Jacobi Jayne & Company. Foods normally available include the following basic types:
These items, where appropriate, are sold in a choice of quantities, and they can be sent on mail order. Although it is possible simply to feed kitchen scraps to birds (but see harmful foods), it is far better to use those foods which have been specially manufactured for the purpose.
- seed, particularly sunflower seed and peanuts in various forms
- seed mixtures, containing a number of seed types plus cereals such as wheat and oats
- fat, mainly in the form of suet, made up with other ingredients into bird cake or a mixture for making it
- live foods, chiefly mealworms
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