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The importance of natural ingredients in pellets

Protein and fat values

Not only in animal nutrition but also in human food as well, it’s in our days common to talk about protein and fat values. It’s something that’s much more in our minds than some decades ago.

Human food is not our specialty, but animal nutrition is, specifically birds. It’s a fact that the amount of nutrients in pellets are very important! But more than that, and what many people forget, is how crucial the source of those nutrients is. It’s not difficult to create a pellet using some basic materials as a base like corn or soya and add some artificial ingredients to get the values that are believed to be the best for the target specie. Well, a pellet like this, when we look at the numbers in the label, seems to be really good.

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Pellet

However, the used ingredients to reach these values aren’t similar with what the bird eats in the wild. So it doesn’t only matter what the value of protein is, but also where it comes from. For example, if the main source of our protein in a pellet is from a GMO or a crop, and the pellet is for a carnivore, the intake and usage of that protein will be deficient and not efficient.

It’s all about the natural ingredients. When you choose a pellet for your bird it’s highly recommended to look more at the list of ingredients and not only at the standard values of protein, fat and other nutrients.

Vegetal oil

Another example is when there is vegetal oil added in a food for stilts or sea ducks. They need oil, but it must be from an animal source, like fish for instance. If the added oil will be from plants, their feathers will later be really greasy because their body can’t metabolize this type of oil. That’s why Wisbroek Sea Duck FloatingWisbroek Micro 22 / 40 and Wisbroek Ibis – Flamingo Floating are coated in high quality fish oil. Besides this it contains EPA/DMA, which are essential fatty acids not produced by the animals. Good for embryo development and it also will prevent heart diseases and promotes a healthy brain.

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More than just values

So as you can read it’s much more than just values. A good quality of natural ingredients, and of course adequate to the target specie, can bring much more than just protein, fat etc. Furthermore it can bring some simple things that are often forgotten like taste, smell, coating, but also really important things like the fatty acids I mentioned before!

With this taken in mind, let’s take a look at the final composition of our Wisbroek feeds. We always use natural ingredients in our pellets, in some cases more than 30! But at least so important is that all nutrients are in perfect balance without adding artificial ingredients!

This is the core of the success of Wisbroek pellets. We always use high quality ingredients in every product, thinking all the time on the feeding strategy of the bird in the wild  and taking the challenges of breeding them in captivity into considerations. Of course the most important is to keep researching and developing in order to always have the most complete feeds.

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Why are planted aviaries so important for birds in captivity?

An avairy

When we decide to plant an aviary the main question that rises: which plants should we use? This subject will be enough for some pages, so in this article I would like to explain why, in my opinion, it’s so important to have vegetation in aviaries with birds.

We always have to keep in mind that plants will act as a natural acclimatizer. With this I mean that they can protect the birds from wind, high temperatures and low temperatures, rain, snow and all the other “gifts” mother nature presents us. So plants can be ideally to provide birds a shelter from all these weather conditions.

The vegetation also provides places to hide. Some aviaries are mixed with different species of birds. Some aviaries have species that can develop aggressive behaviors in the breeding season. A good planted aviary will provide birds places to hide so they can feel safe, just like in nature.

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Security distance

One topic that particularly interests me is what I like to call “security distance”. By this term I mean that I always ask myself the question: what will be the necessary distance that an animal needs to feel safe when they see people at the front of the aviary?

As an example: let’s say the depth of the aviary is 5 meters from the front mesh to the rear wall. A person passes at the front of the aviary and the bird flies back in the aviary to a distance of 4 meters. This means that for that aviary the animal “security distance” (the distance the bird needs to keep from the person to feel safe) will be 4 meters.

Now, if you plant the enclosure the bird feels more protected by the surrounding vegetation, and brings them more close to the front which will make much more easy for us to contemplate his magnificence.

Of course the aviaries will also look more beautiful by simulating / replicating “the natural environment”. For sure this should not be the main reason for planting an aviary, because of the arguments mentioned earlier. It is also really important to know how to prune the plants in order to provide nice perches for the birds. You also need to think carefully about which plant species to choose, taking the bird species into account. And of course choose always non-poisonous plants!

As a last call I would like to mention to always keep in mind to protect the plant against damage from the birds. Choose plant species wisely, ask for advice, research on the species, because after all plants are also living beings and they will also need our care.

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How can our pellets be used as a supplement?

Pellets

It’s a fact that some species of birds don’t like te eat pellets due to their feeding strategy. When this is the case, we need to use supplements to fulfill the gap of nutrients that the other foods present.

What if we could fulfill this gap with our pellets? I will give several examples:

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Inca Sternen

Shore birds, are fantastic flyers and basic fish eaters. At Wisbroek R&D Center, when we present them the fish we sprinkle Wisbroek Micro 22 over the fish. It’s a high quality extruded pellet that, when it gets in contact with the fish, will absorb some water of his body and gets glued to the fish! So when the sterns eat the fish, the pellets are also eaten! What’s really amazing is what we saw with our Incas at Wisbroek R&D Center: after some time the birds started to eat the Micro 22 dry that we offered in an extra dish! Probably because of the coating with fish oil, the taste pleases them. They are in a mixed aviary with Chilean Flamingos and we often see them eat the Wisbroek Ibis – Flamingo Floating as well, probably because it is also coated with fish oil. How awesome is this? Now we just present fish and pellets to them and they look perfect and are breeding as well!

Fruit eaters

Here the case is different. These birds should have pellets in their daily diet. The composition of the fruit present on the market is not even close to the ones they eat in the wild. However it is also known how difficult it is for some birds to feed them pellets. At Wisbroek R&D Center we also had some cases like that. So we thought in the possibility to use our Wisbroek Softbill Diet Small as a supplement over the fruit. It worked perfectly! Because it’s also a high quality extruded pellet, absorbs some water of the fruit and gets glued to the fruit.

Well, fruit they like, so when some pellets are glued to the fruit, they have no chance rather than eat everything! Because the pellets also taste like fruit, eventually they start to eat them dry as well. We just need to keep presenting them to the birds!

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Insectivores

Some insectivores like the Common Hoopoes or the Bee-eaters will for sure not eat pellets. But they love mealworms right? So what about just feeding the mealworms with the pellets? More information about this can be found in another blog, but to give an example this year we got a pair of Common Hoopoes with 9 babies. And they only eat the mealworms gut loaded with our Wisbroek Ibis-Flamingo Floating and Wisbroek Softbill Diet! Cool isn’t it?

(Blog: https://wisbroek.com/en/mealworm-nutrition-how-important-this-can-be-for-the-health-of-the-birds/

At the Wisbroek Research & Development Center, our most important task is keep researching the best ways to nourish a bird. Developing the highest quality feed is a precondition for success, but also brings a responsibility to research the best ways to feed those pellets. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog, because sharing knowledge is for sure one of the keys to success for the worldwide aviculture.

Do you have questions about this blog or our feed? Do not hesitate to ask your question via our website www.wisbroek.com or send a mail to info@wisbroek.com.