i) Three Millet Mix:

Equal parts of White French, Canary and Japanese or Shoroie Millet.

ii) Soaked Seed

The mix contains four parts Feed Oats with 1 Part of Wheat, this mix is soaked for approx. 24 hours in about 5 litres of water to which has been added half a cap of Milton Antibacterial solution. After soaking the mix  is thoroughly cleaned using a colander and a soaker hose this is usually done of a morning. The mix is then left to dry and sprout in the sun during the day before being brought into the aviary where it is allowed to stand for another 24 hours to complete the germination process. The Soaked Seed may also be prepared in a Microwave this method is explained at the bottom of the page.

iii) Vegetable Mix

The vegetable  mix comprises one Corn Cob kibbled with a knife, four large grated carrots, a hand full of Snow Peas cut in to pieces about 6mm wide and half a small beetroot grated as per the carrots. To this is added two 20 minute hard boiled eggs cut into 6mm squares using an egg slicer and a knife.

iv) Soaked Panorama Millet sprays

These are prepared in exactly the same way as the Soaked Seed above,  in fact I often throw a hand full in with the soaked Oats etc. However I do usually feed these to the birds within a day or so of soaking so they do not germinate.

v) Silver Beet

Upon purchase it washed in water to remove any chemical or dirt that may be present on the leaf or stalk. All excess water is then removed by shaking the bunch. The Silver Beet may then be placed in a plastic grocery shopping bag and stored in the refrigerator until required for use. The Silver Beet leaves will stay nice and crisp for well over a week when stored in this manner.

vi) Fred Sherman’s Softfood Recipe    (Reprinted from Budgerigar World)

My food is prepared dry and in bulk, well in advance of the time it is actually used. This means that a small supply of this ‘dry content’ can be used everyday when the ‘softfood’ is prepared fresh. The ‘dry content’ consists of:

1Kg Cerelac or Nestum. These products are manufactured by Nestles and may have different names in different parts of the world. The main difference between the two is that whereas Cerelac contains milk solids, Nestum is free from milk products. I prefer the latter because milk products contain lactose which birds are unable to digest. I believe in some countries only Cerelac is available. If this is the case I would use it despite the fact that it contains milk products because of its other properties. Both of these products are precooked baby cereals and have a well balanced content of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and vitamins as well as mineral and trace elements. I prefer to use the banana flavour because my Budgerigars seem to take to it more readily.

NOTE: Nestum is not available in Australia and until very recently neither was Cerelac. Nestles have introduced Cerelac an Infant Cereal to the Australian market in Rice and Wheat forms, although I have not been able to find it in a Supermarket or Chemist in Queensland. Product information is available at.

1Kg of Breakfast Oats: There are a number of proprietary brands on the market and they are all similar. I find that the oat flakes are too large for my birds so I use a blender to break them into what in effect becomes little more than a powder.

1Kg Raw Wheat Germ: Easily available from health food shops. This contains a good percentage of carbohydrates and fats. (Wheat Germ Oil).

1Kg Soya Milk Powder: This is a food formula for infants that is totally free from milk and milk products, making it suitable for birds. It contains soybean oil and soy protein isolate. It also contains a liberal quantity of fat and a generous supply of vitamins and minerals.

The four components are mixed dry. To prepare the soft food for around 24 breeding pairs I use a cup of the premix and place it in a blender. To this I add a heaped teaspoon of powdered calcium supplement- a product we have in South Africa is Calsup. Other additions include ten drops of Wheat Germ Oil, half a teaspoon of Iodised Table Salt and a hard boiled egg (without the shell). This is mixed in the blender for a few seconds until it becomes crumbly and reasonably moist. The only source of moisture comes from the egg and the oil.

This softfood is fed everyday during the breeding season.

vii) Fledgling Mix

I mix together the following ingredients and store in a sealed container.

Hulled Oats 2kg

Sunflower Seed grey stripe 500g

Quick (Rolled) Oats.  I purchase the 1Kg Coles Brand Quickoats these re available in  a size that is about half that of the normal Uncle Toby’s Oat. The birds will readily consume the smaller size oat but will not eat the larger Oat. I have tried both.

2kg Red Panacum Millet

100g each of Niger, Linseed and Rape Seeds

I have been fortunate this breeding season to have been given some dry grass seeds I have also added 1kg of these to the mix this year.

To 1kg of this I add 15 ml of ‘The Good Oil for Birds’ shake well and leave overnight before feeding it to the birds.

Microwave Boiled Soft Food……………….Courtesy of Steve Paech

Generally there are two ways known to provide alternative seed sources for birds. Sprouted seed, which is considered higher nutritionally when carried out properly or soaked seed. The major benefit of soaked seed is that it makes the seed softer and easier for the parent bird to process. This then reduces the workload for the parent birds and provides feed that is easier for the chicks to digest. It may also replicate closer the green seeds usually found on the stems of seeding grasses.

Disadvantages of soaked seeds is the preparation time and the bacteria risks associated with the process of preparation. This is always a concern in our climatic area of South-East Queensland and Northern New South Wales with our hot humid spring, summer and autumn. Many are not confident in using disinfectants for the control of bacteria as this may harm the birds over a period of time.

Many years ago I read an article by Dr Danny Brown regarding boiling seed using a microwave oven. This has several advantages with the major advantages being ease of preparation and the saving of time. The only disadvantage is the lack of nutritional benefit provided compared to sprouted seed. This can be overcome by using additives in the boiled seed such as vitamins, trace elements, minerals, calcium supplements, breeding aids, egg & biscuit mixes, or parrot crumbles. The combination of additives can be altered to suit any birds or breeders requirements.

The type of seed mix can be modified to suit any collection of birds or to suit your own personal requirements. Place one cup of seed in a microwave dish with two cups of water. Place in the microwave for 8 to 10 minutes on high power. Observe it regularly to check for it boiling over. This produces seed with similar characteristics to soaked seed. The microwave boiling allows rapid penetration of water into the seed which reduces preparation time and prevents bacteria build up.

When microwave boiling is completed, strain the seed under running water to clean the seed from dust or dirt. Hot or cold can be used depending on the availability in your bird room. Let the seed strain for a further 10 minutes and place it in another container. You may then add any additives that you like to enhance the breeding birds feeding their young. Place the seed in the refrigerator for several hours to allow any additives to soak through the seed. Then feed to your birds enough to consume within the day. Always remember to clean out any uneaten feed at the end of the day, particularly in summer to avoid bacteria build up and all your hard work undone.

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