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Nutrition Gains Popularity Among Bird Breeders

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While the market for bird breeding may be a small one, Mitch Rezman, vice president of Windy City Parrot Inc., said there is a number of tried and true, must-use items that help make the process go smoothly.

“Day-to-day breeding for a bird hasn’t changed,” Rezman said. “You give the smaller birds a wooden house to live in and a cage for the larger birds so they can’t break through the house.”

Windy City Parrot also stocks different hand-feeding formulas, which can be used to feed the birds when they are born. One of the brands they stock is ZuPreem, which offers two different feeding formulas, the Embrace hand formula and the Embrace Plus.

The Embrace hand formula uses moderate amounts of protein, geared toward smaller birds, Gail Shepard, director of marketing at ZuPreem said, while larger birds, such as Amazon parrots, macaws, hawkheads, Asiatic parakeets and African greys would use the Embrace Plus, which has moderate amounts of protein and fat.

Once the bird’s old enough and can start breeding, there are different formulas available to breeders.

Preemie sells the AvianBreeder FruitBlend with Natural Fruit Flavors Diet and the AvianBreeder Natural Diet.

“The fruit blend has the different colors and shapes which some breeders like to use because it stimulates the bird and helps with the interaction of the bird,” Shepard said. “The natural is the same with nutrition; it just doesn’t have the colors or shapes.”

Both products have increased levels of protein, fat and calcium aids because the bird is using more energy, which they need to stay in good condition.

The fruit blend is also one of ZuPreem’s top sellers for maintaining a bird’s health and can be used as a compliment with other popular feeding formulas.

“The products have been the same for a while, probably 15-20 years,” Shepard said. “There hasn’t been much need to improve it or change it because we know already it’s a good product and we work with a lot of breeders all-around the world that say the same thing. What is changing is where these products are selling. Companies say they are now shipping to more retailers all over the world.”

Drs. Foster & Smith is a retailer that carries all things related to bird breeding and other bird supplies including a partner program to help organizations and breeders.

“We do provide the Drs. Foster & Smith Business Partner Program to non-profit organizations, like animal shelters and rescue groups, as well as to professionals, like breeders,” Mary Ellen Kaminski, merchandising manager for Drs. Foster & Smith, said. “Under this program eligible organizations and professionals can receive 10 percent off every day on qualified orders over $250.”

The largest selling items related to breeding that Drs. Foster & Smith carry are its various food options. One of the most popular, is the hand feeding diets from Kaytee, ZuPreem and Lafeber. They have also started selling Higgin’s New Intune Natural Hand Feeding Diets.

Other top items breeders are snatching up are economy cages, such as the Prevue Stack & Lock Breeder Cage and the American-made metal cages, such as Prevue’s Model 124 and 125 cages.

“Some of the newer items we have been encouraging breeders to use are CareFresh Ultra bedding which avian veterinarians agree make it easy to examine changes in bird droppings,” Kaminski said. “Another unique item for customers with large aviaries is the U brackets which boast versatile use, perfect for creating interactive and enriching environments.”

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