Birds are considered an exotic pet, but they make wonderful companions for people who are looking for an alternative to a dog or cat. However, the physiology of a bird is not the same as that of a furry pet.
As the director of sales, marketing and social for Volkman Pet Products, David Block is an expert on avian pet care. He shares his brand’s philosophy on what a pet parent needs to know in order to provide a companion bird with a long, healthy life.
Consumers are showing greater interest in organic products for themselves and their pets. What are the benefits of organic products for companion birds?
Various studies have proven that Organic foods are more rich in essential minerals and vitamins. The general concept of organic food appeals to today’s consumer from all aspects of healthier eating habits. Organic farming prohibits the use of pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones and climate destabilizing chemical fertilizers. Many people subscribe to any practice that is earth friendly and has a long-term sustainable effect that is positive. As we visit our local grocery stores, we see the expansion of Organic food selections, variety and styles by which organic food is packaged. Volkman Pet Products believes in this same core value thus we created Avian Organics: a clean, high quality all natural and a trustworthy brand. Volkman created four SKUs dedicated to a better method of feeding your companion bird. Avian Organics is available in canary/finch, large hookbill and two small hookbill, with and without sunflower to span numerous species.
What role does species-specific avian products play in a companion bird’s health and well-being?
Species-specific diets are critical in caring for your companion birds. Years of research and studies have identified the eating behaviors and nutritional needs by specie. There is no one size fits all when it comes to feeding your pet whether that be a feathered friend, dog, cat or small animal. Often the digestive track, nature’s design of the hookbill as well as the tolerance of any additional additives can lend to a more perfect eating pattern. The science behind the Avian Science line has taken that in consideration when creating diets for birds such as African grey where there is a need for plenty of beta carotene and calcium-rich food. We are one of the only companies that produce a mix formulated for eclectus (parrots). Based on bill size, size of the bird and the nutritional requirements for that specific species, Avian Science has an offering for your feathered friend.
What is one of the more popular trends among nutritionally balanced avian diets?
There is often debate whether a pellet diet or a seed based diet is more nutritionally sound for our birds. We firmly believe that a seed based diet feed with fresh high quality ingredients such as pineapple, coconut, banana and other nuts and treats will create a fun, frolicking approach to the birds eating pattern.
Have you ever noticed the variety of colors, textures and sizes of bird toys? Birds need to remain busy throughout the day and at mealtime. Offering your feathered friend a nutritionally based, colorful diet filled with sizes and shapes will keep your avian friend healthy and entertained. Volkman’s formulas are created so you can add fresh fruits and vegetables to lend to a complete diet. Volkman also suggests having fresh water readily available as this is obviously a key component of avian care.
How does product packaging help generate consumer interest in the avian pet sector?
Packaging is jugular to a successful brand on the shelf. Randy Schack, who our creative director, has done an amazing job in creating a simple, contemporary and award-winning packages that lend to the brands high quality image and presence on the retail shelf. There is an old saying that “eye” appeal is “buy” appeal.
I have to think that the package and its “pop” on the shelf has a major impact on the first reaction the pet parent has with an individual brand. Having a window in the package allows the pet parent to touch and feel the formula before even taking it home. However, the packaging must be supported by the quality of product that is inside the package.
In addition, having the package carbon dioxide flushed increases the product shelf life without harming the contents. Re-sealable Zip Lock packages have also offered not only a convenience to the pet parent but they also keep the product fresher longer. Volkman is very proud of the accolades we have generated and the awards that we have consistently received over the past five years at Global and SuperZoo. Volkman Pet Products has separated itself from the pack thanks to our high quality ingredients and eye-catching packaging.
Why is it important that the pet care industry, including retailers and manufacturers, educate consumers on the proper care of their companion birds?
Third generation owner David Gilbert and general manager Jason Tooze have been adamant about creating a trusted source for avian care. There is so much data on avian care today that we encourage looking carefully at the guaranteed analysis as to qualify the nutritional value of the individual product’s formula. There are many credible sources that can lend to this arena.
Volkman Pet Products is doing its part by creating a specific part of our website—which will be launching in early 2021—that will be designed to educate, inform and provide data that will guide pet parents through care for their companion birds. This education will cover not only on nutrition but avian behavior as well. For example, many birds often pick at their feathers and this could be a sign of a nutritional deficiency. With the launch of the educational platform on Volkman’s website, information on a wide range of topics will be offered, and the website will serve as a one-stop data center for all avian care questions.