The King of Ponds              The Salmon Family Garden Center since 1968
Arbordale Nurseries & Landscaping

Arbordale Nurseries & Landscaping

The King of Ponds                         The Salmon Familu Since 1968


Quality Bird Food help birds survive cold weather

Posted by jeff on January 5, 2018 at 5:10 PM

Quality Foods Provide More Calories to Help Birds Survive the Cold Weather 

Buying bird feed can be confusing - there are so many different varieties! The following are some questions you may have about the ingredients in bird feed mixes. 


Q. Should I get German millet?

A. It's something to avoid and is less attractive to native birds than white proso millet.


Q. Do birds like Golden Millet, Red Millet, and Flax?

A.These seeds are often used as fillers in  packaged birdseed mixes, but most birds shun them. Waste seed becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, contaminating fresh seed more quickly. Make sure to read the ingredients list on bird feed mixtures, avoiding those with these seeds. In particular, if a seed mix has a lot of small, red seeds, make sure they're milo or sorghum, not red millet.  


Q.Why are Lyric and Meadow Ridge Farms  seed more expensive?


A. Those manufacturers bird seed is made from fresher, cleaner seed. Debris is left in many other brand's mixes as filler so there is less seed in the bag, making it appear less expensive.


Q. What is the difference between red and yellow milo?

A.While milo is not a completely inedible seed, it isn't preferred by birds. It is what is used in cattle feed lots, due to the fact it discourages birds from eating there. Milo is added to seed mixes to reduce price because it is relatively inexpensive. We find no research into the differences in attractiveness between red and yellow milo. In millet, red is less attractive than white due to the higher tannin content of the shell giving it a bitter taste. That MAY come into play here as well.


This is from Cornell Ornithology:


Q. Milo Or Sorghum in wild bird mixes?

A. Milo is a favorite with many Western ground-feeding birds. On Cornell Lab of Ornithology seed preference tests, Steller's Jays,  Curve-billed Thrashers, and Gambel's Quails preferred milo to sunflower. In another study, House Sparrows did not eat milo, but cowbirds did. Milo should be scattered on the ground or on low tray feeders. Stop offering it if you're subsidizing cowbirds.

Q. Is all Black Oil Sunflower the same?

A. In black oil sunflower, the lower quality brands are generally "field run" and are allowed to contain significant levels of debris. The non-seed material clogs feeders (especially tube feeders) and more importantly reduces the amount of seed in the bag.


Here is some additional information our bird feed suppliers: 

-"We triple clean all our mixes through aspiration. It goes through the process three times where all of the seed is blown at high speed to get the dust off."


-"We do not use any oils to clean our seed, as a lot of companies do. Oil makes the seed "look" shiny, but, the dust is still there, it is just masked by the oil."


-"The oil is also not good for feeders. It wears them out quicker, and, on tube feeders it makes the clear tube oily and it gets a milky film on it."


-"We are also very picky about the seed we buy when it comes into our facility."


Categories: Garden Center