Siskins, Goldfinches and most
species require lots of Oily seeds like the Sunflower and Niger seeds which are always
available to my birds in separate containers. Finch mix which consists mainly of Linseed,
Rape, Japanese, White and Red Hungarian millets, large White French millet and the Canary seeds are
also available in a separate container. Only recently I was allowed to import two out
of three types of very nutritious South American seeds, which are only used for human
consumption. Scientific names were provided to the Customs for Kiwicha (Amaranthus
caudatus), Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) and Canihua (Chenopodium pallidicaule). For Kiwicha
or as known in English Love-Lies-Bleeding (mighty name for a such small
seed) and Quinoa
were given green lights, Canihua not being on their Computer list wasn't allowed.
Checkout this site first on harvesting the Amaranth seeds http://www.vidaverde.co.uk/amaranthprocessing.html
Photos by: John Quatro
1Amaranth-(Kiwicha), 2-Quinoa, 3-Red spray
(Hungarian) millet, 4-large
Most of the South American seeds are already available in Europe and the USA, often
referred to as the Inca seeds
1-Amaranth, 2-Red spray-millet
Kiwicha (Amaranthus) is according to nutritionists more nourishing than meat and
1-large White millet, 2- Quinoa
Sunflower seeds are about 30% Fat, 20%
Carbohydrite and 20% protein, Niger seeds are from 30 to 40% Fat, 14% Carbohydrate and
about 18% Protein.
Sprouted Niger seeds should only be given in small amounts and should
be left in the Aviary for more than four hours.
1-Sunflower seeds as given to my birds (unhulled), 2-Niger seeds
Note: According to the Oxford Dictionary Vol. XI. unhulled means unshelled: Having the hull or husk
removed to the contrary of what most people believe
1-Linseeds, 2-Rape seeds
Linseeds (Flux) are about 40% Fat, 20%
Carbohydrate, 22% Protein and the Rape seeds are about 42% Fat, 15% Carbohydrate,
Poppy and Fennel seeds
Poppy seeds are about 45% Fat,10%
Carbohydrate, 16% Protein and Fennel (?)
Grass and Dark Lettuce seeds
Japanese Millet and Canary seed-mix
Photo 2.- Milk Thistle
Photo 2. the difference in size of Dandelion and Milk Thistle seeds
Niger and Milk Thistle seed are about the same size
In addition to the dry seeds above the same should
be offered in different stages of ripening when available.
Milk Thistle seeds are excellent food for young Siskins and Goldfinches
Milk Thistle, they know how to extract the seeds!
An alternative is to cut off the needles and
trim around the bottom of the pod so
that it doesn't close up while the birds are extracting the seeds. It is
best to trim the
top of the pod as well to help keep the aviary clean.
Sweet soft Corn is also favored with
all kind of Finches that I can
remember ever keeping, and that's: Siskins, Weavers, Singers, Waxbills etc.
Green seeds keeps birds healthy, I can't
complain about my birds health!
Peruvian Amaranth is something special in an Aviary
Milk Thistle, Small Hungarian Millet, Japanese Millet, Cos Lettuce, Lin seed pods
Jap Millet, Chickweeds, Sow-Thistle, Shepherds purse, Green Panic Grass
Small Hungarian Millet and Japanese Millet
Red Perilla (Perilla frutescens)
Read about Perilla http://altnature.com/gallery/perilla.htm
Locally grown Hemp seed are also available now
Foniopaddy - a miracle seed
Teazel pods and seeds
Chia (Salvia Hispanica L)
Another one of the world's most nutritious seeds
In comparison to other bird seeds Chia is small but well worth trying
I believe in some European countries and the USA Chia is well known for
it's nutritious value but cannot say if it's sold as bird seed.
Here in Australia Chia and Perilla seeds are available from:
Victoria - http://www.diggers.com.au/contactus.shtm
Queensland - http://www.allrareherbs.com.au/contact/
Read about Chia: - http://www.911healthshop.com/salba.html
1 ounce = 28.3495231 grams
3.5 ounces = 99 grams
28 ounces = 794 grams
Jap Millet, Evening Primrose, Green Rape seed pods, Milk Thistle in the middle
of ornamental plants that will attract insects.
Summer Grass (or that's what I think it is), Dutch
Iris growing near the birdbath, and a Sow Thistle
There's nothing better than a dish with clean water.
Birds eating seeding Summer grass.
Some of the birds will eat tree buds, especially
those native to northern hemisphere. In this case they almost destroyed the Nectarine
tree that is growing in one of my Aviaries. In the wild they eat
tree buds in late winter and early spring if there's no other food
available. Some breeders recommend tree buds as supplement especially if one
breeds larger finches like Crossbills and Grosbeaks. European and
American Goldfinches and many other finches will take fresh buds if offered.
In July I remove all birds from this green holding aviary to let the
trees and other ground seeding plants to regenerate. (Australia &
South America only, elsewhere in February).
Holding Aviary with seed producing plants and lots
of small insects, like Aphids etc. All of the young are released in here,
they quickly learn how to catch an insect or open up Milk Thistle seed pods.
Some are just for ecstatics like these Nasturtium variety
of colors, both the flowers and the leafs are edible. The flowers are
often used in salads and leafs in stews, but I was surprised to see my
European Greenfinches eating the flowers.
One of the best variety of Sunflower to grow for
bird is this, it produces
continuously throughout the year it looks good in the garden and you only
need couple of plants.
This 3 month old BS is definitely bad gardener!
Live Fly Pupae sells for $5 for 25 grams
Some Finches will eat live food, the easiest to
breed are the Mealworms but bird like the
Blue-winged Wrens and Madagascar Weavers or for that matter many other
species need a little bit of variety,
Crickets and Gentles are another option, and this is a breeding setup for
Crickets. Their life span is only 6 weeks, if they are kept in suitable
container with a little bit of humidity and some food (lettuce, spinach,
any peels ) they will lay eggs in the moist soil (blue container) and
thousands of young will hatch within a week or two. Commercially, they are
available in containers as in photo one in three sizes: small, medium and
All you have to do is select couple of pairs,
the Cricket on the left is a male and the one on the right with a long
tube protruding from her behind is a female (photo 1). The tube is used to dig into
the ground and lay eggs. A small blue container as in the photo 3 is ideal
for egg laying. The small jar on the left is full of fresh Lettuce, Carrot
peels and a piece of soft sponge cake. It is best to keep and breed
Crickets in an Aviary. It is virtually impossible to open up the lid
without them jumping out. Don't ever try this inside a house!
These are very small, approximately 2 to 3 mm
This is how I breed Gentles, they will
eventually try to crawl out and the birds will be there
waiting for them. I just don't know any cleaner way to do this!
Feeding Mealworms and Gentles
Mealworms can be bought and are always available
most good bird shops.
Black or Green Aphids are good source of food
Large Moth about 60mm, I have never seen a
specie this size, most finches love moths
but I wasn't going to harm this one. Probably a rare native
Little bit of fruit peel placed in a dish in an
Aviary will attract various flies and insects
Madagascar Weavers love flies and wrens
With young in the nest, Wrens can consume 100 mealworms in one day
White-winged Blue Wrens, probably the smallest and the
most beautiful softbills native to Australia,
are very rare in Aviculture! They will survive on egg and biscuit mix
but feeding them on a variety of live insects is highly recommended.