Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Outer Sydney Australia
Thanked 235 Times in 170 Posts
Rep Power: 36
Thanks Abby. As a teenager at school I was pretty high up in Home Science. There were only 2 of us in the school who were in Advanced Level. This involved alot more theory of cooking rather than just cooking. I actually came 3rd in the State in my final exams. At one stage I toyed with the idea of becoming a dietician.
When I started thinking about making my own mix I started researching the products in the mixes on the market already. I checked them out for their nutrient content and also the nutrient content of flower pollen and nectar which what lorikeets mainly eat. Knowing what the basis of most mixes was I checked with the manufacturer of the High Protein Rice Cereal and made the decision to go with the fruit based rice and mixed cereals that they also had. These are cereal mixes with dehydrated fruit that is then powdered and added to the cereals. Things like Mixed and Banana, which is mixed grains with dehydrated banana. Apple base, which is rice cereal with dehydrated apple. Fruity muesli etc. They were lower in protein than the High Protein and by the time I added all the other ingredients the protein level of the mix came to around 20% which is what I was looking for.
When researching flower pollen I found that it was the highest source of natural yeast in the wild and contained the Vitamin B Complex Group. The equivalent to that that was available to me was Brewers Yeast. It contains the whole of the Vitamin B Complex Group, about the only thing that does. So I added that to the mix. The Vitamin B Complex Group controls the Immune System, Central Nervous System and the Reproductive System.
For animal protein which is also required by the birds I went with what the other mixes had, which was Skim Milk Powder and where they only used Dehydrated Egg Yolk I used Dehydrated Whole Egg as the bad parts of the Yolk are counteracted by the good in the white.
So these were the main things that I was looking for. I just had to work out quantities per batch and after a bit of trial and error over what the birds liked best and what I considered best, my mix was born. It has changed slightly over the years mainly with the addition of some sultanas into the mix. The birds just love it when they get the occassional sultana in the mix.
I even tested it out with my seed eating birds, giving it to them as a dry powder with the idea of using it as a supplement when they are breeding, particularly when chicks are in the nest. All of them loved it. I found that they would give lots of it to the babies they were feeding and because it is very easily digested the babies tended to to do alot better than ones not getting it. Consequently I was getting slightly bigger, stronger babies. I used this in place of giving them Egg and Biscuit Mix.
So that is the basis of how my mix came into being. After 12 months of using the mix (before I started selling it) in the bird shows I entered I was un-beaten for the first 4 years often gaining not oly 1st place, but second, third and even fourth at times. It wasn't until my mix had been selling for at least 12 to 18 months that other people started to be able to compete with me.
I also tested it with birds from out of the wild. Usually birds that had been injured and could not be returned to the wild. And found that they started eating it straight away. This was opposed to other mixes on the market that may take the wild birds 3 days to start eating. So the only thing I could think of was my mix was closer in taste to what they eat in the wild.