Spray millet is a great snack for all types of pet birds, but how healthy is spray millet, and how can you incorporate it into a balanced diet for feathered family members? The more you know about this grain, the better you can plan the proper diet for your pet birds.
About Spray Millet
Millet is a grass grain originally grown in Asia and Africa. It’s highly nutritious and is lower in fat content than other grains which makes it a valuable addition to any bird's diet.
Spray millet is also called finger millet and is simply grain that has been left on the natural stalk rather than removed. Seeds are packed into tight, round clusters, and individual sprays with hundreds of seeds may be several inches long. Depending on the type of millet, the spray may be reddish or a lighter tan color, and a shiny appearance indicates fresh healthy seeds
What Birds Eat Millet
Many different birds enjoy millet. In the wild, millet can attract finches, juncos, buntings, doves, cardinals, grouse, quail, and other birds. A wide range of pet bird species also enjoy millet, including:
Spray Millet is best for smaller birds with more delicate bills that can easily manipulate tiny seeds. Larger birds, such as macaws and cockatoos, don't tend to enjoy millet as much, though they will still nibble at the seeds.
Benefits of Spray Millet for Pet Birds
Allowing birds to pick seeds from a stalk and break their natural hulls satisfies a pet bird's natural instinct to forage. Nibbling exercises the bird's bill to keep it in good shape and helps relieve stress and anxiety which can calm your pet.
Offering pet birds spray millet is ideal when young birds are being weaned, as the extra calories and protein help ensure healthy growth. Nesting birds can make use of the nutrition as well as stress relief when they are molting. The deliciousness of spray millet can also entice sick birds to eat so they can recover more quickly.
If birds are a bit overweight, using spray millet to replace part of their regular diet will reduce the overall fat in their meals, helping with weight maintenance and control. Finally, because millet is highly alkaline, it is easier for birds to digest, especially if they have food sensitivity issues and have trouble with other foods.
Feeding Spray Millet to Pet Birds
While this is a nutritious snack, spray millet should only be offered occasionally as part of an overall balanced diet that includes seeds, pellets, fruit, and vegetables. To ensure healthy eating habits, a bird should not be given a millet spray until its regular meal is finished.
Spray Millet can be cut into smaller pieces to regulate how much millet birds eat. Clipping or tying a spray to the side of the cage or suspending it from the top near a favorite perch is a great way to engage birds and encourages exercise.
Spray millet can be messy, but it should not be placed on the floor of the cage, or it could easily become contaminated with feces and other unhealthy debris. Spray millet is widely available at pet stores wherever bird food is sold and can also easily be ordered online. Bulk packs can be more budget friendly, and unused sprays should be stored in a cool, dry, airtight container to stay fresh for the next treat.