African grey parrot parrot eating walnut from the shell

How Bulk Re-Bagged Bird Food Can Make Your Bird Sick

Last Updated on by Catherine Tobsing

I was reading in a parrot-related forum recently about the great pricing a website had because it sold all its bird food in bulk. In other words not in factory-sealed bags with nitrogen injected to kill insect larvae.
 
Basically, the food gets shipped to you in a plastic bag. We see a lot of bulk bird food sold in pet shops with those fancy dispensers used to sell all sorts of bulk foods, nuts & candy.

Our biggest concern is mold and Aspergillosis which is a disease found in the lungs of birds caused by the fungus Aspergillus. Aspergillus is found everywhere.
 
The bottom of bulk food bins is the perfect breeding ground for A. fumigatus and other flavors of the Aspergillus mold.
The fungus itself doesn’t cause the disease but if your bird’s immune system is compromised Aspergillosis can be triggered. What lowers your bird’s immune system & redirects calories? Stress, molting, egg-laying & the changing of seasons are some contributing factors.
 

We don’t sell bulk bird food in any form because we don’t want to make your bird sick. Aside from that not-so-minor detail if you’re buying re-bagged bird food you don’t know:

 

1) When it expires (or when it was produced)

2) If it’s been exposed to birds

3) If it’s kept in bins and the bins are not washed out and sanitized before each refill you don’t know what has been collected in the bottom of the bins. This is a breeding ground for molds that can potentially contribute to Aspergillosis (see explanation above)

4) You have no guarantee that fillers have not been added

5) You’re never really sure what you are getting & what you paid for. Bulk food usually doesn’t have an ingredient panel on the bag.

6) Unless their scales are certified by the local health department on a regular basis (as they are for restaurants) bag weights may not be accurate.

7) The country of origin

8) The manufacturer’s warranty which means you can’t get it replaced under warranty should you find the food compromised in any way.

9) What kind of storage building it’s housed in. Much re-bagged bird food comes from people who store their bird food in farm buildings. Many of these buildings have high concentrations of farm animal fecal particulate in the air – which is why they smell like barns.

 

 Ask yourself if saving a few dollars but potentially jeopardizing the health of an animal with one of the most complicated metabolisms on earth is worth it?
 
This is why we primarily only sell bird and parrot food in factory-sealed bags. 
 

This ensures the bird food comes from a sanitary environment, contains the ingredients listed and the bags, and will have full efficacy through the expiration date imprinted on the sealed bag.

 

Lastly, many of you who buy re-bagged bulk food will say “I’ve never had a problem with it” As someone who sells more than 10,000 pounds of bird food every month I promise you there may come a time you say “until now”.

 

BTW – You can freeze excess bird food but you’re taking a chance of the vitamins degrading.

 
If you’re going to freeze it should be in a chest freezer because they are colder than a standard refrigerator freezer. Note: Freezing will also dehydrate seeds.

Written by Mitch Rezman
Approved by Catherine Tobsing

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/55033bc8ea595b265159d5971c0e4d4889b4f83c21dadd27d6ca1359de163375.jpg I had purchased my cockatiel, Rodan, food from bulk for a while, no problems. Then…she got sick, the vet said it was an intestinal infection probably caused by the bulk food.

    One bottle of antibiotics and some probiotics later,. She recovered nicely. It has been three years and I will never buy untagged again.

    Thank you for sharing the much needed article, love you blog

    Donna and Rodan

  2. You put me hip many years ago to this and now I get all of my bird food for Kula from you-wouldn’t think of buying bulk.

  3. You put me hip many years ago to this and now I get all of my bird food for Kula from you-wouldn’t think of buying bulk.

  4. I don’t buy bulk food, but appreciate the article! After big issues with pantry moths years ago, I have a habit of freezing any bag of seed or pellet overnite when I get it home (then take it out). Has that been compromising the food?

    1. Refrigerator freezers just aren’t cold enough Lisa. You need a chest freezer to do the job. That said, when we open a bag of bird food at home (1 senegal and 4 budgies) we put the contents into a Tupperware canister and keep it in the refrigerator which keeps it really fresh.

  5. I don’t buy bulk food, but appreciate the article! After big issues with pantry moths years ago, I have a habit of freezing any bag of seed or pellet overnite when I get it home (then take it out). Has that been compromising the food?

    1. Refrigerator freezers just aren’t cold enough Lisa. You need a chest freezer to do the job. That said, when we open a bag of bird food at home (1 senegal and 4 budgies) we put the contents into a Tupperware canister and keep it in the refrigerator which keeps it really fresh.

  6. Thank you for your wonderful blog! I don’t feed from bulk for a lot of your reasons you mentioned. I used to many years ago, but found out about the dangers,plus a friend had moths in her home. I did about 25 years ago. That’s when I was told to freeze it.
    I freeze a small container full that that’s about a week. Old habits. I also noticed feeding a good quality of seed has made a huge difference in my B&G Macaw for the good. All my feathered kids are rescues with their own unique issues. Thankfully her worst issues subsided just due the seed. She had been on Zupreem since day one, so it has to be the seed.

    I also feed Zupreem Naturals to my Grey and macaws. My Blue Crown likes the fruity one. They each get a little seed in the morning.

    As s side note I follow keto thanks to my kids. I too am Jewish and know your struggle!

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