Seed of an Idea

A Personal Evaluation by Bruce Dixon

A recent meeting of the Club was addressed by Russell Kingston and one of the many aspects that he touched on in his address was bird Nutrition. As I am always looking at ways of improving this aspect of my own birds well being, particularly over the winter months, I was drawn to something that he mentioned about a Wild Seed mix being Marketed out of New South Wales. I followed up on his comment and contacted the company who were packaging and distributing the Product -"Peppers Bird Products" who market the product under the name of Greens and Grains Tonic Mix. I subsequently ordered a 14kg bag.

I don't know that it's totally unique having a bag of seed delivered by Australia Post but it was the first time I'd experienced "Mail Order Seed"! To the companies absolute credit it arrived in first class condition. I understand, from talking to Mr Colin Pepper, that if the seed is being shipped interstate it is double bagged for security. The seed looked terrific when I opened the bag and I was struck with, what to my untrained eye, looked like a high percentage of wild and natural grass seed within the mix. I subsequently contacted the company again to try and establish what did constitute the wild seed component of the mix. They obligingly told me that the majority component was "Barnyard Grass" - or anything else that happened to be in seed around the farm at the time! I'm also led to believe by the company that the mix is made up on the following ratio: 80% wild seed. The remaining 20% comprising of : Canary Canola Linseed Niger Safflower It seemed, to me at least, fairly obvious by the weight and dimensions of the bag -being about the same size as a 25kg bag of Commercial seed- that possibly the bulk of the seed could well be the 80% claimed as being the lighter Wild Seed. It certainly looked that way.

The Price:
The price of the seed is not insignificant - $30 per a 14kg bag plus $16 postage door to door. But then I rationalised that at $3.29 per kg - or assuming I fed a 1kg a week to lets say a test group of 26 birds - that worked out at $0.13 per bird/ week. And as they would not be fed a kilo a week that figure could well drop to $0.06 per bird / week In the winter months in Victoria seeding grasses, as you'd know, are about as hard to find as a Tattslotto prize! Perhaps there could be a trade off on the basis of providing good quality wild seed throughout the winter months to keep the birds in good condition. That is until such time as our own indigenous seeding grasses begin to emerge in the spring. In other words this mix may be of major benefit, irrespective of price during the southern winters.

Birds Reaction:
Like blowflies around a lamb chop - they loved it! Sure there was a lot of "Flicking" as they sought out their favourite seeds but, as I wasn't planning on giving it to them every day anyway, I reasoned that "Today's Flicking, Was Tomorrow's Picking"! Small Dishes of the seed provided to them in the morning. were totally cleaned up by early afternoon.

Sprouting Potential:

Over a Heated Propagation tray in a stainless steel dish the seed soaked for a minimum of 12 hours prior to the introduction of heat. Again, as if to prove the point, as a result of the 12 hour soaking the wild seed showed up more obviously when wet. Being lighter than the more heavily based commercial type seed the higher percentage of this seed floated and stayed in suspension at the top of the soaking jar. And on the trial sample used. If the assumption was correct as to the floating lighter seed being wild I'd have to suggest that it may well have exceeded the 80% wild content claimed by the grower Taking into account that it was a Victorian Winter. After 36 hours, only a small percentage of what appeared to be the wild seed had started to sprout. I personally didn't find this conclusive. But for those who consider it important, they may well get a totally different outcome to the one that I achieved.

Will it Help produce any More Babies during the Season?

Frankly I really don't have a clue anymore than I'd have with anything else I feed them. However, if it helps in some small way to maintain them in good health and vitality over the winter months then I know I've given them every chance as they come into the Breeding Season. If I was to average out the costs involved In using this seed I'd run the risk of sounding like a Canberra based Economic Rationalist ! But at $0.13 per bird- High side or $0.06 per bird - Low side per, per week.

I think it's the seed of an idea.
        What do you Think?
        No this is not a Paid Commercial.
        I really did Pay for my Seed………… !!!

Copyright remains with the author.