Dust has been unwelcome in our bird diets since 1937 when Haith's was established and started to tackle the challenge of quality feeding of birds; however, our disdain for it has grown exponentially since Professor John E. Cooper FRCVS shared his findings that, “dust is harmful to a bird’s respiratory system and extraneous husk can damage delicate tissues and allow entry of pathogens.” Now, dust is definitely a four-letter word! We’re waging war on it as it has no place in our SuperClean(TM) bird diets or precious avian collections.
We’d like to encourage bird curators to give dust, debris and extraneous husk the cold shoulder, when it comes to sourcing healthy bird seed diets. Our research illuminates that far more bacteria and fungi (in terms of both numbers of colonies and species of organisms) grow from a dusty, dry seed mix than would be expected from a properly cleaned diet.
Our SuperClean seed processing involves scientific quality control (QC) tests which – to our knowledge – are not being conducted by other bird food manufacturers. With the help of Professor Cooper we have introduced a testing regime to monitor the health of our seeds and seed mixes at various stages of their lifecycle; for example, our production team at The Bird Food Centre conduct in-house tests to quantify odour and appearance using microscopy and flotation tests to identify the enemy – dust. It arrives in all shapes and sizes.
These samples are then despatched to Professor Cooper who QCs our products using laboratory investigations. We shared an image of an agar plate at this year’s BIAZA AGM and delegates were surprised to see how much bacterial and fungal growth can be found on a dusty seed mix.
We invite the BIAZA Community of “good zoos” to come and see us at The Bird Food Centre in Lincolnshire and find out how we’re taking our QC research to new levels. We’re considering holding a nutritional seminar soon – watch this space. It’s our duty to pioneer quality control – there’s little point in uncovering better ways of doing things if one isn’t prepared to share them and that’s why we’re busy telling the bird world that dust is a four-letter word!
This is such an exciting time in our history for Haith’s; now that we have the key to providing safe bird diets firmly in our grasp, we’re setting our sail in the direction of diet creation, using robust nutritional analysis with research provided by someone we admire greatly, Andy Beer, and the RZSS team.
It’s a new dawn, a new day, and a new life for bird diets and we’re feeling good!