Low in fat and providing a quick source of easily digestible energy for active Quakers, millet is the core of many seed mixes and is approximately 60% carbohydrates. It does not promote obesity, and is a good choice to provide variety. Millet sprays (millet in the form of fresh or dried seedling heads) are particularly enjoyed by birds. Quakers can spend many hours investigating each spray and opening each tiny seed, as well as simply grabbing the entire spray in one claw and munching it away.
Several varieties of millet are available, and are all about equal in nutritional value. Another quick energy source for Quakers is canary seed, but it’s rather low in protein and needs to be supplemented. Groats, a milled variety of oats in which the hulls have been removed, are high in fibers and are also a great energy source for birds. They have received attention lately as a healthy food for humans because they are high in fibers and aid digestion.
Although they don’t provide quite enough variety to compensate for nutritional deficiencies, these three core seeds can provide plenty of good calories for a Quaker. Unless a bird is very obese or on a special diet, seeds can benefit Quakers in ways that other foods can’t. By educating ourselves about the qualities of different seeds, we can provide our Quakers with these relished tidbits without putting their health in jeopardy. And to avoid the evils blamed on high-fat seeds, you should know your birds and the diets appropriate to their care.
Fat is not automatically bad. It’s the single most concentrated source of food energy, which is important to a bird’s quick metabolism. This is especially important in a cold climate or in cold weather, when a Quaker may require more fat in its diet to maintain his high body temperature. He may enjoy celebrating the winter holidays with a nut or two!