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

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I was reading in a parrot related forum recently about the great pricing a website had because it sold all it’s bird food in bulk. In other words not in factory sealed bags with nitrogen injected to kill larvae.
Basically the food gets shipped to you in a Ziploc 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 fear is 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 are 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 birds immune system & redirects calories? Stress, molting, egg laying & the changing of seasons are some contributing factors.
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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?
Which is why we only sell bird and parrot filled in factory sealed bags. 

This insures the bird food comes from a sanitary environment, contains the ingredients listed and the bags and will have full efficacy through the expiration dated 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”

If you feel your birds are wasting bird food – please reach out to us for caged bird keeping management solutions that will save you money.

BTW – You can freeze 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. Freezing will also dehydrate seeds.
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written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing


He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

5 thoughts on “How Bulk Re-Bagged Bird Food Can Make Your Bird Sick”

  1. 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. 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?

  4. 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.

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