Bird Supply

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One of the things that makes the bird supply business unique is that it’s a much smaller segment of the pet supply business. The bird supply category represents about 5% of American households versus about 50% each for cats and dogs.

Catherine started her bird supply business in the early nineties selling primarily bird and parrot toy parts at bird shows. became on on line bird supply website in 2001 on the heels of 9/11 as bird show attendance began to ebb.

Bird supply is definitive as a niche market. What makes bird supply (at least doing it right) complicated is the challenge of offering product to serve the needs of more than 350 species of parrots. There are more than 90 species of Conure parrots alone.

The other challenge of the bird supply business is understanding the core issues of parrots which is the 60/40 rule for birds. Parrots in the wild spend 60% of their time seeking food and 40% of their time trying not to become food.

A good bird supply business should have enough variety to cover the vast range of birds. Keep in mind small parrots like Cockatiels can live 20 years. Large parrots like Umbrella Cockatoos can live 80 years or more. That gives a new meaning for the term “customer for life” to the bird supply business.

Because the size of birds and their beaks vary greatly, our bird supply website offers more than 200 varieties of bird and parrot food. On top that you have the water issue. Change a dog or cats water once a day and you’re good-to-go. Many birds like to dunk their food . Reason is birds produce no saliva and sometimes they just like to have the taste of moisten food.

Our bird supply website offers a huge selection of replacement water dishes and Lixit water bottles. We advocate spare bird cage dishes so as to have clean backs up on hand. Lixit water bottles keep drinking water clean but don’t allow for dunking or bathing. Some replacement water dishes are large enough for smaller birds to bathe in.

Returning to the food issue, a good bird supply website (like ours 🙂 offers bird seed, parrot food pellets, fruits, nuts, bird vitamins and mineral material like cuttle bones. Each of these categories need to be subdivided into bird size, the real challenge for bird supply.

Harrison’s organic bird food is offered in 5 sizes for every blend. There’s no hard and fast rules in bird supply as to what size birds like what size pellets. Larger birds like African Greys and large Macaws, like to hold parrot food with their foot. But then again, some smaller birds like Sun Conure parrots like to attack larger pellets.

We offer pellets to birds because they deliver maximum nutrition with minimal waste. Conversely we in the bird supply business like to say there are no pellet trees in the rain forest. So we offer seeds with various blends of fruits and nuts. The problem with a straight seed diets is that it’s generally high in fat. Much like their human counter parts who like say McDonald’s french fries more than tofu, our bird supply business tries to counsel bird owners on the balance of seeds pellets and fresh foods.

Shifting gears let’s talk about the “40% of their time trying not to become food” side of the bird supply equation. Although your birds are no longer in the wild, they still instinctively feel they may be attacked at any moment. Volumes can be written on bird cage placement alone. We feel a bird cage should be placed against at least two walls. This provides a basic sense of security for the bird.

As for the bird supply side of the equation the emphasis is placed on bird toys, and I use the term bird toys loosely. That because what you consider a bird toy, what a bird supply expert considers a bird toy and what a bird considers a bird toy can be quite different.

We used to bring our Indian Ringneck, Sunshine to the Birdie Boutique, filled with bird toys. One of his favorite bird toys was the cap to a Bic pen – go figure. Anyway, bird toys serve multiple purposes. We in the bird supply business like to say bird toys are the leaves of the trees your birds would be living in the wild.

By this we mean, you’ll always see birds in the wild in trees full of leaves, this helps hide the from predators (40% rule). Thus we recommend a minimum of 10 toys in the top ⅓ of the bird cage. The toys then offer not only engagement for the bird but they offer privacy. Your birds like the privacy many bird toys provide in a bird cage. This for the same reason you as a human like window coverings on your windows – privacy.

Bird toys can be bought or home made – your bird doesn’t care. They just want to be challenged mentally and have a reason to use their beaks for what is known as foraging. the act of looking for food (the 60%). In the wild birds spend hours a day flying to areas that may provide food and they use their beaks to “scratch out” things like insects from trees. The scratching also helps keeps the bird’s beaks conditioned.

We’ll talk about other aspects like bird cage perches and bird stands in our next installment of bird supply info.

Bird Cage – Windy City Parrot

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Much has been written about the bird cage. Almost every web site that tries to sell you a bird cage will offer information on how to purchase the right bird cage. Proper bird cage bar spacing, proper bird cage size – every bird cage website has an opinion.

At the end-of-the-day, much of the bird cage information you read boils down to just that, opinion. Am I starting to ruffle some feathers – good? The reality is, a reality we’ve built after selling a bird cage to thousands of pet bird owners.

So for the purpose of this discussion I’d like to start – at the beginning. That’s where, you know – we take the birds out of the sky and put them in jails usually no larger than 12 square feet. You’ll read all over the web, that “you should get the biggest bird cage you can afford.” “Bird cage bar spacing should be this dimension for this particular species.”

Great information but we’re dealing with animals that would normally fly from 20 to 100 miles a day searching for food. Making dozens of stops along the way. Yet the questions are asked repeatedly – what’s the best bird cage for my bird?

There’s a point here somewhere and that is, the right bird cage for your bird works for both you and the bird. Let’s start with some of the features that have to work for you. We recommend a bird cage no smaller that 32 inches x 23 inches for African Grey size birds. That’s 6 square feet. Add another square foot for bird cage seed guards.

So you have to find a place for this bird cage which we’ve now determined is the size of a small sofa. And the bars. We talk about bird cage bar spacing because of the bars – lots of them. One inch bar spacing – a 32 inch wide x 23 inch deep bird cage means you’re putting roughly one hundred powder coated steel bars in the room.

“Honey, I’m out of room in the garage, do you mind if I stack a hundred 5 foot long steel bars in the family room? I’ll make sure they’re arranged neatly so I can contain an animal with 10,000 feathers and a really sharp beak we’ve been thinking about getting?”

Put’s it in a different light, doesn’t it? So, let’s start with proper planning. have you measured the space available for the bird cage? Bird’s like privacy, can you put it next to one, or preferably two walls? Is your floor ready for an assault of uneaten bird food and bird poop? Unless you have a solid surface floor, we recommend placing a. office chair mat or a sheet of linoleum, to protect the floor.

Can your bird reach walls, window coverings or lamp cords from within the bird cage? Do you have a play top bird cage? Curtains can be quite inviting especially if accessible from the top of a play area. Proper bird cage placement will help keep your bird out of harms way. And your home from destruction.

The color of the bird cage is purely a human choice, the bird doesn’t care. The bird really doesn’t see the bars. We feel platinum (light grey) hides bird poop the best. That said, the color of bird cage bars will make a big difference in how the bird cage is seen in any given room. If you put a large black bird cage in a room with white walls, it will look bigger than a large white bird cage in a room with white walls. The flip side is a green bird cage will detract less from a green bird. A white bird cage will accent a green bird.

Ok let’s circle back to the bird cage size discussion. One of the examples I like to use when starting off talking about proper bird cage sizing is when I made a particular bird cage delivery. It was a far south western Chicago, suburb. Because of the distance and late Chicago rush hour traffic, I arrived about 9:00 PM.

I bought the 2 bird cage boxes into the the “bird room” for the new addition, a Military Macaw. The new bird was the sixth bird including a Hyacinth Macaw, 2 Greenwing Macaws and two Blue & Gold Macaws. Each bird had it’s own cage. What’s really a amazing was the room was not all that big!

The biggest bird cage in the room was a beautiful antique round cage for the Hyacinth. Couldn’t’ have been more than 30 inches in diameter – collective gasp now. How dare they put such a big beautiful bird in such a small bird cage!

No sooner had I leaned the two bird cage boxes against a wall, the woman whose home I was in, clapped her hands twice, barked out “bed time” and all the birds, except the new Military Macaw, hopped right into their own cage (all bird cage doors were open). It was amazing to watch.

Before I could spurt out the obvious question, she began to explain that she worked from home. The birds were let out every day about 7:00 AM when she got up put coffee on. They stayed out until about 8: PM ( a little later that night because of my tardiness) and were quite happy to enjoy birdie bed time in bird cages that were relatively confining. The point here, there is no right size for a bird cage, it’s really between you and the bird.

Java Wood Bird Play Stands

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The Java Tree is a natural tree perch made from a single coffee tree of 25 to 35 years of age when the tree becomes non-productive. Each Tree is handpicked as less than one percent of the coffee trees suitable.

These trees then go through a series of painstaking process and handcrafting till perfection. The finished perch becomes a beautiful addition to your home and most importantly, practical and fun for your bird and other creatures.

The Java Tree perch is a design of nature and of skilled craftsmen resulting in the world’s most beautiful bird perches and parrot perches. The spacing betweenbranches is ample to provide freedom for the bird to flap their wings and to explore between branches. 

The base is constructed with quality Kamper wood from Kalimantan milled into 3/4″ plywood bottom, resulting in the steel casters being almost out of sight. 

Various designs are used for the carvings around the base The Carved Java Tree has hand carved pictures of birds located on the bottoms of the base of the tree. 

The base is also constructed with quality wood from Kalimantan milled into 3/4″ plywood bottom, resulting in the steel casters being almost out of sight. Various designs are used for the carvings around the base.

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Why Parrots Need Bird Toys

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custom macaw long branch 425w Why Parrots Need Bird Toys
Busy beaks are happy beaks!

A minimum of ten toys should hang in a well-furnished cage. Parrots should not be easily seen in their cage. This their home and they should feel camouflaged as in the wild. Parrots naturally live in trees allowing them to be heard, not seen. Nests are built inside trees surrounded by more trees. Here, young are raised in the safety of nature’s cover.

Good toys have different shapes and textures for the bird to explore and destroy. At least three toys should make a bird work for food Working toys are toys that make them work for their treats or favored foods. Parrots in the wild will spend the majority of their waking hours, hunting and foraging. Toys stimulate their mind and help replicate actions they would execute in the wild. Proper toys and placement enhance a Psittacines life in captivity.

Parrots think they’re working for food while avicultural outsider sees birds playing with toys as birds; playing with bird toys. Your companion parrot is always thinking, and since nothing has changed in their minds, playing with toys is their job. It’s what Mother Nature gave them to survive, this need to forage. If you provide no means of foraging, your bird will seek other avenues. It may be furniture or personal affects. Usually because they are easy and plentiful targets. It’s important to encourage your companion parrot to work for food because it’s a natural behavior.

Three or four toys should be made of soft wood. Soft wood allows you to push your fingernail in forming an indent.

The next toys depend on the bird. Large birds like macaws and Cockatoos may have a huge appetite. Introduce hardwood toys into cages and perhaps toys with hard plastics so they can spend more time on the various pieces. Toys may be strung together with rope, leather, chain or a combination of materials.

The balance of toys should be easily shredded. Toys may be store bought or home made. Parrot toy parts are available and helps keep toy making economical. Soft wood, paper, leather and other textures are important for the bird to explore and destroy

Introduce pieces of food like broccoli or corn, using one of many commercially available or home made toy holders. The food on the toy holder rewards them for playing.

The more textures, shapes, sizes and colors the better. Diversity is important because in the wild your birds eat a diverse diet. An eclectic selection of toys helps maintain your feathered companions interest.

Watch a bird in its natural habitat and you’ll see them chewing soft bark and hard tree trunks. Toys made from compressed palm leaf or treated Yucca introduces hours of “pecking pleasure” Interactive toys made from Plexiglas are very effective at reducing birdie boredom.

The majority of toys should hang or be placed in the upper third of the cage. Introduce a few more to the middle third (without hampering access to food dishes) around a perch made from soft wood, comfortable to grasp depending on the size of the bird’s feet. The bottom third of the cage should remain relatively uncluttered to allow the bird to walk freely.

Spot-check toys and perches on a daily basis looking for frayed or sharp edges that may potentially harm your bird.

The more you change the toy and perch arrangement, the more you challenge your companion parrot. It helps them socialize and helps avoids “toy-phobia”
Parrots can develop phobic reactions to new people, new furniture, and even new birds.

Bird Cage Paint or Powdercoat Overview

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Is Paint or Powder Coat better for bird cages?
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Not an easy question to answer. First of all, the first rule of spending applies to bird cages as it does to furniture or automobiles. You-get-what-you-pay-for. Due to international market forces, today anyone with as much money as it takes to buy a new luxury car can go the China or Pakistan and order a few truck loads of cages on the cheap.

$250 Macaw cages or $35 Wrought Iron Conure cages are plentiful on the internet. We won’t sell them at We feel (and we’ve seen most of them up close and personal) cages you see on the internet at bargain basement prices can not be guaranteed to have toxic free metal and coatings. You-get-what-you-pay-for.

Powder coatingcan be a very durable finish. Having operated a power coat facility for 2 years I worked with both the electrostatic process and fluid powder bed. Lessons learned hands on enable me to be a stickler for powder coating quality. All out bird cage vendors meet criteria we developed over the past 17 years:

  • National recognition
  • National distribution
  • Stock is always available
  • Quality is consistent
  • Assembly of knock down cages can be accomplished by any one
  • Replacement parts are available
  • Customer service is responsive and problem solving
  • Producing cages for at least 10 years
  • Toxic free metals & coatings

Most of the cages at are powder coated. When we talk about painted cages the company we think of is Prevue Hendryx so I’ll let them explain how paint goes on cages:

“Painted finishes – should always be baked on during the painting process. To avoid future rusting, immediately use touch-up paint on any chipped or scratched areas.

All epoxy liquid paint, epoxy powder coatings, and all plating finishes used on Prevue cages are laboratory-tested to be “Child Safe and Pet Safe”… of paramount importance. Lead-based coating materials are never used.”

Mitch Rezman
Vice President
Windy City Parrot, Inc.

Hagen Tropican bird food Pellets

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Tropican is the only formulated food line that most birds will need in their lifetime, from a newly hatched baby chick to a mature, breeding adult. For baby chicks, Tropican Breeding Diet is a formula product with no guesswork, recipes or cooking required. Tropican High Performance Granules provide stressed or breeding birds with extra protein and minerals. For regular maintenance, Tropican Lifetime Granules or Lifetime Food Sticks ensure that fussy eaters get a full balanced diet. Since Tropican incorporates vitamins and minerals, the Prime Supplement is not needed. 

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Tropican High Performance Diets :: Tropican High Performance Diets are scientifically formulated as professional breeder diets, containing eight grains and nuts for optimum nutrition required during growth and reproduction life cycles of most Psittacines typically raised in captivity. Every batch of Tropican produced is tested for quality and nutrient control, plus fed to the HARI Flock prior to packaging and distribution.

When should I feed Tropican High Performance?

Parrots that are breeding ::  Breeding parrots need extra protein to trigger reproductive hormones and ensure a healthy egg production. The female also requires a little more nutrients in her diet when rearing young because she is eating for two, … or… three,…. or four.

Parrots that are Weaning :: While fledgling or juvenile parrot species do reach the outward appearance of an adult by the time they are weaned, their bodies on the inside are still developing and do benefit from a little extra ‘punch’ of nutrients during this stage of their life. Achieve greater weaning success during this stressful time by spoon feeding warm, softened Tropican High Performance Weaning Diet when making the transition from syringe feeding to solid foods. If the babies are fed Tropican Hand Feeding Formula, they’ll quickly recognize the same flavor and adapt to eating the softened Tropican on their own. We suggest feeding Tropican High Performance Tropican Weaning Diet for the first 6 months after weaning most parrot species, and up to nine months for large macaw species.

Parrots switching from a 100% seed diet to formulated diet :: Parrots that have been eating a primary diet of traditional parrot seed mix need a little boost to their amino acid profile, as well as other essential nutrients. They’ve been getting all the fat they need, perhaps too much. But, they are not getting a complete amino acid profile; therefore, they haven’t been getting the right protein. Tropican High Performance is made with ground sunflower meat and peanut kernel, a flavor those seed junkies will be sure to recognize and relish!

Try placing Tropican High Performance Biscuits in a foraging toy! Even the pickiest bird can’t resist a tasty morsel-if they’ve worked for it!

About Volkman bird seed company

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volkman logo 2 About Volkman bird seed company
About the Company

In continuous business since 1863,Volkman Seed Company is one of America’s oldest and most respected pet food firms. Ideally located in California’s sunny San Joaquin Valley, one of the world’s most fertile agricultural regions for premium-quality fruits,vegetables, nuts, grains and seeds. We manufacture a broad line-up of bird and small animal diets.

Still a family-owned business, we pride ourselves on high-end, reasonably-priced products. We have no need to satisfy short-term demands from stockholders, nor do we pay inflated salaries to a board of directors. New products are contingent only on good ideas and our policies are predicated on doing the right thing for all concerned.

If you need a custom mix, our turn-around is days, not months. In short, we’re just like you–fair-minded hard-working folks trying to do a good job for other good folks.

Our goal has always been to provide you, our customer with the best quality products at a competitive price. By doing this, you will be able to make a good return to your business and sell at a fair price to your customers. We are continuously working to improve our current product line, such as our Premium Wild Bird Line, as well as offer new products to you.

volkman images About Volkman bird seed company