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Spreads for web 4

by John McMichael

After I purchased my first parrot in the early 1980's, I started visiting stores catering to parrot owners.  I was intimidated by the variety of seeds they sold, and this was especially true for the seeds sold under the generic name 'millet'.  In the era before formulated diets for parrots, the preferred name for pellets, stores carried many different kinds of seeds and most still do.  These usually included several millet type seeds and I knew next to nothing about any of them.

It was especially confusing that several were called red millet, one of which I would now call sorghum seed.  Furthermore, there were also a large number of commercial, usually vitamin fortified, seed mixes containing different proportions of seeds and often some millets.  So, whenever an aviculturist said they fed their birds millet seed, I was at a loss to know just what seed they were referring to.  The reason for this is that the term 'millet' is a general term applied to nearly any small, usually round, grass seed, however, the one thing they have in common is that they are generally farinaceous, that is, starchy.

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