Ask the Vet again

Voice Card  -  Volume 23  -  Drury Card Number 2  -  Wed, Jan 1, 1992 5:48 PM

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Here is my latest writing. Am I getting any better?

Ask the Vet
Drury R., DVM

1) Will seed moth webbing in handfeeding formula cause any problems with babies?

A: Both the webbing and the moths are digestible, so small amounts in your handfeeding formula should cause no major problems. However, the webbing could be a sign of another problem with the diet itself and you may be wise to replace the formula with a fresh batch.

The webbing is from insects hatching and growing in the food. Most of these insects come from the eggs laid on the grains while the plants are growing in the fields. A few may come from close exposure to contaminated foods. Insect eggs are found in every grain, INCLUDING foods for human use. The insects are harmless especially if eaten before the eggs hatch. Pesticide use to kill these pests is not as harmless to either you or your birds.

It takes several weeks in a warm environment for the eggs to hatch and the larvae to grow and make the webbing. The formula quality deteriorates during the same time. Many vitamins and fats become oxidized and rancid during storage, destroying their nutritional value. Because most diets for our pets do not have a date of manufacture or "use by" dates on the label, it is recommended that you buy only enough for 1-2 months use. To control the insects and prolong the shelf life of our avian diets, the food should be stored in a cool, dark, and clean location. Freezing the formula kills most of the insects and storage in the refrigerator slows down their lifecycles.

If you see webbing and/or the adult insects, consider replacing the diet. With your fresh supply, either freeze or refrigerate it to control the insects. Do not store the diet next to already contaminated foods. Most importantly throw out any unfrozen bird food that has been stored in your home for over two months.