Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bird Seed

I love watching birds at my backyard feeders. Our new house is further out and has a great mix of trees and open space, perfect for birds.  My feeders attract a wide variety of birds, and I have to fill them often.  Unfortunately, while Abigail can help me identify the birds from our kitchen window, she can't help me fill the feeders.  Bird seed either contains or is manufactured in a plant with peanuts and tree nuts.

Labeling guidelines do not apply to feed for animals.  Manufacturers of bird seed and pet food are not required to label for allergens, although lately, I have seen quite a few bird seed bags printed with an allergen statement.  To date, I've not seen or heard of a bird seed supplier that is peanut/tree nut free.  If you know of one, please leave a comment.

It's also that time of year when schools, preschools especially, make bird feeders using pine cones or bagels.  A lot of schools have stopped using peanut butter as the base for obvious reasons, but many teachers and care-givers forget about the risk of the bird seed.

I did some research, and if you do want to have your peanut/tree nut allergic child have some hands on experience feeding your backyard birds there are other options.  Here's a whole list of kitchen scraps like leftover rice, cooked pasta, over-ripe fruits, stale bread, dried cheese, etc., that can be fed to the birds.  Another neat idea is to use leftover bacon or other animal fat grease, strain it, mix it with the kitchen scraps to make suet.  I particularly like this idea.  Abigail can get involved, and I can save some money on bird seed.  The downside of having so many birds....they eat a lot of seed.

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