another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

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another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

Post by Dave » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:20 pm

Almost every Canary seed mix I've seen has rapeseed (Canola). I don't know why that is, other than some historical system of raising Canaries. We just do it because it's been done before.

My Canaries don't each much of it. Robert Black, in his 'Nutrition of Finches and other Caged Birds' said that he fed Canaries a variety of seeds free choice, in equal amounts. The birds ate the seeds in this order:
Flax
Sunflower chips
Canary seed
Millet
Rape

I grow rape seed sprouts outside, in dishes of soil, and no wild birds and not even squirrels bother the dishes. Once the seed is sprouted, the Canaries gobble it down.

So the question is: WHY is rapeseed included in almost all dry seed mixes for Canaries?
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Re: another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

Post by Icearstorm » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:21 pm

Dave

I'd guess that it's cheap and looks like small birds could eat it, kind of like how they add milo to wild bird seed mixes to act as a filler. The companies can probably get away with it because most buyers think their birds would eat it, but don't bother checking to see if that is actually the case.

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Re: another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

Post by Sheather » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:27 pm

None of my canaries have ever eaten the rape seed, it sits at the bottom of every dish and the birds would probably starve before trying it. They'll finish a bowl of pellets before one rape seed.
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Re: another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

Post by Dave » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:30 pm

Icearstorm Sheather I just wish I knew why seed mix companies include it in Canary mixes. They don't eat rape seed, and that is my I mix my own. They only eat rape seed if it is sprouted.

I wonder if a century or two ago, rape seed was different? I know that most rape seed is now Canola, a specific type of rape seed. I purchased some actual rape seed (not Canola) but it didn't make much difference.
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Re: another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

Post by wildbird » Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:13 pm

It adds weight to the package, just like adding unwanted pellets to a seed mix. In wild bird seed, I have even found tiny pieces of stone.

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Re: another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

Post by sparrowsong98 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:51 pm

My finch doesn't eat her rapeseed either. Once she was loudly complaining because she was out of seeds she liked (She cries if she finds anything unsatisfactory). The only thing left was the rapeseed.
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Re: another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

Post by isobea » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:34 pm

Every year there seems to be a relatively short period in spring when my birds do eat a lot of rape seed. The rest of the year they pretty much ignore it just like your birds. I'm assuming that rape seed fills some nutritional need during the spring. I've wondered about that for many years, never found an answer.
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Re: another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

Post by Dave » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:57 pm

isobea, that is an interesting observation. Thanks for posting it. I see other eating habits change, seasonally, but I didn't notice this one. I have no doubt you're correct.
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Re: another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

Post by isobea » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:22 pm

Dave - another observation: suddenly my birds are eating lots of canary seed. This started about two weeks ago and happens every fall.
I have a mixed aviary with European goldfinches, lavenders, shaft tails, a blue capped cordon bleu, a hybrid parrot finch and a canary. During the summer months oat groats were high on somebody's wish list. I offer several different seed mixes all year round to accommodate their changing tastes/needs.
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Re: another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

Post by Dave » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:27 pm

isobea, that is why I don't use mixes. I have enough room that I can offer each seed in a different dish. That makes it easy to see what is the favorite at any given time. It also cuts down on the seed flip, although sometimes they still do that. I don't know what they're looking for. The perfectly shaped seed, perhaps?
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Re: another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

Post by isobea » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:33 pm

Dave - the leftover seed either goes to the wild birds (in a tube feeder) or I sprinkle it over one of my flower beds and let it germinate.
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Re: another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

Post by Sheather » Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:23 pm

My male canary has been eating a lot of rape in the past couple of days which I have never seen before. Eating it before the canary seed, after the hemp. Usually it's ignored.
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Re: another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

Post by Dave » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:25 pm

Sheather, that brings up a question: do you trust your birds to eat a correct diet? That is, if you offer different types of food, do you trust your birds to balance their own diet?

Lots of owners seem to force their birds to eat what the owner thinks is a proper diet. I am in the opposite camp.

Like you, I've seen times when an aviary with 50+ birds will gobble down one seed or another, or suddenly not eat many greens etc. Then a few weeks later that favorite food seems to lose favor.

Science tells us that birds don't have much in the way of taste or smell, so I'm not sure that the flavor has a lot of importance in the bird's selection. Unless you're raising Kiwis, or Condors or Albatross.

Except that I've never gotten finches or Canaries to eat chicken crumbles, even when mixed with boiled egg. ? ? ?
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Re: another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

Post by Dave » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:49 am

A follow-up on rape seed for Canaries:

As it turned out, my Canaries started eating rape seed (Canola) about the first of the year. They continued to eat quite a bit through the pre-breeding and early breeding season. Then the amount they ate diminished in April--even while they had chicks.

Now (early June) they eat some but not very much.
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Re: another observation on rapeseed (Canola)

Post by wildbird » Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:45 pm

If I could separate it from the finch/canary mix, I would send it to you. I have finches, and they don't ever eat it. I don't know why they just don't make that a separate seed to buy instead of mixing it with everything.

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