Did you know that, if stored incorrectly, the nutrition in the pellet can degrade?
Pellets are analyzed for nutritional composition at the time of their production. They are shelf stable, meaning they don’t quickly spoil, but that doesn’t mean their nutritional value will stay the same forever. When stored improperly, the nutrients in pellets can break down, becoming unavailable for your budgie. Storing your pellets properly is crucial to maintaining their nutritional value.
This is especially important for budgie owners because many of us only have 1-2 budgies and consume very every day because of their small size. Pellets often come in 1lb or 2lb bags which can take weeks or even months for a budgie to finish so it is important we store it properly to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
Oxidation can break down and degrade nutrients.
Even though we need oxygen to stay alive, nutrients that are exposed to oxygen may undergo a chemical process called oxidation, rendering them unusable. To limit oxygen circulation, always press the air out of the bag before zipping the bag tightly.
Constant exposure to light can also degrade nutrients.
Although we don’t really think of it in day-to-day life, light is photomagnetic radiation and a form of energy. Just like oxygen, too much light exposure can cause nutrient degradation. Some companies, like Harrison’s Bird Foods, choose to make their bags opaque for this reason. Store your pellets in their original bag inside an opaque container or in a clean cabinet, rather than somewhere like a windowsill.
Nutrient breakdown occurs faster at higher temperatures.
Nutrients degrade slower at lower temperatures, so to preserve the nutrients in your pellets, store them at room temperature or even in your fridge or freezer. Freezing has the added benefit of keeping pests at bay! If you decide to pop your pellets in the freezer, avoid letting them thaw repeatedly. Remove them from the freezer, quickly take what you need, and put the bag back before they get a chance to warm up.
Exposure to water is a quick way to reduce the quality of your pellets.
Mold and bacteria tend to grow faster in moist environments. Keep your pellets somewhere dry, and avoid introducing water into the bag by using a dry scoop or spoon each time. If you are freezing or refrigerating your pellets, make sure to squeeze all the air out of the bag before putting it away. The air in your fridge or freezer contains high levels of moisture which can condense on the pellets.
Now you know how to store your pellets to keep them fresh and nutritious. But what if your parrot refuses to eat them? Check out our primer on introducing pellets to birds that are used to seed.