Preparing an Egg-Mix & Other Soft Foods

The following information should help you to create some valuable supplements for your birds, but keep in mind that supplementing is only effective if the birds eat the supplements. See Introducing New Foods to learn how to encourage your birds to try new foods.

The Egg Mix

The basis of an egg mix, as the name implies, is an egg. I prefer to use a hard boiled egg that has been crushed shell and all. The eggshell is an excellent source of calcium in the form of calcium carbonate. It is one of the least expensive and most effective ways of supplementing calcium into the diet. Any seed-based diet is likely to be deficient in calcium, as calcium and phosphorus need to occur in a 2:1 ratio (twice as much calcium as phosphorus), and seed can have 9 times as much phosphorus as calcium!2 This is why the eggshell is so important to include in the mix. Below are ingredients and instructions for creating a custom egg mix to meet Boiled eggyour finches' needs. Egg mixes and other soft foods can be used to supplement the diet and are especially important for molting and breeding birds. They should be provided several times daily to breeding birds to be used as a nestling food, and provided to non-breeding birds at least 3 times per week, if not daily. Increase feedings of egg mix for molting and growing birds, especially if they are on a seed-based diet.

Ingredients

Sunflower seeds
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ tsp. hulled, unsalted sunflower seed kernels, finely ground
  • optional: additional safe fruits and vegetables of your choice, chopped fine

Directions

  1. Hard boil the egg. (The best way I have found to boil the egg is to bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, add the egg to the water, and then reduce the heat on the stove to medium-low. Allow the egg to sit in the hot water for approximately 15 minutes. When you remove the egg, cut it in half to check the color and consistency of the yolk. A perfectly cooked egg has a light yellow yolk that is cooked all the way through; an overcooked egg has a green tinge on the surface if its yolk, and an under-cooked egg will have a yolk that is not cooked all the way through. Adjust the cooking time appropriately to result in a "perfectly boiled" egg.)
  2. Mash the entire egg, shell and all, until it is ground fine. I highly recommend using a coffee bean grinder to do this job, as it saves time and labor. It is also the perfect tool to grind the sunflower seed kernels and other fruit and vegetable items for your birds.
  3. Mix the ground sunflower seeds into the egg mash.
  4. Optional: mix or sprinkle any additional bits of fruits and vegetables into your egg mix.
  5. Serve in small treat cups. Any fresh, left over mix can be frozen or refrigerated for later use, but should be discarded after 3 days time.
  6. Remove and discard of the mix you provide to your birds within 4 hours to prevent spoilage.

Makes approximately 70 servings for non-breeding birds (as each non-breeding finch will eat approximately ¼ teaspoon of egg mix daily).

Nutrition Info

Adapted from information provided by the USDA National Nutritional Database for Standard Reference (2004). The "Nutrition Facts" table below does not include any of the optional fruits and vegetables you may have added to the mix; it is based solely on the egg and sunflower seed "base."

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size¼ tsp. (.8g)
Servings Per MixAbout 70
 
Amount Per ServingEgg & ground sunflower seeds
Calories1.5
 
Total Fat 0.11g
Cholesterol 3mg
Sodium 0.88mg
Potassium 1.37mg
Total Carbohydrate 0.02g
Dietary Fiber 0.007g
Sugars 0.01g
Protein 0.1g
 
Vitamin A4.2 IU
Vitamin C0.001mg
Calcium30.44mg
Iron0.013mg
Vitamin D0.01 mcg
Vitamin E0.03mg
Thiamin0.002mg
Riboflavin0.003mg
Niacin0.003mg
Vitamin B60.001mg
Folate0.47mcg
Vitamin B120.008mcg
Phosphorus1.7mg
Magnesium0.31mg
Zinc0.01mg
Copper0.001mg
Manganese0.001mg
Selenium0.26mcg
Pantothenic acid0.014mg
Vitamin K0.003mcg
Nutritional Value of a Large (50 grams), Whole, Hard-boiled Egg (without shell)
Energy78 kcal
Protein6.29 g
Total lipid (fat)5.3 g
Carbohydrate0.56 g
Total dietary fiber0 g
Sugars0.56 g
Calcium25 mg
Iron0.59 mg
Magnesium5 mg
Phosphorus86 mg
Potassium63 mg
Sodium62 mg
Zinc0.53 mg
Copper0.007 mg
Manganese0.013 mg
Selenium15.4 mcg
Vitamin C0 mg
Thiamin0.033 mg
Riboflavin0.257 mg
Niacin0.032 mg
Pantothenic acid0.699 mg
Vitamin B60.06 mg
Total folate22 mcg
Vitamin B120.56 mcg
Vitamin A293 IU
Vitamin E0.52 mg
Vitamin K0.1 mcg
Cholesterol212 mg
Nutritional Value of 1½ tsp. Dried Sunflower Seed Kernels (4.75 grams)
Energy27 kcal
Protein1.08 g
Total lipid (fat)2.36 g
Carbohydrate0.89 g
Total dietary fiber0.5 g
Sugars0.12 g
Calcium6 mg
Iron0.32 mg
Magnesium17 mg
Phosphorus34 mg
Potassium33 mg
Sodium0 mg
Zinc0.24 mg
Copper0.083 mg
Manganese0.096 mg
Selenium2.8 mcg
Vitamin C0.1 mg
Thiamin0.109 mg
Riboflavin0.012 mg
Niacin0.214 mg
Pantothenic acid0.321 mg
Vitamin B60.037 mg
Total folate11 mcg
Vitamin B120 mcg
Vitamin A2 IU
Vitamin E1.64 mg
Vitamin K0.1 mcg
Cholesterol0 mg



Other Soft Foods2

Orange juiceGrind 1½ cooked eggshells or an equivalent amount of oyster shell into a fine powder (calcium carbonate). Soak a monkey biscuit (ZuPreem and Science Diet are quality brands of primate biscuits) in either orange juice or warm water until soft. Knead the biscuit into a dough ball and combine it with 1 teaspoon of shredded cheddar cheese and all of the calcium powder you made. Add in 1 teaspoon of your favorite avian vitamin and mineral supplement. Optionally, you may wish to mix small portions of minced fresh greens or yellow meaty vegetables into the dough. Roll the dough into small balls and serve to your birds. (To make a larger Grated cheesebatch of this soft food, soak 30 monkey biscuits in orange juice or water until soft, add in ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese, 100 grams of ground-up eggshell or oyster shell, ½ cup of an avian vitamin and mineral supplement and roll into small dough balls. Surplus quantities can be frozen until needed. Serve thawed with fresh, finely chopped vegetables.)
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