Types of Feeds

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Extruded

Various ingredients are ground and mixed together in a meal or ground slightly and then forced under steam and pressure through a “cooking tube’. The cooked ingredients expand and are then forced through specially shaped dies. The resultant product is then cooled. Because the products produced under extrusion are dry and somewhat expanded, oils, fats and other sprays can be easily added. Many whole grains, such as soybeans, can be extruded under pressure and friction without steam. When products are extruded, they are cooked and thus become very palatable. However, this process crates heat which destroys natural enzymes and also produces a kibble which contains larger amounts of air meaning, fat consumption will increase. Where high fat, high protein and palatability are important, extrusion is a preferred method of manufacturing. Added fat, vitamins and natural enzymes are then sprayed on the finished product when it is still hot and the product “soaks up” those add ons during the drying/cooling process.

Pellets

Cooking at temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit usually destroys natural enzymes.

Bacteria

Various ingredients are finely ground and then forced through a pellet machine and die so that the end result is a compacted food. Because this is a simple compaction and pressure process, no real cooking occurs. There are two types of pelleting processes:

  1. Regular: Steam is injected in order to help lubricate the pellet, allowing the mix to be pelleted faster. In this process, high levels of heat occur.
  2. Cold Pressed: In this process, the mix is forced through the die using very little steam and heat thus helping to preserve naturally occurring enzymes.

In a “regular” pelleting process because of steam and heat, a more compact, harder pellet can be produced having fewer fines (less waste), but this process tends to destroy most natural enzymes and deteriorates vitamins sensitive to heat and moisture. The cold pressed’ process produces a coarser, less compacted pellet. Often there are more fines, but the process has less damaging effects on vitamins and enzymes.

Seed Mixes

These mixes are combinations of various seeds, fruits and other ingredients which are combined in a mixer and then packaged. Heat and moisture are not introduced, thus maintaining natural nutrient content. Because of varying size and weight of each ingredient, there is often “separation’ during shipping and handling. Therefore, it is always recommended that those types of mixes be stirred thoroughly prior to use.

Published in Bird Feed