Feeding Fresh: The Reason For the Season

Fresh Food In The Wild. Auscape/Getty Images

One of the most natural ways to feed your birds is to feed them primarily what is in season. These are the foods that are the most nutritious mostly due to the fact that they haven’t been stored for very long and they still have the fresh nutrition intact which hasn’t been degraded by time. 

And if you think about it, birds in the wild eat this way year round. They have to eat what is available to them and if a particular nut or plant is growing in plentiful amounts at the particular time, they will be eating a lot of it.


1997 the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in London, England conducted a study on the nutritional content of cow’s milk in the summer as opposed to winter. What they found isn’t surprising but it does illustrate the importance of paying attention to feeding our birds with seasonal foods. They discovered that cow’s milk was higher in nutrition during the summer months due to the fresh diet of grass they were eating. 

A study in Japan found similar results in spinach that was harvested in the summer as opposed to the winter. It had three times the Vitamin C content when harvested in the summer. Three times!

Our birds need that nutrition and with the way food is being shipped from all over the world, it’s sometimes easy to forget what is in season and what is not. But one way is to purchase food that is plentiful at that time and is less expensive than other times of the year. 

In the spring, lettuces and greens come into the markets as these plants are beginning to sprout and grow.

Some of these foods that are in season in spring are Swiss chard, spinach, Romaine lettuce, fresh parsley, and basil.

Summer is a bonanza for wonderful fresh fruit like berries, cherries and tree fruits. Other good selections are strawberries, apples, pears, and plums. Vegetables to include in your bird’s diet include summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and corn.

Cilantro is at it’s peak in the summer so this would be an excellent choice for a flavoring. 

 In the fall, the squashes and root vegetables are plentiful and at their peak as are carrots, sweet potatoes.

Visiting a local market might give you an idea as to what is being grown locally and what is available at the moment. These markets are an ideal barometer to learn when things are coming out of the fields and farms. I highly recommend organic for your birds if you have access to it. The more natural the food, the better it will be for your birds. 

There is an interesting by-product to buying this fresh produce for your flock: Your own health and eating habits just might improve. By simply having this wonderful food around your kitchen, you will most likely improve your own diet. 

I have gotten some interesting responses from people who began changing their bird’s diet to a fresher and healthier one. More than a dozen people have told me that by changing their bird’s diet to one with leafy greens and fresh vegetables and fruit, they actually lost weight. Why? Because when they brought this food into their kitchen, they began to eat it as well. The result in some of these people was a 20 pound weight loss in one woman and 25 pounds in another.

All because they had switched their birds to a healthier, more nutritious diet

And don’t forget about the money you save by feeding your birds seasonally. Food that is in season is generally less expensive when it is in season. It is plentiful and therefore cheaper. So if that isn’t a reason to try this, I don’t know what is.

Learning to shop seasonally for your bird will not only provide her a better diet, it will perhaps save you some money.