How are Harrison's Bird Foods made?

High quality ingredients

Harrison's uses only Certified Organic, Non-GMO Verified whole ingredients in their foods.

The organic nature of the products is important in helping to ensure the good physical and mental wellbeing of your birds - as well as benefitting the environment.

The use of whole ingredients has a number of benefits. Whole grains maintain their antioxidants, primarily in their seed coat and germ. These phytonutrients are primarily phenols that work with the body’s immune system to ward off disease. HBD’s product flours will not expand during extrusion, because of these retained properties.

By contrast, many other bird foods use ingredients which are 'byproducts'. Using steam, high pressure, or solvents, seeds are treated to separate high-value components, such as oils, vitamins, antioxidants, and nutraceuticals. What is left is classified as a byproduct. Corn used for ethanol, various fibers and simple carbohydrates are reconstituted in various feeds. These starches are further bleached, colored and offer the ideal base for extrusion caramelization, giving a light fluffy finished product. The resulting flours act like purified sugars, digest fast and overwhelm the homeostasis of the nutrient system.

Harrison's use only whole ingredients, and to stabilize their natural enzymes, they toast the grains and legumes in an infrared oven. This allows the items to be treated as individual ingredients and keeps many of the fragile nutrients stabilized in the end product.

Each batch of ingredients is tested and certified free of mycotoxins, GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), melamine, and bacterial contaminants.

Extrusion not pelletization

The Harrison's Bird Foods nuggets in the Coarse, Fine and Superfine products are made by a low temperature extrusion process. This differs to many other products on the market which are 'cold pressed' or 'pelletized' rather than extruded.

Pellets require steam, pressure and a binding agent (such as clay-like products) to bind the grains into a firm pellet. This is an economical process, but the pellets are less digestible than formulated diets produced by extrusion. The also often have a more crumbly texture.

Harrison's Bird Foods are actually 'nuggets', produced by a low temperature and low pressure extrusion process. Extrusion is a “cooking” process that resembles baking; it sterilizes the product, prolongs the storage time, and increases digestibility. The toasting and low-temperature extrusion release the natural nutty, sweet flavors, and preserve vitamins that may be temperature-sensitive. The carbhoydrates gelatinize, resulting in a 'caramel' flavour and light brown colour. Extruded products are easily digestible and retain natural colours, which are appealing to birds that see ultraviolet images.

This method of manufacture:

  • Produces a food with increased digestibility

  • Preserves the ingredients' natural flavours and enzymes which can be lost in a pelletization process

  • Destroys microtoxins and digestion inhibitors

  • Does not degrade vitamins

  • Prolongs storage without the need for artificial/chemical preservatives

  • Retains natural colours in the ingredients

This process leads to a more natural product than some methods, and therefore there is some variation in sizes and colour of piece. A better quality product is more important than one which is artificially uniform in appearance.

This high-quality production process is also one of the reasons (another being the use of human-grade, organic certified ingredients) why the Harrison's range is a little more expensive than other formulated foods. Pelletisation may be cheaper, but it produces an inferior food. By choosing an extruded product you are paying for quality at every step of the process, to provide a better product, for the optimal health and enjoyment of your bird.