The Formula of Choice
I've been using Exact Handfeeding formula for approximately 10 years. The breeder we bought our Blue and Gold Macaw recommended it and I've since used it for baby lovebirds and cockatiels. I find it a good all-around formula for different species from the large macaws to the tiny lovebirds and cockatiels. All of the babies I have raised with this formula have been nice and plump. Exact provides all the nutrition a baby bird needs in one formula.
Exact comes in several size containers starting with a small canister, a 2 lb. canister (appx. $7.95) and then graduating to 5 lb. bags($14.95 or more), etc. This way you can purchase the best size for your circumstances and breeding operation. The containers are sealed to make them air-tight to hold freshness and come with a plastic lid for use after opening.
Exact is a light brown powder substance that is somewhat grainy. It doesn't have a strong smell at all, but smells like natural grains to me. One of my friends says it smells kinda "nutty" to her. To prepare the formula for feeding you mix it with hot water for the consistency needed by your baby, depending on size and age of chick. Be sure and feed at correct temperature (105 degrees). If too hot formula will cause crop burn and your baby may not live. (If this happens, see an avian vet as soon as possible). I have found on several occasions that the formula did not mix too well and tried to separate. I don't know if this was due to temperature of water or a particular batch of formula? I have also heard other breeders make this comment from time to time. This is not an all-time thing, just every now and then.
In addition to being used for baby birds, Exact can be pulled out for emergencies with older birds. For instance, a sick bird will sometimes not eat a regular diet but will easily accept warm to hot handfeeding formula. It can really be a lifesaver and good to have on hand. I always keep a supply in the freezer even when I don't have any babies in the house.
Store in a cool, dry place. Once container is opened you should reseal with plastic lid it comes with (airtight) and store in refrigerator or freezer.
Feeding amounts recommended are as follows:
Age: Hatch -2 days Volume: Exact- 1 part Water- 6 parts
2 - 5 days Exact- 1 part Water-2-3
5- weaning Exact 1 part Water 1 1/3-2
Ground corn, corn gluten meal, ground oat groats, ground wheat, wheat middlings, corn oil, dried whole egg, soy protein isolate, dried beet pulp, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, l-lysine, wheat germ meal, brewers dried yeats, corn sugar, vitamin A supplement, salt, choline chloride, DL methionine, potassium chloride, propionic acid (a preservative), vitamin E supplement, Vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, ferrous carbonate, zinc oxide, ascorbic acid, ethoxyquin (a preservative), maanganous oxide, menadione sodium bisulfite comples (Vit. K), niacin, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper oxide, D-activated animal sterol (Vit D-3), pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, dried A, oryzae fermentation extract, dried bacillus sutbtills fermentation product, dried bacillus coagulans fermentation product, dried bacillus licheniformis fermentation product, dried bacillus subtillis fermentation product, dried whey, cobalt carbonate, calcium iodate, biotin, sodium selenite.
Crude Protein: 22.0%
Crude Fat: 8.0%
Crude Fiber: 5.0%
Protease: 0.2 CSU (1) gram
Amylase: 0.4 SLU (2) gram
Total Bacillus Species: 250,000 CFU (4) gram
My Overall Comments
I have stuck with Exact because it is readily available locally and via mail order or over the internet. I did not want to use a product that I cannot find during an emergency or a product that is available now but out of stock some of the time. I find that Exact is always available at most stores in my area, be it online or locally. It is also sold at a reasonable price. I have had very good luck raising my macaw, cockatiels, lovebirds, Nanday conures, and parakeets on this formula.
It is a very good overall handfeeding formula to use to raise big, fat and happy babies. I highly recommend it.
Note: This article was previously posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network which is no longer in existence.