The Scoop

What's That? Wednesday: Millet

There’s no doubt that birds love seeds. Sunflower, safflower, milo, canary seed… to birds, they’re all delicious, but the seed that probably takes the cake is millet. So what exactly is millet?


Millet is a grain that is naturally gluten free and full of nutrients that are good for both animals and humans alike. Low in fat and high in protein, it is really one of the most nutritious grains you can give to your bird. It has high levels of carbohydrates (energy), B-complex vitamins (stress recovery and nutrient processing), calcium (bone strength), phosphorus, and magnesium. 

Think of millet as the bird equivalent of bread for a human’s diet: we can’t live on bread alone, but it can be a key part of a healthy diet. While your bird needs to eat more than just millet, millet can be a regular—and welcome—part of its regular diet.

In addition to all the great nutrients, millet is a good treat for birds because of the foraging opportunity it offers. Harvesting the small seeds from the millet’s grain heads is a stimulating and tasty activity for pet birds. 


You may have noticed a few different kinds of millet listed in the ingredients of your bird’s food. There are actually 6,000 types of millet, varying from white to gray to red in color. 

The most popular type of millet treat for birds is spray, which is sometimes called foxtail or finger millet. Spray millet is golden in color and given to birds still on the stalk. Birds enjoy the color, texture and taste, and the entertainment it provides while eating it!

This is the first post of our new weekly series: What's That? Wednesday. Every week, we will talk about a new ingredient that you may find in your companion's food or treats.

Stay tuned for future What's It? Wednesday posts and check out our blog, The Scoop, for more posts about small animal and bird care.