If you’re fascinated by pet birds, you might probably have cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) around. For starters, the cockatiel is an attractive medium-sized parrot in the cockatoo family.
Cockatiels are native to Australia and typically found in the wetlands, bushlands, and scrublands but are well-traveled. Gardeners love to keep them because they are easy to breed and make good companions.
Despite finding them easy to rear, feeding them treats might be quite a tall order, especially if you don’t know how to grow one of their favorites— the millet sprays. Luckily, we did some digging and uncovered how novice gardeners could start growing the cereal.
However, you should note that millet is only served as an occasional treat and shouldn’t be a major part of the bird’s diet. Let’s get moving.
Growth Habitat And Requirements For Millets
Grow millet in warm weather to increase the probabilities of a bumper harvest. The recommended temperature range is between 68-86 degrees celsius.
You could plant the cereal in beds, pots, or containers. Whichever place you choose to grow, always ensure there is enough sunlight.
Soils for millet growth should be well-draining. Incorporate sandy soil, organic matter, or shredded bark into the mix for the best results. These materials help improve drainage while retaining enough water.
If you have planted corn on your soils before, you’re good to go since millet and corn require pretty much the same soil type.
Supplement the soil with Nitrogen-based fertilizers to boost the nitrogen levels required for millet growth.
Sowing millet directly to the seedbed is guaranteed to give you high yields. Plant them at an inch depth and cover them with slight soil. Millet grows to maturity within 60-90 days.
The first signs of growth are usually noticeable within 2-3 weeks. Millet typically goes brown when ready for harvesting.
You can harvest the whole stalk or extract individual grains.
Millet dies down after seed harvesting. Store the grains in a cool and dry place using an airtight container.
Growing Millet At Home For Cockatiels
Growing millet in your backyard for cockatiels is worth the hassle as opposed to buying commercial food supplements. It is rich in carbohydrates, calcium, and potassium and low in fat.
Besides, homegrown cereals are free of pesticides and chemicals regularly used in large-scale farming.
Growing organic, non-GMO seeds always yields the best results. Some varieties to consider are spray foxtail or finger millet.
Items You Need
- Strands of millet/ Millet sprays
- A glass or plastic container
- A strainer
- Planting Pots
- Potting Soil
Steps To Follow
Given that millet is largely cultivated worldwide, finding enough supplies for growing it at home won’t be much of a hassle. In this guide, we will be using readily available millet sprays or strands.
- Find a suitable container. You can have as many containers as possible depending on your need. The container should be long enough for the millet strands to fit in. Alternatively, you could chop the strands into sizable pieces depending on your container sizes.
- Fill the container with cold water but not to the brim, and keep it aside.
- Rinse the millet strands with tap water holding them from the stem.
- Repeat step 3, holding them up from the other end. This is vital to ensure that water runs through deep— cleaning the grains thoroughly.
- Insert the strands into the container and ensure they are submerged.
- Keep them soaked for at least 12 hours.
- Once soaked, rinse the strands again by repeating steps 3 and 4 above.
- Drain excess water off by holding the strands under the kitchen sink.
- Sow the strands in a suitable potting mix amended with sand. The sowing depth should be about an inch.
- Water the soil as and when required. Take care not to overwater the soil.
Precautions And General Guidelines
The millet strands should be damp enough for sprouting but not too wet to promote the growth of molds. You should never allow them to dry out before sowing.
You should start seeing little white sprouts four days later, after which they keep spreading and growing in size as the days pass by. Green sprouts appear by the eighth day through to day ten.
Thin the seedlings out as they grow. You can also feed them to your cockatiels instead of throwing them.
Harvest the millet when the seed heads start turning brown.
We advise against overfeeding your birds with millet. For a healthier diet, you want to mix their diet with other seeds and fruits.
Growing millet for your cockatiels should be a no-brainer after reading the guide above. Your cockatiel could surprise you with an appreciation blab after feasting on the cereal.
If you’ve only one cockatiel around, it’s much more convenient to buy the grain. However, if you have a bunch of them, you can grow millet in your garden to ensure your pet birds never miss a treat of their favorite diet.
We hope this helps.