Peanuts still remain one of the most popular food choices for many garden birds, particularly in times when highly calorific food is needed. Peanuts offer a really good balance of oil and protein, both of which are necessary for energy and good health.
Just how calorific peanuts are, can be evidenced by the fact that they very rarely appear in any human dieting regimens and if they do – you are only allowed a small handful at a time!
What is not generally known, is that peanuts are actually a legume (a member of the pea family) not a nut at all, and they grow in the ground (see above).
How Are Peanuts Grown?
Peanut plants are actually annual herbaceous members of the pea family. There are two main types; runner type and bunching type. Most peanuts flower about six to eight weeks after planting them. The flowers are produced near the ground on bunch plants and along the runners of vining types. While the plants flower above ground, however, the pods develop below. As the flowers fade, the stem begins bending downward, carrying the pods to the ground. Since peanuts bloom over a period of several weeks (up to three months), the pods mature at various intervals. Each pod yields two to three peanuts.
At harvest, the whole peanut plant is uprooted and turned upside down to expose the pods to the heat of the day, which dries them out. Needless to say, warm, dry weather is needed for successful peanut growing, and if the ripening period is adversely affected, peanut plants can become damaged and diseased.
Although native to South America, due to high global demand, peanuts are now grown across many continents in hot climates. The major growers of peanuts (in order of volume of production) are: China, India, USA, Nigeria, Indonesia and Argentina. Similar to the crops we grow here on the farm, there is continuous product development on-going to grow peanuts that are more disease resistant, and drought tolerant.
Peanuts and Aflatoxin
One of the main diseases to affect peanuts is a fungal disease caused by a fungus called Aspergillus Flavus. If growing conditions are moist and the peanuts are not dried out optimally, the Aspergillus fungus can develop between the kernel and the skin of the peanut.
This fungus can produce a poisonous mycotoxin called aflatoxin which is highly toxic to both birds and mammals, causing liver and kidney cancers. The term ‘aflatoxin’ was coined in the 1960s after a particular outbreak among turkeys in the UK, which had been known as ‘turkey X disease’. The turkeys had been fed contaminated corn, and roughly 100,000 of them died as a result.
In addition to poor harvest conditions being a risk factor for mould formation and aflatoxin production, sub-optimal storage and transport conditions can also play a big part. Considering that peanuts will travel huge distances to get to our UK gardens, it is vital that our supply chain is as robust as it can be and that all storage and transportation is of the highest quality.
Peanuts from The Really Wild Bird Food Company
Here at the Really Wild Bird Food Company, we only deal with very reputable peanut suppliers to ensure that our peanuts have been kept in the very best conditions during their travels. Aligned with that; all peanuts that we buy have been rigorously tested in their country of origin before export, and then re-tested when they arrive in the UK.
*All of our peanuts are accompanied by a certificate of ‘nil detectable aflatoxin*
This means that we can be certain that our peanuts have been grown, harvested, transported and stored in a safe way. This is imperative since we need to be sure that the peanuts we offer to our customers offer no risk to their garden birds, nor indeed themselves.
We source the very best peanuts from a number of different countries; paying particular attention to the seasonality and success of their respective peanut harvests. That is why the peanuts that we can offer your garden birds may vary in terms of the size and colour and the oil content of the peanut.
Peanut size does not always reflect peanut quality. The size of a peanut is graded by a number like 30/40, 40/50, 70/80 etc. Adversely, the bigger the number the smaller the peanut, and very often, the smaller the peanut, the higher the oil content.
Your peanuts should be stored in cool dry conditions; avoid warm, humid places (so not ideal to keep them in a utility room next to a tumble drier for example). We would advise removing them from the bag they were delivered in and put them in a dry, sealed container. This will help to prevent moisture from getting in.
Only offer peanuts in a mesh type of peanut feeder and if the weather is wet, check them every 2-3 days for signs of blackening. If they do go black, discard, clean your feeder and replenish with fresh peanuts.
Providing you with a range of different peanuts to choose from, we currently offer three different grades – classic peanuts, premium peanuts and java peanuts.
Our classic peanuts are the lowest grade we offer, but that doesn’t make them poor quality! As with all of our peanuts, they’ve been tested for aflatoxin and are perfectly safe for your garden birds to consume. They’re red-skinned and they come in at around the 50/60 size.
Next, our premium peanuts which are human grade and a firm favourite amongst our bird feeders. We source these peanuts from Argentina and they come in at around the 40/50 size mark (slightly larger than our classic peanuts).
Finally, our java peanuts (shown above) are the very best on the market! They’re slightly smaller than both of our other peanut varieties, coming in at the 70/80 mark, but as we’ve previously discussed, smaller peanuts actually contain more oils and nutrients. It’s no surprise that these peanuts have become the peanut of choice for the world’s fastest racing pigeons!
If these peanut varieties don't take your fancy, you might like to give our bird-friendly peanut butter a try! We have a few different types, but Flutter Butter tends to be a firm favourite. Containing no salt, this delicious spread is perfectly safe for birds and is rich and nutritious. We offer a special Flutter Butter Feeder so you can create an instant feeding point in your garden. Give it a try!
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Our Peanut Feeders
We offer a wide range of peanut feeders to help you get these tasty treats out in the garden for the local birds! Many of our peanut feeders come with a caged or mesh design, allowing the birds to peck away at the peanuts and eat their fill.
Our peanut feeders come in a range of sizes and designs, so you’re sure to find one that will fit right in with your garden décor. Our Nuttery Original Compact Squirrel & Predator Proof Nut Feeder (shown above) offers a great minimalistic design that allows you to watch the birds as they feed & will prevent predators from stealing the precious peanuts.
In wet weather, our easy-clean feeders are a great choice. As the name suggests, they're very easy to clean, making your bird feeding routine quick and simple. Cleaning the feeders out regularly will help keep the peanuts fresh and free from dirt or disease. Why not give our new Apollo peanut feeder a try?
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If you have any questions about our peanuts, peanut feeders or aflatoxin, don’t hesitate to get in touch.