Lafeber Company History:
The Story of Pet Bird Food & Nutrition
The story of pet bird food & nutrition in America is, in many ways, the story of Dr. T.J. Lafeber and pet bird care in America. Dr. Lafeber graduated from the veterinary college of Iowa State University in 1949. Early on, much of his practice, in the suburbs of Chicago, was devoted to dog and cat medicine. In the early 1960’s, Dr. Lafeber was asked by the A.V.M.A. (American Veterinary Medicine Association) to chair their newly formed avian medicine committee. Dr. Lafeber agreed. For many years, in the late 60’s and early 70’s, Dr. Lafeber’s pet bird hospital was the largest in the United States.
As Dr. Lafeber treated hundreds of pet birds over a period of years, a common problem kept appearing: most birds he was treating were dying of malnutrition. Dr. Lafeber investigated the current bird foods on the market and soon discovered many bird owners had little opportunity to provide their birds with a nutritious diet. Most of the foods were simply various types of seed mixes, all of them deficient in certain vitamins, minerals, and protein.
In the early 1970’s, Dr. Lafeber began experimenting with a pelleted food for birds. Initially, he made the pellets on a small mill in the rear of his animal hospital. Gradually, he began dispensing the food to bird owners to improve their birds’ health. The results were very good. The vast majority of birds did very well on the new pelleted food.
In the late 1970’s, Dr. Lafeber bought five acres of Illinois farmland from his father. On this acreage, the Lafeber Company started to grow. Dr. Lafeber’s desire to provide pet birds with a high-quality, nutritious diet became the driving force behind the Lafeber Company. At first, pelleted food was the only thing manufactured. In the early ’80’s, however, Dr. Lafeber developed Nutri-Start baby bird food. Shortly after that, Avi-Cakes were introduced.
In the fall of 1990, Nutri-Berries hit the pet bird market. Nutri-Berries represented a giant leap for the Lafeber Company. Nutri-Berries solved three major problems faced by all pet bird owners:
- nutritional completeness
- easy acceptance by the bird
- ease of feeding
Throughout the history of Lafeber Company, quality has been the key to success. Attention to the ingredients used in the pet bird food product line along with a strong focus on the
needs of our customers have helped Lafeber Company establish a reputation as one of the premier companies in the pet food industry. Our mission to this day revolves around the simple premise Dr. Lafeber established many years ago: Caring & Working for the Health of Animals.