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Kaytee Products, Inc.
Formerly called
Knauf & Tesch, K & T
Industry Pet food and supplies
Founded 1866
Headquarters Chilton, Wisconsin, U.S.
Key people
Nicholas Knauf; William Knauf; Frank Tesch; William Engler Sr.; William Engler Jr.
Products bird seed, pet food, cages, bedding, feeders
Owner Central Garden & Pet
Website Kaytee.com

Kaytee is a company based in Chilton, Wisconsin, United States. It is an international supplier of bird seed.[1]


Kaytee was formed in 1866[2] by William N. Knauf and Frank Tesch (K & T) as a feed mill which supplied seed to farmers.[3] In 1920, the company became a national supplier of peas to be used for pigeon feed.[3] It expanded into making feed for birds and other small animals, becoming the first commercial supplier of wild bird seed in 1955.[3]

William Engler Sr., long-term employee and son-in-law of William N. Knauf, purchased the company in 1964 and renamed it Kaytee Products, Inc.[4] His son, Bill Engler Jr., took over the company in 1982. Bill Engler Jr. was named the Small Business Person of the Year in 1993 by United States President Bill Clinton.[2] As of 1993, Kaytee had 365 employees and annual sales of about $70 million.[2] At that time, it also held about 1300 exotic bird species in an aviary in Chilton.[2]

Engler sold the company to Central Garden & Pet in 1997.[3] They renamed the company Central Avian & Small Animal and continued to market products under the Kaytee brand.[3]


In April 2012, Kaytee recalled five lots of parrot handfeeding formula due to excessive vitamin D (which was causing kidney failure). This was acknowledged on the Kaytee website [1] as well as through emails with some customers. [2]

In February 2013, Kaytee recalled a number of treat mixes due to reports from their parsley supplier of salmonella contamination. No salmonela was found in the actual treat mixes, but to comply with FDA regulations they recalled all mixes containing that parsley.[3]

Kaytee Preferred Birds branding raises and provides young birds to many pet store chains in the US, such as Petsmart [4]. Oklahoma State places externs with Kaytee Preferred Birds [5]. Kaytee Preferred Birds was dismantled and closed in 2007.



  1. ^ "Kaytee International Locations". 
  2. ^ a b c d Jane, Applegate (May 30, 1993). "Small-business Owners Hailed By Chief". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Miller, Neil. "A Legacy of Innovation". Pet Business. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "William D. Engler Sr. Obituary". 

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