A Legacy of Innovation

The KAYTEE brand provides the highest quality foods and accessories to enhance people’s enjoyment of birds and small animal pets.


Over 140 years ago, in Chilton, Wis., William N. Knauf and Frank Tesch started a feed mill, supplying area farmers with field seed. They had such a good regional reputation for quality that they expanded into other markets, and in 1920, the small company became a national distributor of dried peas for pigeon food. The company’s expertise in feeds and nutrition developed, and with the help of seed suppliers and breeders, Knauf & Tesch (K&T) began producing bird and small animal food.

In 1955, K&T led the industry with the first commercially produced wild bird food. In 1964, William Engler, Sr., a long-time employee, purchased the company and renamed it KAYTEE. By 1982, with a new owner and new name, KAYTEE had capitalized on the growth of home pet keeping by introducing the first fortified food for companion birds and the first pelleted fortified diet.

In 1997, Engler sold KAYTEE to Central Garden & Pet, a Calif.-based high-performing growth company that produces and markets quality branded products in the pet and garden industries. As a division of Central Garden & Pet, KAYTEE was renamed Central Avian & Small Animal.

KAYTEE at Retail
Quality, extensive research and innovation are the hallmarks of the KAYTEE brand. The company knows that better nutrition means a healthier pet, and that successful wild bird and pet feeding begins with offering fresh, clean ingredients. Starting with wholesome seeds and grains, KAYTEE cleans and fortifies them with essential proteins, vitamins and minerals, and combines them with quality fruits, nuts, vegetables and other ingredients that birds and pets love. The products are manufactured in state-of-the-art facilities and every product is thoroughly researched, tested and precisely formulated according to the nutrient profiles of each particular species.

Central Avian & Small Animal’s research, development and marketing capabilities produce a continual pipeline of popular and innovative new pet specialty and wild bird products. State-of-the-art barrier packaging, functional and attractive package design and structure, and investment in improved manufacturing processes add quality and value to the range of products.

A successful retail selection of KAYTEE branded merchandise would feature a range of products, from seed-based diets to higher end extruded foods to provide consumers with a choice and variety to fit their bird and animal dietary needs. A good mix includes several items from each of the categories of bird and small animal food, treats, bedding and accessories. Retailers should display the food and bedding at eye level and below, with the treats and accessories above. A sales representative can help a retailer design a planogram, which will incorporate a complete KAYTEE product mix for the customer base.

KAYTEE also offers co-op advertising support and regional advertising for the brand in local sales flyers and other publications. The company provides retail displays, signage and other retail merchandising support. Couponing programs for KAYTEE products also drive retail sales. To create brand awareness, the company advertises in both trade and consumer journals.

In 2009, KAYTEE upgraded all three of its major food lines, including Forti-Diet Pro Health, exact and Fiesta Max. This month, the new Timothy Plus line of hay with goodies, like carrots, mint and marigolds, will launch. Soon, KAYTEE will also launch a line of branded treats to capitalize on the consumer’s awareness and preference for the trusted brand.

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