Bird Care – How to Choose Food

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,068
    Susan Vandenbroek from FeatherHeads in Sterling Virginia discusses how to choose food for a bird.

    Hi! I am Susan with FeatherHeads. We have been talking about how to care for your parrot; we are going to talk about what kind of foods to feed. The general consensus of opinion today is a pellet diet is going to give your bird the longest life possible. The reason being that like all of us, parrots will pick out what they want. So, from a blended mix such as this, they may pick out just a few little seeds that they like -- and of course, being the good parents we are, we will replenish that. The pellet diet meanwhile has all the nutrition built into a single pellet.

    So, for every pellet that they eat, they are at least eating a balanced diet. There are many different pellets on the market today. Just 20 short years ago, most people were feeding dog food to their birds. The pelleted diets have been developed in the last 20 years or so, most of them by veterinarians who realize that there was a need for pelleted diets in the Avian world that would cater only to what the birds needed. Parrots are very dependant on their diet for many things, including their nutrition but also their coloring. They have discovered in the zoos that the flamingos lost their pink color, reason being they werent feeding them shrimp. So, parrots like other birds are dependant on their foods for all of their care and nutrition. There are many different pellets on the market today; there are also two schools of thought. Some people prefer to feed the same diet daily, supplementing only with some fresh fruits and vegetables or some home cooked meals; others, like Harrisons recommend that you dont supplement with anything.

    Harrison is a vet who developed an organic food, and he recommends that you solely feed Harrisons. Some people believe that you should give your bird different things everyday; some people think you should never change as birds are creatures of habit. Well, that is true, but like all of us, they do have differences. There are some birds that dont want to change their diet daily; there are others that love the excitement of having something new and different. We here wean our baby birds to a Roudybush pellet; it is good nutrition, the babies do well on it. I personally prefer an uncolored pellet, reason being, the colors in the pellet do affect the birds droppings. But one of the most popular with some birds are the Zupreem pellets, which are the fruit blend; they have a fruity smell, and many of the birds are fond of that and are intrigued by it. There are other foods available that you can supplement some different flavors with; Scenic Jungle Mixes, common apple, cheese, chili and corn. We have had great deal of success with some of those flavors; many of the African Greys love some of the spicier mixes.

    There are also treat supplements that you can give your birds. Sunflower seeds are very high in fat, so you dont want too much that of in. You want to be very careful with the nuts you feed; they shouldnt be salted, you want to be careful with peanuts, particularly that they do not have any fungus or anything. Take caution, dont leave any of these things in damp areas -- dont leave your pellets in damp areas. Another popular mix for the birds are some of the fruit and vegi mixes, This particular mix has some pellets; it has some dried apple, dried pineapple, dried papaya -- always a favorite with many birds, they are very sweet -- Peas, some coconut. There are also supplements you can use with you bird, but a bird who is on a balanced diet should not need any supplements such as vitamins. You want to be careful with those kinds of things; you cant regulate the intake with the bird.

    One of the big mistakes that people make in feeding fresh foods is that they forget -- that African grey weighs about 450 grams - that is one pound. So, they give the bird six grapes and the bird eats them all, and they wonder why he doesnt want his pellets - he is full. It is almost the equivalent of you maybe eating 18-24 grapes. So keep in mind, if you are offering cooked foods or table foods or other fruits and veggies, you are dealing with a very, very small animal. Sun Conures maybe weigh 150 grams, a third of a pound. Choose accordingly, how much you give the bird; maybe one or two small pieces of pasta is enough to supplement and have some variety. We have been talking about how to care for your parrot and what kind of foods to feed. Next, we are going to talk about how to convert a seed eater to pellets.