- Malnutrition is the underlying cause of many diseases seen by the avian vet.
- Most parrots are herbivores that eat a wide variety of plants utilizing the , fruits, seeds, leaves, berries, buds and roots.
- The average captive bird receives a much more limited diet than their wild cousins.
- there are misconceptions regarding avian nutritional requirements.
- Bird vets can recognize malnutrition from the history and clinical manifestations
- Alvin vets can advise the clients for the optimum diet to feet the pet parrot
- Avian vets can help getting the bird to heat the appropriate diet - and assist with the gradual diet conversion process. Getting the bird to accept the new food
- Sun flower seeds are hard to stop - they are fatty
- the seed diet deficient in 32 vitamins and minerals
- Vitamins like vitamin A, D ,E and K
- Minerals like Calcium
- Trace elements like Selenium, copper, Iodine Zinc
- Protein deficiency ,etc etc
- They need much more than seed -
- Birds will not select out the best diets - but will select the energy rich - fatty high carbohydrate laden foods
- Extruded parrot pellets a formulated diet - like Harrisons and Zupreem and nutritionally balanced and should form PART of the diet.
- Oversupplimentaion can also be dangerous especially vit a and Vit D over supplementation. Be careful !!
What should I feed my parrot
In a "nut shell" - 60 % of the diet should be formulated parrot diet with\ the remainder being made up of Vegetables, seeds, nuts and fruits.
Ecclectus parrots need a greater variety of foods and specifically a diet rich in B carotene from green and orange vegetables- more fruits sensitive to colourants and preservatives and artificial supplements - and predisposes to toe tapping in eclectus parrots
Lorikeets - needs specialist nectar based diets
To convert a bird to pellets
Mix the old seed diet and the NEW pellets together in the same three feeding dishes at the bottom of the cage., and slowly over 8 weeks gradually decease the seed content until seed makes up about 20% of the diet. Add a variety of dark green vegetables and low fat low salt healthy human foods. .
Skin changes associated with poor nutrition
- Hyperkeratosis of skin - overgrowth of beak and nails and poor quality
- Retained pin feathers - "spiky" -
- Poor quality feathers- dull colors!
- Feather loss and abnormal moults
- Black feathers on green or Blue birds
- Cockatiel goes a bit orange - instead of pale yellow and grey
- Loss of dermal papilla on feet - loss of planter footprint - predisposed to Bumble foot.
Fatty liver syndrome associated with parrot diets
With obesity one gets fat infiltration into the liver with elevated cholesterol and decreased liver function.
That is why in an avian veterinary hospital we Crop feed all hospital in patients that are not eating.
Supplement with the herbs from Milk Thistle " - Sylimarin" have been show to help with liver detoxification and fatty liver.
Respiratory system affected by Avian nutrition-
Squamus metaplasia of the lining in the throat and trachea loss of function - leading to decreased respiratory immunity
Voice loss - changes in syrinx or voice loss
Air sac infections
Sinus discharges with swelling and abscesses
Hyperinflation or over inflation of neck air sac
Cardiac disease associated with an all seed diet.
Atherosclerosis and cholesterol deposition is common in birds on high fat diets - same as in other species !
Low calcium -associated with parrot seed diet
there are three syndromes
- fitting in African greys
- egg binding