Feeding your Parrot - Avian Vets Victoria
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We routinely see health problems associated with poor diets. Recommendations for a good diet will depend on the species of bird.
Do not try to force a change in your bird’s diet if your bird is sick or stressed (e.g. moulting, breeding or just after purchase). Any new diet should always be introduced gradually. Standard seed mixtures are incomplete, unbalanced and unhealthy as a sole food. Seed is generally high in fat and carbohydrates and low in vitamins and minerals and is generally considered "junk food" like "fast food". Seed should evry day be fed in limited amounts.
Parrot diets - Dr Phil Recommennds to Feed each of the "four" food groups every SINGLE day.
- Seed - limited to 30% or less of the bird's diet. ( Gradually decrease the amount of seed over 6- 8 weeks - see below )
- Vet recommended parrot-pellets - Like Pretty Bird, Harrison's, Vetafarm or Passwells - These parrot pellets can be purchased from our Melbourne-bird-vet clinic and posted out country wide.
- Dark green vegetables like Silver beet, spinach, etc usually raw but can be cooked.( Light greens lie lettuce are not nutritious)
- Low fat , low sugar, Low salt human food eg oats, rice, wheat bix, whole grain bread, fruit, pasta are fine for pet parrots.
- For conures, lorikeets and Eclectus Parrots add fruit as well (So 5 items/day)
- Optional fruit like apple for parrots is usually appreciated.
(In our Melbourne based avian veterinary hospital patients are offered corn, apple and silver beet and seed every day as part of their diet.)
Sprouted seeds - these are enjoyed and relished and are healthy. We stock seed sprouters ar bird-vet-Melbourne or simply plant your regular bird seed in a pot plant container and in about 2-3 weeks you will have grass plants that the birds love.
Introducing new food types - Parrot Pellet Conversion
If you are trying to get your bird to accept pellets, Bird vet - Dr Phil suggests purchasing two brands of quality parrot-pellets , like people, different birds have different tastes. (Then continue to purchase and feed the parrot pellet your bird is eating and prefers).
Cockatiels generally prefer Harrison's fine parrot food, Eclectus parrots generally prefer Pretty Bird.
This is a strategy Avain Vet Dr Phil Sacks recommends to get your bird to eat parrot pellets:
1) Mix the parrot pellets with the old seed diet at a ratio of 1:1 or 50 % of each product in all the feeding containers.
Do this for 1 week. Your bird will accidentally taste the new food as they try to pick out the old seed diet. By tasting small bits of the new pelleted food items your bird will learn it is food.
2) On week 2 now add 60% parrot-pellets to 40% seeds in 2 separate feeding containers. (Add a second
feeding dish). Slowly ecreasing the seed!.
3) On week 3 add 70% parrot-pellets to 30 % seed in 3 separate containers. (Add a third feed dish) - your bird will enjoy looking for the limited seed in the multiple dishes. and so on ...ALWAYS FEED SOME SEED!!
Dr Phil recommendations for Introducing new healthy food choices for your pet bird. -
Offer the same new vegetable every day for 6 weeks. Birds are afraid of new items and need to gradually accustom to the new object in its cage. Birds are neophobic!
Note that lettuce, celery and cucumber are not nutritious as they contain little vitamin A. Dark green vegetables, such as spinach, silver beet or brocolli have much higher levels of vitamin A and are preferred.
* Place the new food items near a favourite perching position using high .
* Sprinkle the new food/vegetable/pellets on a table top, allow your bird to explore and play. Crush the parrot pellets and play with your fingers
near the food to incite curiosity or place the vegetable above seed in the feeding dish.
* For bigger birds purchase our "Captive Foraging DVD" and follow the guidelines.
* Use limited seed as a reward in training or as a foraging tool (as described on the DVD) with our range of natural foraging toys.
* Add low fat, low sugar human foods to the diet for variety, e.g. Wheat-bix, oats, pasta, etc.
You should know the target weight range that you are trying to achieve with your bird. If your bird drops below this range or it loses more than 10% of its body weight in less than a week, stop the parrot-pellet conversion and contact the melbourne-bird-clinic.
Conversion to a parrot-pelleted diet