Parrot nutrition

Feeding your parrot properly

Parrots in their natural environment utilise a very wide variety of plants throughout the year, ingesting fruit, seeds, berries, leaves, buds and roots. There is a common misconception that parrots can survive on a diet of sunflower seeds and peanuts. This diet is deficient in at least 32 nutrients!

Parrot nutrition

May 21, 2019

Birdie chocolate

Just like people, parrots would rather eat what tastes good than what is healthy for them. Think of these fatty seeds as ‘birdie chocolate’. As it is not possible to offer captive parrots the variety of food that they would eat in the wild, pelleted diets have been developed to meet their basic nutritional needs.

It is recommended that approximately 60% of the parrot’s diet should be a formulated product, with the addition of vegetables, fruit and a limited amount of high-quality seeds and nuts.

Common signs of nutritional deficiencies in parrots:

  • Overgrowth and poor quality of the beak and nails.
  • Poor quality feathers.
  • Abnormal feather colour, for example black feathers on green or blue birds or pink feathers on African greys.
  • Thickened skin and sores under the feet.
  • Sinus problems and swellings on the face, and breathing difficulties.
  • Feather plucking.
  • Severe cases can have strokes, heart attacks and other life-threatening problems.

The healthy choice

It can take some time and perseverance to convert a parrot to a healthy, balanced diet. Parrots can develop marked preferences for foods of a certain taste, texture or colour, and can be extremely resistant to trying new foodstuffs.

The following tricks can be tried during the conversion process:

  • Mix the old and the new food. Gradually, over a few weeks, decrease the amount of the original diet. Tantrum-type behaviour with the bird screaming or throwing food, for example, can be expected.
  • Allow the bird to see others eating the new diet.
  • Remove all perches except the one by the food bowl, forcing the bird into proximity of the food.
  • For flock birds such as cockatiels, place a mirror on the floor and scatter food over it.
  • Attempt to hand-feed the new diet as a ‘treat’.
  • Moisten the extruded pellets with fruit juice.
  • Feed the old diet for 30 minutes, morning and evening, and feed the new diet in between.
  • When all else fails, admit the bird to an avian hospital and convert him there. Birds will often more easily accept new food in a novel environment.
  • Weigh the bird regularly and return to the original diet if more than 10% of the original body mass is lost. 

Source: contentUtrust

 


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