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Help! Why Isn't My Parrot Eating?

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Help! Why Isn't My Parrot Eating?

Has your parrot abruptly stopped eating for no apparent reason? Whether you own a large African Gray or a small parakeet, all pet parrots need to consume food on a daily basis to ensure proper health and development. When they stop eating, their healthy will gradually decline while their bodies become weaker and weaker. But what factors are known to cause this behavior? And how can owners encourage their parrots to eat again? To learn the answers to these questions and more, keep reading.

When a parrot suddenly stops eating their food, it's usually a sign of a more serious underlying problem. Some parrots are picky by nature and will only eat a certain type of food; however, when they stop eating all of their food, you must quickly act to identify the problem. Turning a blind eye to your parrot's malnutrition will lead to the deterioration of his or her health. Whether your parrot is small, medium or large, you must ensure they are eating food on a daily basis.

Stress From a New Environment

One of the most common reasons why pet parrots don't eat is because they're suffering from the stress of being in a new environment. If you just recently brought them home from the pet store or breeder, there's a good chance is the root cause of their behavior. You have to remember that moving into a new home is a big change for a parrot; they'll have new sights, sounds and smells, some of which can seem rather threatening at first.

The good news is that most parrots will naturally ease into their new home and start eating within a couple of days. Owners should pay close attention to their parrots during the first 24-48 hours, observing how much -- if any -- food they are eating.

If your parrot hasn't started eating by the third day, you'll want to take them to an avian veterinarian to ensure there's not a more serious underlying problem at hand. Only then will you be able to professionally diagnose your parrot's condition. Depending on what other symptoms your parrot is experience, an avian veterinarian may want to perform a fecal and/or blood test to rule out common parasites and infections. It's not uncommon for parrot's to catch an infection that causes them to no longer eat. Thankfully, a round of antibiotics will wipe out some of the most common forms of infections. Listen to your veterinarian and follow their advice step by step.

Also, go ahead and remove all of the toys from your parrot's cage. Parrots are naturally playful creatures who play even when they are sick. By removing the toys from their cage, you'll help your parrot conserve energy. The more rest your parrot receives, the faster he or she will recover.

New Type of Food

Of course, another common reasons why some parrots stop eating is because they're introduced to a new type of food. If a parrot has been eating the same food for several 6 months or longer, they'll probably be hesitant to switch their diet to a new type of food. This is why most avian veterinarians recommend owners to continue feeding their parrots the same type of food throughout their life.

First and foremost, carefully look over your parrot's cage to see what they are doing with the food. For instance, your parrot could be eating the insides of their seed mix and spitting out the shells. If this is the case, your parrot is perfectly fine and should cause no reason for concern. Other picky parrots will selectively choose certain pieces of food from a seed or pellet mix.

Until you are able to take your parrot to the veterinarian, you can try feeding them some soft foods through a plastic syringe. Here's a post explaining about your parrot's diet- transitioning, pellets and foods to avoid. If your parrot has a favorite fruit or vegetable, which most do, mash it up and place it inside a syringe. Gently press the syringe in your parrot's mouth to see if they are willing to swallow any of it. Even if they swallow just a single mouthful, it's still a beneficial boost of energy and nutrition that will likely help them recover from their illness.

Switching your parrot from a seed-based diet to a pellet-based diet is yet another factor that may cause them to stop eating. Seeds are natural and easy to come by in the wild, while pellets are formulated with nutrients and protein before being shaped into convenient, easy-to-eat balls. Once you place a bowl of pellets in front of a parrot who's used to eating seeds (even if they a premium brand), the parrot may not eat it. The bottom line is that owners should continue feeding their parrots the same type of food throughout their life unless otherwise advised by an avian veterinarian.

Can Parrots Overeat?

Overeating is a serious problem that can lead to obesity in parrots. The short answer to this question is yet, parrots -- like every other animal on earth -- can overeat. Some owners may brush this behavior off as nothing more their feathered friend being exceptionally hungry, but in reality it's a serious condition that can have some detrimental effects on a parrot's health and overall well-being.

Why Parrots Overeat

Parrots may overeat for a number of different reasons, one of which is boredom. When a parrot is bored and/or not receiving stimulation in its current environment, it may eat for the sole purpose of filling this void. This is particularly problematic in homes where parrots are left alone for days on end, with owners giving them little-to-no attention.

Parrots are highly social creatures and crave the attention of others. Owners who fail to provide their parrots with the necessary stimulation they crave may cause them to overeat.

If a parrot is suffering from a parasite, it may overeat as well. Parasites tend to leach the nutrients out of the parrot's system; thus, causing it to overeat in an attempt to make up for the lost nutrients.

Another reason why parrots may overeat is because they were previously malnourished. When an abused or neglected parrot is brought into the care of an avian foster home, it may overeat simply because it's weak and malnourished. This, of course, is more of a problem in abused and neglected parrots than well-cared-for family parrots.

Why Overeating Is Bad

Overeating can lead to obesity, disease, illness, and it can shorten your parrot's life. The excess food will add unnecessary weight to your parrot, promoting the formation of fat which compresses against their vital organs and blood vessels. Subsequently, this increases the risk of certain diseases and conditions, including heart disease, diabetes (yes, parrots can be diabetic), cancer, and more.

How To Stop Your Parrot From Overeating

If your parrot is overeating, you should first have them examined by a licensed avian veterinarian. He or she will conduct a thorough examination to ensure your parrot isn't suffering from any parasites or diseases that may be causing them to overeat. Assuming your parrot is healthy, your veterinarian may recommend a new food variety and/or feeding your parrot less food.

Have you dealt with a parrot that stops eating or overeats? Let us know what worked for your parrot in the comments section below!

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