Proper nutrition is essential for the health and overall well-being of a pet parrot. Whether you own a small Parrotlet or a large African Grey, you need to provide them with a balanced diet consisting of all the necessary vitamins and nutrients.
Unfortunately, far too many owners feed their parrots a diet that consists nothing more than seeds. While seeds are good for occasional treats, a better choice is to feed your parrot a high-quality pellet food.
Is Pellet Food Really Better Than Seeds?
There's a long-running debate as to whether seeds or pellets are a better choice of food for parrots. Some people claim seeds are better since birds naturally eat them in the while. Nearly every bird species on this plant has a diet that consists at least partially of seeds. Most veterinarians and avian experts will agree, however, that pellets provide a more balanced source of nutrition for parrots.
Unlike seeds, pellets are formulated with a variety of different ingredients. A typical pellet formula may include protein, vegetables, fruit and grains, all of which are cooked and pressed into a small pellet. This allows the parrot to consume more vitamins and minerals than they would from eating seeds alone.
What To Look For In a Pellet Formula
With so many different types of pellet food available on the market, trying to narrow your selection down to a single one can prove to be challenge. With that said, you must carefully take your time to choose a high-quality, premium blend that's going to offer your parrot the highest level of nutrition.
While you might save a couple bucks by opting for the cheaper brands of formula, they won't be nearly as beneficial for your parrot.
There are several different brands of excellent pellet food, but you really can't go wrong with Harrison's. They've been in the business of producing bird food for many years and have developed quite a following. Another popular brand of organic pellet food is Zupreem. Either of these brands are excellent choices for a highly nutritious pellet food for your parrot.
How To Transition Your Parrot Into a New Diet
Feeding your parrot a nutritious, well-balanced diet is critical to their overall health and well-being. Some owners may try to 'cut corners' by feeding their parrot a seed or pellet mix, only for their bird to develop a vitamin deficiency or some other health ailment. A parrot's diet must contain a balanced blend of nutrients and vitamins to promote a strong immune system along with proper organ function.
But how do you transition a parrot into a new diet? Parrots are finicky by nature, and many of them won't even attempt to touch a bowl of new food. You can leave it in their cage for their days without the parrot eating a single bite of their new food. If this sounds like a familiar scenario, try some of the solutions listed below.
Mix New and Old Food Together
Mixing your parrot's new and old food together is a simple and effective way to transition them into a new diet. Your parrot might keep their distance from a bowl consisting completely of a new seed and/or pellet mix; however, they're more likely to eat it if it contains at least some of their old food.
Try filling your parrot's food dish with 3/4 old food and 1/4 new food. As long as they are eating it (which they should), alter the ratio to 1/2 and 1/2 after a couple of days. After a week or two, you can then try feeding your parrot 100% of the new food.
Use New Food as Treat
Another technique that's helped a countless number of owners transition their parrot into a new diet is to use the new food as a treat.
When your parrot successfully obeys a command -- bobbing their head, handshaking, singing, dancing, etc. -- give them a piece of the new food as a reward. Your parrot will likely 'expect' a delicious treat for performing the command, so they'll naturally take any food you are holding.
Soak It In Fruit Juice
A third idea is to soak your parrot's new food in fruit juice. The presence of sweet and flavorful apple juice coating their food might be just enough to entice them to try it. Some parrots can't resist the delicious flavors of fruit juice, so this is really a wonderful technique to transition a parrot into a new diet.
In addition to apple juice, some of the other fruit juices you can soak a parrot's food in include orange, grape and nectar.
Foods You Should Avoid Feeding Your Parrot
Most veterinarians and bird experts advise owners to feed their parrots a balanced diet that consists both of a pellet/seed diet as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, which makes the best foods to feed your parrot. Doing so provides the parrot with more of vitamins and nutrients that are essential to their health and well-being.
Unfortunately, though, some of the common foods in your kitchen could prove to dangerous to a pet parrot. Keep reading to learn 5 foods you should avoid feeding your parrot.
#1 - Avocados
Avocados are a delicious fruit that many people enjoy eating plain or mixing it with various other fruits. The problem with avocados, however, is the toxic chemical it contains known as persin.
People are capable of processing this toxin without any need for concern, but small parrots don't possesses this ability. Even minimal amounts of persin can result in vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory failure and death in severe cases.
#2 - Chocolate
A good rule of thumb is to keep your chocolate candy bars, cookies, cakes and other foods away from all animals, including parrots. Chocolate, especially baker's chocolate, contains a chemical known as theobromine.This chemical speeds up the parrot's metabolism and may cause them to go into seizures.
To prevent this from happening, keep chocolate away from your parrot.
#3 - Apple Cores
Apples are a tasty nutritious treat for a parrot that contains both vitamins and calcium. However, you must chop the apples into small slices before feeding them to your parrot.
A lot of owners don't realize just how dangerous apple cores are. The issue with apple cores isn't their toxicity but rather the choking hazard they create.
#4 - Dairy Products
All dairy products including milk, cheese and yogurt should be kept out of your parrot's reach. Parrots don't have the necessary digestive system and enzymes responsible for breaking down dairy products. After consuming it, they may experience diarrhea, vomiting and weakness.
Also, keep in mind that certain foods are made using dairy products; therefore, they should be avoided as well. Always be conscious of the ingredients contained in the foods you give to your parrot.
#5 - Mushrooms
In most cases, mushrooms aren't going to pose any risks to a parrot's health, but they don't offer any nutritional value either. Mushrooms are basically water-filled fungi with no vitamins or minerals, which is why it's a good idea to avoid feeding them to your parrot. Instead, choose some of the more nutritious fruits and vegetables out there, such as carrots, grapes, pear slices and celery.
It's important to remember that parrots have a very delicate digestive system. Unnecessary ingredients like food dyes and preservatives could potentially lead to health problems later down the road. You can reduce the chance of this happening to your parrot by choosing a pellet formula labeled "organic."
Also, take a few minutes to read the ingredients on the back to see exactly what the pellet formula contains, make sure you know the things to do for optimal budgie health. We hope this post has briefed you well into knowing more about your parrot’s diet.