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best diet for my budgies?

jhaylo

Moving in
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12/13/23
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12
Real Name
j
i have two budgies and have been working on switching up their diet to something a bit better. I've had them on an okay seed diet for awhile, but I've just never been able to transition them.
One will zupreems fruit pellets (finch sized only) and the other mostly won't. Bailey will eat pellets and seed, but when I try and give him veggies on a good day he picks around them. mostly he behaves as if i've put poison in the bowl. Benji is my other bird who doesn't eat pellets, though I think he's been eating the veggies I give him. (i've been making a not fully blended but mushy/small piece mix of carrot, broccoli, and a little spinach + celery. Ideas on what to try adding to that mix are welcome!) it's the only way he eats it. Benji can't see very well and will not eat large chunks of ANYTHING. he simply doesn't bite down hard enough - he couldn't rip a leaf of spinach when i offered it. he's a gentle boy, i guess haha.

(tl;dr / straight to the point - questions)
I've been trying to get them on veggies, but i'm mostly just ending up confused, so here are my main questions:

do you feed pellets? is it worth it? Some people seem to swear by it, but others say it's barely necessary and I don't understand.
what other veggies do I add to the mix? is it possible bailey *who wont eat veggies* just doesn't like carrot, spinach, broccoli, celery, blueberry, or apple or is it just a 'this isn't seed' problem?
how do i know they're eating it? Benji has gotten food all over his face the last few times, but I can't tell if it's because he eats it or because he sticks his face in it from picking the seeds out. Is there a way to tell if he eats it or not? (I add a thin layer of seeds so when he eats them, he'll get the carrot/broccoli mix at the same time.)
if yes to pellets, brands? preferably ones i won't go bankrupt from? is zupreem really bad? I can't find 'zupreem naturals' finch sized, and that's the only size mine eat.
proportion? how much of diet is seed/pellet/veggie? similar problem as pellets, i've seen so many different answers i don't know which one anymore.
any help is appreciated, i'm just trying to do the best for them. TIA :)

(bonus picture of the resident picky eater, because I guess his cage tastes better than veggies. (he is actually a she, i know))
 

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GreenThing

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South Florida
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Kat
You'll get different opinions, but the science (currently!) supports pelleted diet for budgies. What ratio of pellet to seed or fresh veg or sprouted seed-- well, I haven't found anything but opinion (some well-informed opinion, but still just opinion) on that point.

I've spoken to some avian vets who recommend a pellet-only diet on the grounds that 1) they've seen too many budgie owner's fail to balance pellet vs. seed and still end up with birds with fatty liver, or 2) they don't like veg because they think some birds might overeat veggies that aren't diverse enough in vitamins and then eat fewer pellets, negating the intention of pellets being "nutritionally complete".

I think some of this advice from vets was influenced by seeing a lot of worse-case scenarios with budgies, so I tend to balance it against the advice I've been given here: I give majority Harrison's pellets (80-90% of their diet), offer fresh greens 5-7 times a week (depends what I can afford), and give a literal pinch of seed mix in the morning and evening, with some spray millet exclusively as a treat from my hands. My budgies never cared for chop, and when they one day started munching on dandelion greens, I stopped trying to diversify and now just offer a limited range of greens more for enrichment than anything.

This is different than what I used to do-- I fussed over all different kind of chop and sprouting the first year I had them, and I was afraid of reducing seed too much and used to give about 2/3 a teaspoon of an expensive blend twice daily to each bird. After a recent health scare (which turned out not to be fatty liver at all), I reduced seed to the current sprinkle, and have so far had zero issues-- no weight loss, they are eating pellets much more eagerly, etc.

Of course, none of this matters if you switch a budgie too fast, and they starve! The mantra, "the best pellet is the one your bird will eat" is good advice. And if they won't eat pellet but will eat veg, anything is better than an all-seed diet. Budgies face the same problems as us humans (and guinea pigs, and urban wildlife, etc.)-- evolution programmed our bodies to seek out food to support a high-activity, scrambling-for-survival lifestyle we are no longer living.
 

jhaylo

Moving in
Joined
12/13/23
Messages
12
Real Name
j
Thank you so much for all of this! One of mine has finally started eating some of the veggies. I'm going to keep working with them both on pellets now.
Appreciate all the input! :)
 
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