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Chop for tiels?

Kestrel

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Hello!
I am new here. This is a food question but particularly pertaining to cockatiels so I think I am posting in the right place. Please forgive me though if I'm not! I just picked out a baby cockatiel who I am going to bring home in a couple more weeks when s/he is weaned.

I have been reading about what is the best diet for a tiel. The general consensus seems to be 75% pellets or nutriberries. 25% fresh fruits and veggies and seeds as daily treats. Though I have also read tiels need a little more seed than that too, the jury is still out on that one. But I haven't found much info at all on using chop as the bulk of the tiel's diet. So I'm wondering if any of you out there are doing this?

I really don't like that there is refined sugar in the pellets. That is not healthy for anyone and in my experience manufacturers really only add sugar when they are trying to make the animal addicted to it, so it wont like it if you change to something healthier (case in point, beneful dog food). I also don't like the food coloring which is in some pellet brands. Nutriberries don't have the sugar or food coloring which makes me lean in that direction. But I would really prefer to go the route of as fresh and natural as possible. Also I work from home so I can be around to change out food a couple times throughout the day to keep it fresh.

Anyway, has anyone gone the route of using chop as the bulk diet for their cockatiels? If so what has been your experience with it? I am open to all suggestions and still in research mode. I just want my little guy to have the best diet I can give him/her.
Thanks in advance!

Also here is a photo of my adorable little guy, just for reference because who wouldn't want to see that sweet face?!? ;)

20190404_210952.jpg
 

Mizzely

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There are several pellets out there that are free of dyes and sugars :) I made up a reference page: Pellets for Parrots

Tiels do tend to do better with more seeds in the diet. The way I have heard for them is equal parts seed to pellets, and then remainder veggies/grains/chop. So it could be something like 25% pellets, 25% seeds, and 50% chop if you were so inclined.

Is your tiel being weaned onto chop? If so, then offering a well rounded chop mix for the main portion of the diet may work quite well for you. For my birds, I have always had picky eaters so I usually end up feeding 75% pellets. (non cockatiel birds). If they are only picking their favorites it may become an unbalanced diet.
 

RedFoxBlackSox

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Awwww cute birdie!

I found out from some people on here that too many pellets can be hard on the kidneys, so now I do about 50/50 on the seed to pellet ratio.

Mine will eat carrot, spinach, and broccoli SOMETIMES. I don’t know what determines their cravings >_< so I end up throwing away most of the uneaten veg, sadly. Otherwise, they receive a small handful of zupreem naturals pellets along with a sprinkling of “just for fun” pellets of the same brand. I feel like it ups their fruit/veg count.

You might have to find out from someone else who manages to get their tiels to eat chop haha- good luck!
 

Kestrel

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There are several pellets out there that are free of dyes and sugars :) I made up a reference page: Pellets for Parrots

Tiels do tend to do better with more seeds in the diet. The way I have heard for them is equal parts seed to pellets, and then remainder veggies/grains/chop. So it could be something like 25% pellets, 25% seeds, and 50% chop if you were so inclined.

Is your tiel being weaned onto chop? If so, then offering a well rounded chop mix for the main portion of the diet may work quite well for you. For my birds, I have always had picky eaters so I usually end up feeding 75% pellets. (non cockatiel birds). If they are only picking their favorites it may become an unbalanced diet.
First of all thank you! I know, isn't he adorable! I can't get enough of him/her. Just warms my heart.

Secondly, that list is very helpful! Thank you! Learning a lot going through it.

I didn't realize that cane molasses was sugar. So apparently nutriberries are sweetened after all! :/

I also noticed that a lot of those pellets have hulled sunflower seeds in them pretty high up on the list. I thought sunflower seeds were supposed to be limited to like two or three a day? Seems odd they would put so much in the pellets if that's the case. May be why some people find they are hard on the kidneys? @RedFoxBlackSox

So the plan is for the breeder to wean my tiel onto pellets. But I also have the option to take him/her home a little early so that I can wean her myself. I am still undecided if I'm going to do that or not. I would consider it if it would be beneficial to start more healthy eating habits. I know once they get a taste for certain things it can be really hard to break. And the pellets the breeder is using have sugar and food coloring in them so I'm not thrilled about that. I didn't find that out until today so I'm kind of in a mad dash now to learn all I can in time to make a decision on what will be the best thing for the little guy. He easily has a week or two before they start introducing pellets. If it would be better to wean him into chop, I may just bring her/him home early. We shall see, I feel like I still need a lot more info before I make that decision.

Anyway thank you again for sharing the list! Very informative. :)
 

Mizzely

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Sunflower seeds are actually full of great nutrients! The problem is birds know they are, so when they are given in a mix, they tend to eat the sunflower seeds and ONLY the sunflower seeds. Then it becomes unbalanced. Those that use sunflower seeds are usually using whole foods that taste good vs relying on sugar or increased vitamins. :)
 

Zara

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The problem is birds know they are, so when they are given in a mix, they tend to eat the sunflower seeds and ONLY the sunflower seeds.
My Sydney springs to mind. Always eats the sunflower seeds first, so I pick them out the mix and only leave a couple.

Here´s a link to some great chop info: My Chop "Recipe"

I already said on your first thread, but I highly recommend waiting to bring the chick home after s/he´s weaned. If you have to handfeed whilst weaning and do it wrong, the chick can aspirate. Maybe you can drop a bag of food off with the breeder for them to use to wean your bird?
 

Farlie

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CUTENESS OVERLOAD here! WOW, how adorable can it get???

Zara has a good point about hand feeding a new chick. Aspirating will most likely kill him/her.
 
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Kestrel

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So a little background on me. I was a veterinary technician for 9 years (small animal vet, not specifically bird vet). While I have never weaned a cockatiel or parrot before, I used to rescue birds and have hand fed and weaned many wild birds such as sparrows, mocking birds, finches and crows. I also used to work for the wildlife way station where I was almost exclusively raising baby birds for years. But as I mentioned I have never hand fed or raised any type of hook billed bird and I know there are some differences.
The breeder seems to be confident that I would be fine weaning him myself. Honestly I am not as worried about the actual act of feeding the baby as I am about the weaning part. Getting him/her to eat other foods on his own. From the research I have done it seems like it can be tricky because the babies can be picky and it is not uncommon for them to lose weight during this period. That makes me nervous. Wild birds once you get them to the weaning stage are generally pretty good eaters, it's almost never a problem. Also, the breeder does not offer any kind of health guarantee once I take the bird home. So there's that.

My instincts are to agree with you. I lean toward just letting the breeder go ahead and wean him. But since I have a week or so to decide, I'm just exploring all of my options. But please know that I do hear you and I appreciate your input. That is why I am here to learn all I can from people more experienced than myself. I promise I read all of the comments and I am listening with an open mind. at the end of the day I just want what is best for this little bird.
 

Ripshod

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Start basic and build from there. Not all tiels like the same things, but I have found brown rice, egg, pinto and red kidney beans, and quinoa quite popular with Tau. We've been at it a while to get this far adding one thing every week. Fresh spinach and parsley are good to hang around the cage. It's well known that tiels don't go for fruit that much, but Tau loves finding the odd soaked raisin in her chop.
Oh, and a spoonful of bird salad on it's own is always popular, try find one with alfalfa. I use Kaytee Bird Greens.
 

sunnysmom

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Your tiel is adorable. Cockatiels are granivores. So I believe they need seed in their diet. I fed mine about 50% seeds, 15% pellets (actually nutriberries) and the rest vegetables, rice, etc. Cockatiels generally don't eat fruit. My tiel also loved the Higgins Worldly Cuisine mixes and you can add chopped up vegetables to those too. Also, I would let the breeder wean the baby. Tiels usually don't wean until 8-10 weeks. And it's common for newly weaned tiels to regress and need handfeedings in their new home. So I would make sure the tiel is fully weaned before bringing home, although I realize you have more experience than most people with that.
 
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