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Converting Parrots to a Healthier Diet - Tips

Barbara2

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Oh my goodness what good info Monica. Most interesting read. Saved it to look at later. Thanks so much for taking your time to post it..
 

Garet

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Good advice. I'd also like to add a tip, if I may. I just recently got my lovebird to eat sprouts. My birbs have a place on my desk where they come to eat and drink out of two former dog dishes. I also have a few sprouts I tried growing as an experiment in a small, colorful pot about 5 inches high (about as high as the dishes are). I waited until they had grown quite a bit and put the sprout pot near where they usually land on the edge of the bowl to eat. The sprouted seeds tickled his tailfeathers, and he turned around, bit one and kept on nibbling.
 

J.Rome

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Thanks, this will definitely help me get my Green Cheek off those fruity things.
 

Birdie76

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I'e got him eating some chia, amaranth and flax now as well. He seems to like the smaller seeds. Turned his nose at sunflower seeds even hulled. A start anyway
 

Samuska

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Ahhh!! Thank you for this thread!! I was about to ask how to convert my new 10wk old GCC onto a healthier diet - she was weaned on a 100% seed diet by the breeder and fed only that by her last owner. UGH!

Luckily she’s very curious about everything I’m doing (and what I eat!) so she likes to pick at new food, but she doesn’t eat her pellets and picks through the veg chop to eat only her favorite bits (apple, blackberry.. which I’m cutting down on to get her to try the other bits)

I’ll have to see about making the pellet paste! She’s a seed junkie so it might work after all... she’s so tiny that I’m afraid going near cold-turkey will cause her to lose weight too quickly.
 

hanee

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I am glad I found this thread, because I try to change my cockatiels to pellet for a while... with not much success. I bought Roudybush maintenance and high energy and got the advice to mix them in 2:1 for the period of change then feed the maintenance.
One of my cockatiels are less resistant and tries it, but there are two who are very stubborn (especially the male) and one who is just following the rest (the stubborn ones of course :D). I tried different methods like mixing with seeds, the cold-turkey way, but they would rather starve themselves to death than eat it, so I had to stop.

Now I am trying this way to mix with a little water, started today. I also keep track of their weight, I weighted one of the stubborn ones and the one who is more willing to eat it (to have a statistically acceptable sample :smuggrin:).
So far in the morning my stubborn two was checking over and over all the pots (they have 4 - 1 for each) and realised they will find the same ugly food in all. They were looking at me questioning, almost telling 'Mom, seriously? You want us to eat this s..t?' :rofl: But then the other two started to eat, so they also gave up and started to eat with a sort of loathing on their 'faces'.. it was funny :D
Then they were looking for possible remainings in the room and at the bottom of the cage, but I was smarter and cleaned up everything.. so finally they eat it!

I will keep going for 2 weeks with the 50% mixture then change to more pellet :fairy:
 

Marvel_ous

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This is an amazing thread!!

I'm hopefully getting a baby budgie soon so hopefully the diet switch will be easy, the ground pellet "cake" seems like a great way to serve the mix of pellets and seeds I'll be feeding. (Goldenfeast pellets and whatever seed I can find at PetSmart without sunflower)
 

hanee

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Today is day 4 of trying out the pellet pasta.
One of my reference tiels Bubu gained 5 gramms bodyweight :lol::smuggrin: Still not overweighted, but on the edge... I will need to pay attention how much they get, although my other reference tiel only gained 2 grams for which I am really happy because she is at the lower range of normal weight.
It seems after the first stubborn non-acceptance and childish outcry they realised it is actually really cool and tasty and now eat it like they are starving for days.. positively shocking that it works! I will change the ingredients after 1 week to more pellets to the seeds (now it is 60% seeds 40% pellets).

Here is the poor starving flock, they screamed for some more food in the evening, so I graced :roflmao:
Fatty-Bubu is at the right bottom of the picture.

pellet.jpg
 

geff

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Great section on diet. Healthy nourishing foods for birds. A joy too read.
 

Linearis

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Sometimes vets give free samples of different pellets so it's worth asking! My vet gave me 3 different brands in various sizes and although my parrotlet snubbed harrison's and tropican pellets, she seems to love finch-size lafeber pellets! She's eating them right now like a little PIG. I've actually never seen her eat pellets with such enthusiasm... What I did was at first I put all three in a plate to see which ones she'd go for most and then tried in different combinations and eventually just tried to see which lafeber size she preferred.. She tried a bit of all of them, and at first it seemed like canary-size lafeber and tropican were winning out. But ultimately, once she a good taste of lafeber they ended up winning in the smallest size (finch). Feeding an all-pellet diet to parrotlets has had some controversy, but it is not her whole diet and I'm more worried of vitamin deficiencies right now. She also eats grains, veggies (although she loves spitting them out... she loves romaine but there's several issues with it lately, and the kale I get lately is always wilted... very disappointing), and some seed too. One day though my goal would be to do 50% pellet, 20%-30% seed and grain, and the rest veggies... I'd like her to eat more veggies than that ideally though.
 

Renee's Birds

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Monica,

Thank you for all of this great information. I have taken on a 15 month old Eclectus. His previous owners didn't follow the proper dietary needs. No fresh veggies or fresh fruit, zero. He was on a mixture of Pretty Bird & Zupreem pellets, seed & dried fruit & nuts.

He's rejecting all fresh veggies except raw carrot. He is eating Top's pellets, the pellet change went well. I'm for a delivery of mung bean seed for sprouting. He has rejected brown rice & lentils. Today his bowls only have pellets & fresh chopped veggies. I'll take your advice and add some seed to it. He loves seed. So far he's not interested, hopefully the addition of seed will get him there.

Regarding sprouting, do you recommend a hydrogen peroxide & water mixture to kill any bacteria? Followed by several rinses of water to wash away the hydrogen peroxide mixture?


Sprouty Goodness

Many parrots love seeds and may quickly take to eating sprouts. Sprouting seeds can be bought at a health food store, some parrot stores, as well as online stores. Here's a list of seeds you can use to sprout.




Grains
  • Wheat
  • Weatgrass
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Whole oats
  • Hulless Barley
  • Spelt
  • Kamut
  • Amaranth
  • Wild Rice
  • Brown Rice
  • Hulless Oats
  • Rye
  • Teff
Legumes
  • Mung
  • Lentils
  • Adzuki
  • Chick peas
  • Whole peas
Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Clover
  • Alfalfa
  • Broccoli
  • Arugula
  • Radish
  • Fenugreek
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Raw Buckwheat
  • Chia
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Flax
  • Fennel
  • Mustard Seeds
When sprouting legumes, only use lentils, adzuki, chick peas (garbanzo beans), or peas, and sprout until the tails are 1/4-1/2" in length. Larger beans must be fully cooked and not sprouted. Most sprouts are fine to feed after 1-5 days, depending on length of sprouting times.

Whether you buy premixed sprouting seeds or create your own mix, the goal is to get your bird eating sprouts. Sprouts can be left within the cage for several hours. Once the sprouts are ready to be fed, start feeding them! If your bird readily eats the sprouts, after a week, you can start adding in 1-2 finely chopped vegetables. You might try carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, steamed sweet potatos, corn, cilantro, hot peppers, etc. If you notice your bird starting to eat the vegetables in addition to the sprouts, more vegetables can be added to the sprout mix. Once they are eating the sprout mix well, you can also add in some healthy sprouted and/or cooked grains and legumes, with a small amount of fruits.

 

Monica

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@Renee's Birds, I haven't used H2O personally, although I can't say it would be a bad idea.

I have used GSE, which I don't recommend as it's not actually natural and may potentially cause more harm than good if you over-do it. I've also used diluted ACV and citric acid, or just completely went without.

Sounds like you've got your work cut out for you, but given time, I'm sure he'll figure out what's good for him! :)
 

Renee's Birds

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Good news,

He's eating from the bowl of fresh chop, pellets, the seed you suggested to add did the trick.

Thank you so much! I'll keep you posted.

❤❤❤❤❤❤❤


@Renee's Birds, I haven't used H2O personally, although I can't say it would be a bad idea.

I have used GSE, which I don't recommend as it's not actually natural and may potentially cause more harm than good if you over-do it. I've also used diluted ACV and citric acid, or just completely went without.

Sounds like you've got your work cut out for you, but given time, I'm sure he'll figure out what's good for him! :)[/QUOTE
 

Renee's Birds

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Good Morning Monica,

For the 2nd day in a row, Saint is eating fresh chop w/a teaspoon of pellets sprinkled w/a little mixed seed.

I feel so happy & relieved, thank you again for your advice & direction.

Renee ❤




A healthy parrot starts with a healthy diet. Although the perfect diet is controversial, many parrot enthusiasts and experts agree on one thing; a seed only diet is a diet that is lacking in essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Studies have shown that adding fresh foods and pellets to a parrots diet can not only increase their health but may also prolong their lifespan. A healthy diet can help aid a birds immune system in keeping illnesses away. Feeding a healthy diet and having your bird eat a healthy diet can be entirely two different things! So, how do you get a seed junky, perch potato to eat healthier? In this guide, we will go through a few different techniques that you can use to get your birds eating healthier!

1. Before you make the switch
2. Sprouty Goodness
3. Mash-terpiece
4. Ingenuity
5. Morning Feed
6. Cold Turkey
7. From Seeds to Pellets
8. Sweet Treats
9. Pellet Paste
10. Size matters
11. Juicy Supreem

When deciding to change your parrots diet, it is essential to speak with your avian vet about a diet plan. Your avian vet may be able to help you set diet goals for your bird, give you tips and advice on switching over, and help you along the way. The avian vet can tell you if your parrot is underweight, overweight, or 'just right' and the a-vet can do blood work to determine if your parrot should be on a special diet. If your bird is sick, it is best to get your bird healthy before trying to make a diet change.

Make sure that you have a gram scale to weigh your bird daily. The best time to weigh your bird is first thing in the morning after the 'big bomb.' Keep a journal of your parrot's weight so you can figure out if your bird is gaining or loosing weight too quickly, or staying just right. A gram scale can help you determine if you are making the diet change at the right pace or taking things too quickly. Gram scales can be bought at any grocery store, simply look for a kitchen scale or a postal scale. Using a digital gram scale may help you keep more accurate records.

During this transitional diet, it may be advised to also keep track of what diet changes you did in your journal as well as your birds behaivor throughout the day, noting how often and when your bird is eating. Keeping a journal or diary may help you spot any behavior changes and can help you determine if you are going forwards or backwords during this conversion.

Using a dye-free, natural and/or organic pellet is best. It's recommended to use pellets as 25-50% of the diet for small species, while the larger species do well with 50-75% pellets. Studies are showing that small birds fed a diet too high in pellets often suffer from kidney problems. Eclectus may do best on the Rice Diet from Roudybush or on a fresh food based diet. Parrotlets, particularly mutation parrotlets, may do best on a dye-free, organic/natural pellet or a fresh food based diet. Each bird is an individual, and what may work for one may not work for another. Getting blood panels done can tell you if you have your bird on the right diet or if additional diet changes may be required.
 

Monica

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That's awesome news!!! Way to go with Saint!!! Sounds like getting him to eat better wasn't that difficult after all! :)
 

Renee's Birds

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That's awesome news!!! Way to go with Saint!!! Sounds like getting him to eat better wasn't that difficult after all! :)
Day 3 -

Eating bowl of fresh chop again.
The mung bean seed arrived yesterday, this is day 2 of the sprouting process.

I was concerned. Taking away his choices & giving him 1 bowl of fresh chop, a few pellets & a little mixed seed did the trick. He waited till 12:30pm, but when your hungry, your going to eat what your given. He's still chomping away.
 

Monica

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The main thing is is to make sure that he's maintaining a healthy weight! :)
 

Renee's Birds

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The main thing is is to make sure that he's maintaining a healthy weight! :)
Hi Monica,

Saint is doing great w/his diet now. The mung bean sprouts were/are a HUGE hit! He absolutely LOVES them. I sprinkle them in w/the chop & he gobbles down the sprouts 1st then he goes for the chop & he usually eats 1/2 or more. He has a very big appetite for a bird.

I thought you would like to know how his diet was going. Again thank you for all of you help.

Renee
 

Monica

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Renee, that's awesome news! Well done! Sounds like Saint landed in great hands!
 
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