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Feed recommendations for a picky Pi?

Oraien

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I recently acquired a BH Pi. I am not confident on his age or most of the information I was told about him and recently found out that he was being kept in a cage that I had previously deemed too small for a green cheek conure when looking for cages for a new baby coming home-

So now I am trying to make sure that any and all possible things that I can improve for him are done as quickly and efficiently as possible. He came home to a macaw sized cage and spends most of his time out of the cage either on the back of our couch or on the play top and while he was SUPER shy when he came home, he's really coming out of his shell now, talking up a storm, making all kinds of noises and calls. He's a lovely lovely boy and deserves the world no matter what.

He came with Vita Prima Large Hookbill Safflower Formula but everything I've read about bird health in general suggests sunflower, safflower and peanuts are things to stay away from in a daily diet, and that's pretty much all he EATS from the mix as everything else is tiny seed sized. He is very picky, does not accept anything from hand except peanuts and so I'm being faced with needing some info not only about how to transition a VERY picky Pi to a better diet, but what even IS a better diet than what he's on?
 

expressmailtome

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finchly

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Hi there!
Congrats on your new Pi. I also rescued a Pi, and he had been on seed only all his life. It takes awhile to convert them to a better diet.

A “good” diet is going to look like this: a little seed/nuts, pellet food, and fresh foods (veggies, sprouts, fruit). Please cut out the peanuts immediately. They can carry a fungus that causes aspergillosis. I think Pi’s are especially susceptible to this.

You can try some various pellets, most of here avoid the colored ones and choose from Roudybush, TOPS, Harrison’s. That said.. my Pi will only eat colored pellets, and only certain colors of those. I have decided after 5 years that he can just eat the colored pellets!

Your bird should have some veggies every day, like kale, broccoli, sweet potato (cooked), peas, etc. He may like them in chunks or chopped fine, you’ll have to try and see. I chop everything fine for finches and my guy is happy to eat it like that. He is crazy about sprouts, too (this from being a seed eater, makes me ecstatic). He also loves scrambled egg and bananas. Oh - and grapes for a treat.

One thing - birds believe everything is a monster. So you'll have to try the new foods more than once to get him used to them. Some people offer a small dish of veggies every day for a month before their bird finally begins eating them.

I have very recently switched my birds off pellets because of the controversy about them, and am following a raw whole food diet. There are facebook groups about that if you’re interested led by avian experts.

Hope this helps!
 

Lady Jane

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:congrats5: on your new BH Pi!!

Agree that he needs to start eating fresh fruit and veggies... especially beta carotene (precursor to Vit A) rich foods since Pi can be prone to respiratory disease. A seed only diet is very deficient in vits, minerals and enzymes. I have found my Pi, Kobe, has taken to sprouted grains and legumes. If your Pi likes sunflowers and safflowers, try sprouting them! Kobe gets a bowl like the one below every breakfast time, and a similar one in the evening which has less fruit, but with a little cooked food added... like scrambled egg (which he goes mad for!), or mashed sweet potato, or some cooked grains and legumes, etc.

Beta carotene rich foods are the brightly coloured foods like carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, sweet peppers, chilies, broccoli, kale, mango, papaya, Sharon fruit, orange melon, pomegranate, blueberries, etc. Try different ways of cutting them up - small, big, squares, triangles etc. Kobe particularly loves pomegranate, grapes, Sharon fruit as well as sprouts. It takes a while for them to get used to new food, but don't give up. It took Kobe 5 years before he would try carrots.

 

MyPiOwnsUs

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Your story sounds a lot like mine, so kudos for wanting to make your baby's diet the best. Anything I suggest will be covered here as well, but I'll reemphasize experimentation and initial fear of anything new. My bird is afraid of new foods, especially large chunks of new foods, so I cut them into non-threatening princess bites. Oh, and if your bird has never bitten into anything with a skin, like a grape or blueberry, he might not know there's something tasty inside. I still have to cut blueberries and grapes into halves or quarters so that my Pi will eat them.

And just as important as what birds should eat, is what they shouldn't eat. Here's a quick list from the Lafeber company (I don't have any opinion on the food products they sell): Foods Toxic To Pet Birds – Pet Birds by Lafeber Co.

And, I don't know how it is now, but in the past I used to contact the parrot food companies for free samples if you're going to try pellets (I personally stay away from the ones with dye in them, but some people don't have a choice). No matter what type of diet style you choose (including pellets or not), variety is key (as much as you can, anyway), and just keep trying new things over and over. I also make birdie breads where I can hide foods she won't eat in foods that she will.

You'll most likely come across a lot of conflicting information, and that part is frustrating, but just do the best you can and your little bird will do great. What's most important is that you care and are taking action. :)
 

CheckeredTail

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My Toro is pretty picky too, but yeah, just try to make yourself open to experimenting. Sometimes they'll love foods when it's whole, sometimes cut really small, sometimes they'll only eat it if it's hung from the ceiling of the cage or stuck in a toy, or offered out of the cage. If you find he likes large seeds, which Toro did when we first got her, we tried out some sprouted beans which she did enjoy. Try azuki beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, brown rice, oats? Try finding a food he already likes, and see if you can make food you want him to eat that looks somewhat similar and keep giving him time to get curious. Pis are shy, cautious, and a bit slow to get into things, but they really are still full of curiousity and you're likely to see success if you keep looking.

We offer some fruit/veggies/sprouted seed but for the bulk of her daily diet for her we use pellets, we use Zupreem, she loves the fruit ones, we've tried to switch in some of the "natural" ones so she has less dye in her poop, but she just eats around the brown ones when I mix them in lol

I know lots of people have opinions about what the best commercial pellet company is, I've heard good things about Zupreem, Roudybrush, Harrison's and Lafeber so probably any of those might be good to try.
 

jh81

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I noticed you want to do things quickly and efficiently.. thats a nice idea, but with parrots this often wont work :)
From what i read you have allready done your bird a HUGE favor, i thank you for that :heart:

But keep in kind, 5% improvement is better then 0%, so take things slow, even if your bird is on a seed only diet, she allready has much improvement over her former life :)

I rescued an Amazon, and its taking me 3 years allready and she still wont eat lots of healthy stuff. But still her life has improved much so i am not worried. We will get there, and so will you! :heart:
 

jh81

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:congrats5: on your new BH Pi!!

Agree that he needs to start eating fresh fruit and veggies... especially beta carotene (precursor to Vit A) rich foods since Pi can be prone to respiratory disease. A seed only diet is very deficient in vits, minerals and enzymes. I have found my Pi, Kobe, has taken to sprouted grains and legumes. If your Pi likes sunflowers and safflowers, try sprouting them! Kobe gets a bowl like the one below every breakfast time, and a similar one in the evening which has less fruit, but with a little cooked food added... like scrambled egg (which he goes mad for!), or mashed sweet potato, or some cooked grains and legumes, etc.

Beta carotene rich foods are the brightly coloured foods like carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, sweet peppers, chilies, broccoli, kale, mango, papaya, Sharon fruit, orange melon, pomegranate, blueberries, etc. Try different ways of cutting them up - small, big, squares, triangles etc. Kobe particularly loves pomegranate, grapes, Sharon fruit as well as sprouts. It takes a while for them to get used to new food, but don't give up. It took Kobe 5 years before he would try carrots.

I LOVE how that looks! Much healthier then my own diet :hehe:
 

Dartman

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If he'll eat all the good stuff , great, but a good diet is what he'll actually eat then you can slowly branch out to other good stuff as he settles in and gets curious. Make a show out of eating things around him and making yummy noises. They always want what you have so use that to your advantage. They also love to eat with and when their flock eats.
 
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