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New year's pellet conversion resolution

Stormcloud

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This idea for thread began as an offer to assist one member who lives local to myself. Featherbaby (Astrid) has tried various methods to convert her beloved Alex, Ceddy, from seed to pellets based on the advice given to her by her AV. So after a few discussions Featherbaby and I thought we'd do a "Real-Time" thread of the conversion. However, I also know that there are many members here who have struggled with, or had little success in, converting their parrots from seed to pellets. After some consideration I thought it might be a great idea to try and assist other members at the same time with this process. My two extremely picky Hooded Parrots took several attempts and 3 months to convert and to my AV's knowledge this is the only time he is aware of that an adult pair of Hooded Parrots have been successfully converted from a seed-based diet to a pellet-based diet. So I know from first-hand experience that the method we will be employing works. It is also a good method for converting a bird from one brand of pellet to another.

So why should you convert your seed eating parrot to pellets? Seed based diets lack the all the vitamins, minerals and trace elements your parrots need to maintain optimum health. The other good thing about them is that they provide all these goodies in the correct quantities. If your parrot is receiving all the nutrition he/she needs you'll find he/she will be more active, the feathers after moulting will look even better, less flakiness on the beak, better skin on their feet. A strong healthy bird also has a strong healthy immune system, which means it is less likely to succumb to disease caused by malnutrition. Any Avian Vet will tell you that in over 90% of cases where they see an ill bird, it can be traced back to malnutrition at some point in the bird's past. Chiku, my Hooded Hen, came to me with a sinus infection that kept recurring despite repeated treatment, but after conversion to pellets there has never been a further episode. IMO, for those of you who have yet to convert you parrots to pellets you are missing a great opportunity. Pellets are not just something to consider when one of your birds becomes ill, but should be used for the lifetime of your birds, as prevention is always better than cure. Pellets are not the "be-all and end-all" of your beloved parrot's diet, but they should make up a significant proportion. I am not one who subscribes to the theory that small birds should not be given pellets. My Hooded Parrots weigh in at a meagre 60-65g each and they absolutely thrive on their pellets. Their diet consists of around 70% pellets and approximately 30% fresh foods.

For Australian members who wish to take part in this project, we will be using Vetafarm Maintenance Pellets. For North American members who wish to take part in this project we will be using Zupreem Naturals. Both these pellets were very carefully chosen for this project primarily because of their water absorption qualities, relative availability and their suitability for the conversion method to be employed. I came up with the pellet for our North American members in consultation with Avian Avenue's own "Pellet Princess" Mizzely (Shawna). Mizzely is absolutely obsessed with pellets and there are very few people on this forum who are as knowledgeable about all the properties of the pellets available to the average punter as she is. I contacted her and told her what properties the pellet required for this project and this was her recommendation based upon the specifications I provided her with. Please note that this is not a pellet type and/or manufacturer debate, it is purely a conversion thread. Your bird can be swapped onto another pellet once the conversion is complete.

IF YOU WISH TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROJECT:
1). Please insure that your bird is in good health; and
2). If you own an Ekkie, Parrotlet and/or any other bird that is known to have adverse reactions related to pellet consumption please contact your AV to assess it's suitability for this project before participating; and
3). If your bird is ill, please contact your AV to assess it's suitability for this project before participating; and
4). If your bird is currently on, or just completed a course a medication please contact your AV to assess it's suitability for this project before participating; and
5). Please stick to one of the two pellets listed during the conversion process. They have been specifically chosen for their suitability for this project and the conversion method to be employed; and
6). Just try converting one bird at a time. If your bird co-habitates with another then we will be converting them both. Once you've converted one, then you can do the rest on your own; and
7). Please do not take any short-cuts. Short-cuts usually result in failed conversion attempts which means you will need to start all over again; and
8). Please register that you are participating by replying to this thread. I cannot assist you if I don't know that you are participating; and
9). Do not worry if you do not succeed on your first attempt. Seed junkies are not always easy to convert and it took me 3 attempts; and
10). Some birds will convert more quickly than others so don't worry if other members birds complete the process more quickly than your own. Every bird is an individual; and
11). You will need to be more stubborn, resilient, determined and show more resolve than your parrot if you are to succeed.

ITEMS YOU WILL NEED
1). An accurate electronic scale that measures in grams.
2). 2kg (4.5lb) of the seed mix you currently feed your parrot.
3). 2kg (4.5lb) of either Vetafarm Maintenance Pellets or Zupreem Natural Pellets (please insure that the Zupreem Naturals is the suitable size pellet for your parrot. Vetafarm Maintenance only comes in one size).
4). Lukewarm tap water
5). A journal (Excel spreadsheet is also good) to keep notes and figures so that you have something in writing you can revisit for future reference.
6). Lots of patience.

HOW DO I START STAGE 1?
1). Reply to this thread so I know that you are participating in this project; and
2). Between now and New Year's Eve weigh the amount of seed your bird consumes every day so we can gain an average consumption; and
3). Weigh your bird 3 times between now and New Year's Eve to get an average weight; and
4). Enter the information from 2 & 3 by editing your initial reply to this thread as it will assist in keeping the thread as compact as possible (it will be long enough as we go from Stage to Stage); and
5). Acquire the items you will need before New Year's Day; and
6). I will give you instructions as we go along in stages, but the method we will be using is based upon the method described in my post in this thread
Finally-A Pellet They Eat!
7). Don't jump the gun. Between now and New Years Eve please do the preparation in gaining an average consumption of seed and an average weight of the bird you intend to convert and consulting with you AV if required.

Last, but not least. I cannot guarantee that you will successfully convert your parrot from seed to pellets, but I would expect at least a 95% success rate with this method if you follow my instructions as we go along and don't give up. There will be times where your bird will not look particularly impressed with proceedings, but as long as you persist you will eventually succeed. Some birds will be converted in a matter of weeks, others will take several months if they are particularly stubborn. As long as you are willing to persist then I will be here to assist. :)
 

CeddysMum

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Thank you so much again for doing this, Gerard.

Obviously, as you mentioned, Ceddy and I will be participating. In order not to blow out this thread I won't post here again until I have the weight results - average seed consumption and Ceddy's average weight - by New Year's :)

Fingers crossed for myself with Ceddy :p and for any and all that will join us in the attempt to convert our stubborn seed junkies to pellets.
 

Crys12065

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Stormcloud

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Absolutely Crystal and thanks for providing the link. Does your BH Pionus eat all of the mix or just bits it likes? :)
 

Crys12065

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Absolutely Crystal and thanks for providing the link. Does your BH Pionus eat all of the mix or just bits it likes? :)
great :) She picks out what she likes from the mix which is mostly the nuts and dried fruits so not very good for her if that is all she is eating. But she won't touch pellets, been trying for a year and a half.
 

CeddysMum

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I Know I said I won't post again before NY's - I lied :p

I am wondering if this thread could please be made into a sticky so that

1. it doesn't get 'drowned' among 1000s
*and*
2. for any members who might want to follow Gerard's method in the future

Thanks - over and out :D

Sent from my Galaxy S3 using Tapatalk 2
 

Stormcloud

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We aren't eating pellets here. My birds are on a similar diet to Crystals birds. Thanks for the link. This looks great.
No problem Katherine, only too happy to attempt too help you if I can. The more the merrier I say and you can all give each other some moral support as we go along. :)
 

Stormcloud

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Astrid, Crystal and Katherine it would be great if you would post the details about seed consumption (food consumption in Crystal & Katherine's cases) and Fid weight please. Crystal and Katherine, it is my recommendation that you convert one bird at a time. The exception to this would be if you have more than one bird housed in the same cage of course. Once you've been through the process once, you'll know what to expect and can then convert the others if required. While we are going through this process I would also like you to have a think about which pellet you would like your FID to eventually end up eating.

It will also be important that the bird being converted doesn't have access to other sources of food except what's in his or her cage. Your bird cannot be allowed to visit another bird's cage to get their seed fix as all you'll be doing is extending the process. You'll still be able to offer your bird their normal fruit and veggies. It is very important that you provide a controlled environment or you are unlikely to succeed. I'll post the conversion method tomorrow.

Once converted and then switched to your pellet of choice, I recommend that you essentially stay with that pellet for at least a 12 month period. You will not be able to objectively assess its benefits until your bird has had at least two full moults after conversion is complete. To give you an example. Hooded Parrots have very long tail feathers for the size of the bird. Think Macaw, but in a little package. They weigh a little bit more than a Linnie, but are 11 inches long. Hototo, my male Hooded Parrot, had slightly deformed tail feathers. Instead of the longest two being straight, they had a lobe on the end and were bent. Those feathers reminded me of the frond on a palm or fern that hadn't formed correctly or completely unfurled. I suspected that this was most likely a deformity caused by inbreeding and the breeder had off-loaded him to a pet shop, because he didn't conform to the standard of the original bird and therefore wasn't considered good breeding stock. However, the more I delved into diet, the more I wondered if the feather deformity was caused by malnutrition as birds with very long tail feathers would use up an extraordinary amount of nutrients to grow them. Hototo has just finished his first big moult 8 months after conversion and I am pleased to say that his tail feathers are almost perfect this time around. Therefore it would be reasonable to conclude that what initially appeared to be a slight deformity was indeed able to be demonstrated to be a case of malnutrition that could be corrected with better diet. Pellets will not solve every condition, but you'll be surprised how many they can.
:)
 

CeddysMum

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Uh, Gerard, unless I'm mistaken original posts can only be edited for a limited time? (at least I think so since I no longer have an [Edit Post] button available on my original post :confused:)

Which means I can't add them there so here are Ceddy's averages:

Ceddy's weight: 201g
Seed consumption: 12g per day
 

Lene

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My birds were eating seeds along with fresh fruit and vegetables... I only recently converted them to pellets, because that seemed the right thing to do... Because they were used to such a varied diet, and whatever was in the food dishes was edible, they ate it straight away...
 

Stormcloud

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My birds were eating seeds along with fresh fruit and vegetables... I only recently converted them to pellets, because that seemed the right thing to do... Because they were used to such a varied diet, and whatever was in the food dishes was edible, they ate it straight away...
I could only have wished that my birds would have been that co-operative Lene. I had a to endure a 3 month struggle, but the results have been worth it. :lol:
 

Stormcloud

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Happy New Year Astrid and here we go with your Pellet Conversion Project.

1). In separate bowls place 16g of seed and 16g of Vetafarm Maintenance Pellets.

Seed & Pellets.jpg

2). Add about 10ml of tepid water to the pellets and allow them to soak it up over 30 seconds or so. Then add the seeds and mix them together. See if you can squash the mix into a ball like a rissole. If it won't then add a couple 2-3ml more of water and try again.

Rissole.jpg

3). Squash the seed and pellet ball down into the bottom of a food bowl so it looks like the picture below (but in focus). Run with this mix for the next 5 days. At this point all we want Ceddy to do is become accustomed to the taste of pellets. Every time picks out a seed she'll cop a mouth full of pellet at the same time. At 200g Ceddy would have no problem in picking up pellet/seed ball up and turfing it out of the dish which is why for her we squash it into the bottom of the feed dish. If at anytime during the pellet conversion Ceddy stops eating for a whole day then put her back on seed for a few days and start the process over again. I'll update again in a few days.
:)

Pancake.jpg
 

CeddysMum

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Happy New Year to you too, Gerard :)

Ok let the 'fun' begin. She's had the 'rissole' for brekky already and I'm happy to report at least she did get 'in there' - I'd half expected her to ignore the whole thing in disgust :p

I might have to add more water as the larger seeds (especially sunflower) are making it very easy for her to break off large chunks of pellet mash and throw them out :rolleyes:

But for the first morning I consider it a success and I'll report back in a few days :fingerscrossed: unless we run into 'trouble'
_________

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CeddysMum

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Hi Gerard, here's my first update :)

End of day 4 and I am very pleased to report that Ceddy has been eating the 'rissoles' well every day, even including some of the pellet mash :dance4: and she has not lost any weight (I did forget to weigh her this morning :rolleyes:).

I did have to replace it with fresh in the afternoon today as I was not confident that it was still 'safe' with today's heat, so I made another 'half-rissole' and she pretty much gobbled it all up at dinner time, including much of the pellet mash - YAY!:dance5:

Let's hope this trend will continue :fingerscrossed:
 

Stormcloud

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Great Stuff Astrid! :D

Time for Phase 2.


From tomorrow you can reduce the seed content by 2g, but I want you to keep using the 16g of pellets. Time to make Ceddy work a little harder for that seed. Wouldn't be too worried about changing it in hot weather. As long as you keep using water to soften the pellets it will be fine. The worst that will happen is that the rissole will dry out, but it won't go off. It's why I don't recommend doing this with fruit juice. Keep going, you and Ceddy are going well.
:)
 

CeddysMum

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Thank you, Gerard, will do! :)

Yea, I thought it kinda smelled a little funny - maybe it was just my imagination :rolleyes: or maybe it was some of the dried fruit/veggies in the seed mix after having been dampened. Anyway, with her having a slightly 'sensitive' tummy I didn't want to take any risks :)
 

CeddysMum

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Hi Gerard, day 4 of phase 2.

Ceddy's still eating the rissoles well, however she has lost some weight :(.

It appears she's lost the weight both times on the extremely hot days (3g last Friday and 2g yesterday, Monday - on both days I was struggling to keep the place reasonably cool, I don't have a/c :( ). She'd regained 1g in-between so she's lost 4g overall.

At this point I'm just closely monitoring her (e.g. weighing her several times a day) as she's not showing any other signs of being sick or similar since she's active and vocal etc.

__________

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Stormcloud

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:hmmm:If she's still eating well, then you're probably right in it being heat related. When it's been stinking hot around 40C like we've been having you and I also eat less as well. I doubt birds are much different and if Ceddy's still eating her rissoles well then I wouldn't be too concerned. The weight variations are probably more noticeable this summer because you're weighing her every day, whereas you probably haven't before. Hopefully she's still eating all her fruit and veggies. Over the next couple of days I'd like you to have a think about what pellet you'd like Ceddy to end up on. Out of curiosity, does she eat the whole lot up, or is she still virtually just trying to pick out the seeds?

On Thursday we're going to move onto Phase 3 and reduce the seed content by another 2g. So you'll now have rissoles consisting of 12g seed and 16g pellets. However, I also want you to put 10g of dry pellets (as they come out of the pack) in a separate bowl as well and see what happens. If she hooks into the dry pellets for more than a 5 minute period then I want you to remove the rissoles as your conversion will be complete. If she doesn't touch them then just continue with Phase 3. I don't necessarily expect her to take to the dry pellets yet, but you just never know. ;)

If at any point Ceddy's weight drops to 191g for any reason, including heat, then I want you to put her back onto straight seed immediately for 2 weeks and then we'll try again. We're in for another stinker on Friday so we'll see how she goes, but the next couple of days will be cooler thank god.
:)
 
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