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Pellet Problems

Tsuki

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Hey guys, so I wanted to ask about something that happened to my cockatiel, but I can't find any mention of it online. Long text ahead!

Before my current cockatiels, I had another cockatiel pair Nonie (male) and Peaches (female) - contrary to my current cockatiels, I bought these 2 from a pet store, since I didn't knew of any breeders that lived nearby.

They were used to a seed diet, but I made it a point to convert them to pellets, which they did quite nicely, however that's when the problems started.

First Peaches fell ill, and her blood tests weren't looking good either, the clinic I was going to at the time couldn't keep her overnight since they only functioned as a clinic, not a hospital, so they gave me the medicine and I was left to my own devices. Unfortunately even with the medicine, she stopped eating completely and died shortly after; I remember she was mostly pooping water which is what prompted me to take them both to the vet - I understand this was likely a problem she already had when I purchased her, and not the pellets fault.

These were the pellets I was feeding them btw, it's all the pet stores seem to sell here (NutriBird):

1611775379871.png

My issue is with Nonie though, he kept eating pellets and it seems sometimes he would throw up, but it wasn't often, so I didn't think much of it since his blood exams were fine. In the meantime I changed vets, and I decided to try the pellets they were selling - I figured they were probably better than the pet store pellets, if it's a vet that is selling them.

These were the pellets from the vet (Psittacus):

1611775465754.png

Nonie loved these pellets, they even had this apple scent to them and they werent dyed with crazy colours. However I noticed his vomiting became more and more common, and his crop also started getting abnormally big, it got to a point where he would throw up every single day, and he'd make a mess of himself and the cage.

Here's a photo of him, before he started getting debilitated, you can see how gigantic is crop was.

20180501_142135.jpg

He was getting quite sick, so I agreed to leave him at the vet's for a whole week (this vet I currently go to functions as a hospital for exotic pets) in order to see if they found what was wrong with him and if he got better.

One week went by, and they said they couldn't find anything wrong with him, only that he overeated so much to the point of vomiting, so they told me to only feed him a certain amount of pellet grams a day - this of course lead to a very unhappy and hungy bird who would keep screaming at the top of his lungs the whole day.

From that point on, he just kept getting worse and worse, he was very debilitated and he really looked like he was going to die, he looked as debilitated and frail as Peaches did before her death - so I thought to myself "hey if you're going to die, I'm going to at least let you eat your favourite things before you go" and I gave him pellets and a ful bowl of seed.

He ate so many seeds it was unbelievable, his crop was so big, it was stretching like crazy; this was at night time so we then went to sleep shortly after this.

The next day, I had to go work, and my dad told me Nonie looked perkier and more lively when he woke him up, so I decided to keep giving him seeds to see what would happen. He kept being on a seed diet and his crop gradually went back to normal and his vomiting just completely stopped, he was a completely different bird now, he was back to his lively self.

I asked the vet about this of course, and they were just as confused as I was and said they never saw anything like it, and that pellets aren't supposed to do that to a bird.

I also asked the breeder I know, about it and he also says he doesn't like pellets and didn't seem very surprised when I told him about my sick cockatiel - he mainly sticks to a diet of seeds and veggies/fruits with his cockatiels it seems.

Now I feel like I'm a bad spot with Sunny and Peepo, they're currently on a seed diet, and its generally hard to feed them any other kind of vegetables aside from spinach, endive, rocket and letuce, they sometimes nible on apple too but most of the stuff I offer has to go in the trash, since they refuse to touch it. I'm afraid that the kind of diet they have now is going to cause nutricion problems in the future, but I'm also scared of converting them to pellets because of what happened to Nonie.

Has anyone here had any similar experiences or any ideas why Nonie might have reacted the way he did with the pellet diet? Do you also have any knowledge about these two pellet brands I used, or any suggestions on good pellets that I can get here in Europe?

Id really appreciate any input I can get on this since I would like my birds to be on pellets again, they do seem to be what everyone agrees is best, in terms of nutricion.

(For those wondering what happened to Nonie, he unfortunately flew away last year, the cage wasn't properly closed and he managed his way out. We spent the whole day until nightfall trying to catch him, until we just lost his trail. We kept looking for him throughout the city the next days and even put out leaflefts but we never found him.. I miss both Nonie and Peaches dearly, it's cruel when a bird you're stating to bond with dies, and awful when the bird you've bonded with flies away forever)
 

MnGuy

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Wow; sorry to hear you and the birds went through all of that. I really can't speak to the quality of those pellet brands. Is there any regulation of pet food in your country? If so, check with those state departments to see if there are any complaints filed against those companies about their bird food.

Are you able to order well-known brands (Harrison's, Roudybush, Zupreem, Tops, etc.) from other countries or the USA?

My CAG will cycle through her preferences for some veggies, so I always have to keep trying a bunch. Her constant favorites are broccoli and cauliflower, but I also feed butternut squash (cooked), zucchini, sweet potato (cooked), carrots (cooked and raw), leafy greens (she never eats any kind!), peppers, cucumbers, beans (cooked), etc.

I found that my bird was more willing to try different vegetables if I coarsely chopped them in a food processer instead of feeding big slices and chunks (which I still do on occasion). I also mix her vegetables with a cooked blend of grains, which she loves: quinoa, bulgur, farro, wild rice, lentils, etc.

Good luck.
 

sunnysmom

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I have read that there is evidence to suggest that an all pellet diet can be too hard on a cockatiel's kidneys, just as an all seed diet can be bad for their livers. I'm not saying this is what happened with your tiels- I don't think that would cause the crop issue but I just wanted to pass that info along. A long time cockatiel breeder that I know only feeds her tiels seeds and chop. She doesn't feed pellets. And cockatiels are granivores, so I do believe they should have seeds in their diet. When I belonged to a cockatiel forum, the consensus seemed to be 50 % seeds and 50% pellets for suggested diet. However, everyone seems to have a varied idea on "best" diet. I personally try to feed my tiels about 50% seeds, 15% pellets (actually nutriberries) and the rest vegetables. If I thought I could give a complete enough vegetable diet, I would be tempted to not feed pellets at all but I feel pellets fill in the gaps for any vitamins I am missing with the vegetables. (Plus my current tiels are older so I like the supplements senior nutriberries contains for them.) (And sorry for the loss of your other tiels.)

I'm not familiar with those pellets brands. Maybe some of our European members can offer suggestions. @Zara ? @Ripshod ?
 

Ripshod

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I have read that there is evidence to suggest that an all pellet diet can be too hard on a cockatiel's kidneys, just as an all seed diet can be bad for their livers.
So true. For the smaller birds the amount of calcium in the pellets can overload the kidneys. If it's not noticed it can go all the way to calcification of the kidneys, which is irreversible.
And cockatiels are granivores, so I do believe they should have seeds in their diet.
Also very true.
For tiels and budgies I've always stuck with the advice originally given to me by my current vet - 25-35% seed, 25-35% pellet, and the rest veggies. I've never had dietary issues in any of my birds following this basic guidance, other than one tiel who decided to gorge on cuttlefish bone.
The crop? It's very common in nature for a creature to know by instinct that something is lacking in their diet. It's likely the tiels in this case were gorging on their pellets in an effort to get more of what was lacking. Clearly what they were lacking is readily available in seeds.
It is likely the vet missed this because they'd never seen this before. That's not a criticism of the vet, just that most parronts are unaware of the dietary needs of smaller birds and rely on pet-shop produced seed mixes (and sadly their advice).
I see no problem with the pellets you mentioned. We have to be parent, dietician and therapist to our little friends. Welcome to the club.
 
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Khizz

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Whereabouts in Europe are you based? I can get Harrison's pellets in Switzerland and Germany but I have to order it.
 

Tsuki

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Whereabouts in Europe are you based? I can get Harrison's pellets in Switzerland and Germany but I have to order it.
I'm based in Portugal - Lisbon!
I could easily order some seeds online yes, but ideally I'd prefer to stick with Europe bc the taxes for orders from countries are outside the European Economic Area are crazy expensive here and they always get stuck on customs, got an order from the UK stuck on customs as we speak. If it's something I could easily order inside the EEA it would be great.

I've also found this food on a "Best Pellets for Cockatiels" list and I can easily order to Portugal, anyone know if they're any good? It seems ZuPreem is a well known brand.

1611784386732.png

I'd also be willing to try the Harrison's pellets if you recomend them and if I can order them here :)
 

Shezbug

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I haven’t read the whole thread nor even the whole first post (sorry, I don’t mean to be rude) but it sounds like your tiels were converted to only pellets? If so I’d reconsider introducing seeds to them along with pellets- they need seed!
I also believe there is nothing bad as such with either of the brands of pellets pictured- a few of our members use both those brands.
 

Ripshod

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I missed about the pellet brands.
Harrison's, Zupreem, Hagen, Top's. We're pretty spoilt when it comes to pellets here in Europe. As always the best pellets are the ones they'll eat. Obviously we want to choose the healthiest. Most of the big brands like to add sugar and unnecessary colourings to some of their pellets, but also offer healthier ones. Look at the ingredients when researching.
It's also good to offer variety when they'll eat more than one of them. Right now my flock gets free choice between Top's, Hagen Tropican and Zupreem Naturals. Just like us they can get bored with the same food every day.
 
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sunnysmom

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I'm based in Portugal - Lisbon!
I could easily order some seeds online yes, but ideally I'd prefer to stick with Europe bc the taxes for orders from countries are outside the European Economic Area are crazy expensive here and they always get stuck on customs, got an order from the UK stuck on customs as we speak. If it's something I could easily order inside the EEA it would be great.

I've also found this food on a "Best Pellets for Cockatiels" list and I can easily order to Portugal, anyone know if they're any good? It seems ZuPreem is a well known brand.

View attachment 371350

I'd also be willing to try the Harrison's pellets if you recomend them and if I can order them here :)
I think Zupreem Natural is a good pellet.
 

Zara

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I have used Psittacus pellets (the one with the lovebird on the pack - Minor I think it´s called) and had no problems. My birds will eat those, but most prefer Hagen Tropican. I used to get them from a pet shop, but they stopped stocking them so I buy them online now, I just got a delivery the other day from Amazon, cost me 11euro for 1.8kg! It´s much cheaper than the Psittacus so I use this primarily, but every now and then I do get the psittacus because I can buy that in shops here so it is handy that my birds will eat it.
Here´s the link; Tropican Mantenimiento para Ninfas - 1,8 kg: Amazon.es: Productos para mascotas
I´m not sure but shouldn´t be too expensive to send to Portugal.

Here is a link to a site that will send to you:

As for Nutribird, I never used the pellets, but I use their formula for rearing chicks every time. It is very popular around here, everyone uses it and my vet stands by it.
Loro Parque use Nutribird pellets for their birds, though I don´t trust Loro Parque at all.
 

Tsuki

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Thank you guys so much for the suggestions and explanations on a cockatiel's nutrition, everything that happened suddenly makes a lot more sense now.

Yes my cockatiels at the time were on a pellet-only diet, which now looking back seems to be the root of all problems - unfortunately the vet knew about this but never said anything about or agaisnt it.

I'm not sure if it was a lack of knowledge from their end or something else.

Gladly I can order most of the best pellet recomendations here, so I'll make sure to get a few and have my two rascals to try them out. This will really give me more peace of mind nutrition-wise. :yes4:
 
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