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Should I switch my birds food?

LostStoner

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I got my baby Cinnamon Geen Cheek on Saturday, and she is such a pretty, tiny, and cuddly lil thing. I love her so much that I have this intense urge to do like a child does with a cat or dog and cuddle/squeeze the crap out of her. But instead I settle for holding and stroking her baby feathers that feel like fur because I know that would hurt her.

I also have a 1 year old Yellow Sided Green Cheek conure that I adopted from a lady last month, he (haven't gotten DNA results yet) was on Higgins Sunburst conure food, which I knew wasn't very healthy for him, as I could tell he was a little pudgy, but not to much. Either way since I knew a primary seed diet isn't very good for him, and I knew I was getting a baby in a month who would be on Zupreem fruit blend pellets, I switched him over to the same thing.

Since then I noticed that one of the top 5 ingredients was sugar or sucrose, which I would think isn't all that much more healthy for them than a seed diet. I'm also a watcher of the BirdTricks youtube channel and one of her recent videos was about food, and she said that if your feeding your bird pellets with soy, corn, sugar, and a few other things that they are not on a healthy diet, not to mention that these kind of pellets have a ton of added vitamins and stuff that your bird may not really need, and can cause problems with some birds.

Of course she then started pushing her own brand, which thanks but no thanks I have no interest in paying that super high price, which is when I found TOP's brand bird pellets which are virtually the exact same thing, but at a much, much, much more reasonable price, not to mention they offer sample packs where bird tricks smallest bag by itself is 4lbs, and I'd hate to pay that much for something they would refuse to eat.

So now I'm considering trying to switch them to TOP's brand pellets because they are organic, they only have ingredients which I can pronounce, and don't have sugar, fillers, corn, or soy in them.

But I'm well I'm not sure how to put it really, I'm kinda iffy maybe, or leary, or worried. While I know tops would be better for them, the boy is rather picky eater, and tends to be "afraid" of many types of bird treats which I have no clue why but that's a different topic.

Plus when I switched him to Zupreem fruit blend I did the tough love thing, and took out all of his old food at night when I put him to bed, and the next day only gave him the Zupreem, which he slowly took too, to my surprise.

But now the thought of doing it again, and also trying to do it to my 10 week old baby feels rather daunting.

So I guess I'm wondering what others think of the Zupreem (FB) vs TOP's, or TOP's vs Zupreem (FB), and what success they have had with switching to TOP's from Zupreem (FB).


Did your bird really love it?
Did they take right to it?
Did they take time to warm up to it?

Also do you think it's worth the benefit to switch to TOP's, or not?

I would appreciate any help you can provide a new bird dad.

Thanks!
 

tka

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TOPs doesn't contain vitamin D, so you would either need to provide vitimin D through time spent in unfiltered sunlight (not through a window - the glass filters out the vitamin D) or a supplement. It also tastes very grassy - almost savoury - so could be tricky to persuade a bird used to crunchy sugary extruded pellets to eat it.

@Mizzely has a good round-up of pellet brands here: Pellets for Parrots

As she would say, the best pellet is one that your bird will eat, that you can afford, and which doesn't contain added sugars or artificial colourings.

Most of us end up making some kind of compromise with our bird. I would prefer it if my girl ate Harrisons but she flatly refuses too. At the moment she's on a mixture of Roudybush and P15 (a European brand) and we're both okay with that. I like to give a mixture of pellet brands because it keeps her used to different textures and shapes in case I ever have a problem with supply.
 

Mizzely

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The thing with Zupreem is that it's mostly grains and soy, and then a little sugar, and then vitamins. It's all by weight. If there is a pound of corn and then 1 tsp of sugar, sugar would be the second ingredient. That doesn't mean there is a lot of sugar... Just that sugar weighs more than the vitamin additives. Eat a piece and tell me if it tastes sweet ;)

Yes it is preferable to have a sugar free (and dye free!) Pellet as they get sugar naturally from other sources usually if they are on a balanced diet. However, after trying literally every pellet available in the list I've made, my bird will only consistently eat Zupreem Fruity. I still mix in others to try and he'll occasionally nibble some, but as an underweight and malnourished bird when I got him, him eating a fortified pellet is always my priority.

If I had it my way, he would eat Harrison's or Hagen but Zupreem it is.

TOPS is a good supplemental food, or a good main diet if you can get D3 in other ways. I live in Michigan where the usable amount of outside time for sunlight is 4 to 6 months a year. Ripley is also very hit or miss with veggies so adding vitamins is not a reliable option. So for my needs, TOPS is not one I would consider.
 

LostStoner

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TOPs doesn't contain vitamin D, so you would either need to provide vitimin D through time spent in unfiltered sunlight (not through a window - the glass filters out the vitamin D) or a supplement. It also tastes very grassy - almost savoury - so could be tricky to persuade a bird used to crunchy sugary extruded pellets to eat it.

@Mizzely has a good round-up of pellet brands here: Pellets for Parrots

As she would say, the best pellet is one that your bird will eat, that you can afford, and which doesn't contain added sugars or artificial colourings.

Most of us end up making some kind of compromise with our bird. I would prefer it if my girl ate Harrisons but she flatly refuses too. At the moment she's on a mixture of Roudybush and P15 (a European brand) and we're both okay with that. I like to give a mixture of pellet brands because it keeps her used to different textures and shapes in case I ever have a problem with supply.
Wow thanks for the info.

Right now I have cuddle bones in with them, my Yellowside has two, and my baby has one. She is still kinda uncoordinated since she was the youngest of the whole Clutch, but that's why I chose her, so it would give me a better chance to imprint on her.

Out of curiosity though how... ugh.... do you know TOP's tastes grassy?
 

Mizzely

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Cuttlebones contain calcium but no D3 that I'm aware of. It's a poorly absorbed source of calcium and without D3, calcium cannot be processed by the body.

I've tried all of my birds pellets ;) One of the best ways to get a bird to eat something is to show them it is safe by eating it in front of them, and they aren't easily fooled if you just pretend :lol:
 

LostStoner

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The thing with Zupreem is that it's mostly grains and soy, and then a little sugar, and then vitamins. It's all by weight. If there is a pound of corn and then 1 tsp of sugar, sugar would be the second ingredient. That doesn't mean there is a lot of sugar... Just that sugar weighs more than the vitamin additives. Eat a piece and tell me if it tastes sweet ;)

Yes it is preferable to have a sugar free (and dye free!) Pellet as they get sugar naturally from other sources usually if they are on a balanced diet. However, after trying literally every pellet available in the list I've made, my bird will only consistently eat Zupreem Fruity. I still mix in others to try and he'll occasionally nibble some, but as an underweight and malnourished bird when I got him, him eating a fortified pellet is always my priority.

If I had it my way, he would eat Harrison's or Hagen but Zupreem it is.

TOPS is a good supplemental food, or a good main diet if you can get D3 in other ways. I live in Michigan where the usable amount of outside time for sunlight is 4 to 6 months a year. Ripley is also very hit or miss with veggies so adding vitamins is not a reliable option. So for my needs, TOPS is not one I would consider.
Thanks!

But I'd rather not taste thir food lol I don't like the smell of it. When I got the first bag, after I took some out I went to roll it up from the bottom to try to get as much air out of it as I could before I sealed it, which made all of the smell poof up into my face at the same time I was taking a breath in through my nose, and YUCK!

What you said about you bird only really eating the fruit blend is kinda what my baby girls breeder said when I asked why the feed that over some other brand. He told me that they (husband and wife pair run the aviary) have tried several brands over the years, and the Zupreem fruit blend is the only one that they can reliably get all of their birds to eat, so that's all they buy, other than some nutriberrys, and a little bit of seed. So they all different sizes of the Zupreem fruit pellets.

I was just afraid to buy something they would refuse to eat and have waisted money. It's aggravating enough that my yellowside drops SO MUCH of his pellets. I think it happens mainly because he will grab one in his beak, and then walk down the ladder onto the flat platform, and out onto the perch in the front of the cage, and sit there and eat, if he makes it all the way there with the pellet in his mouth.

Or if I go to get up out of my chair, he will drop his pellet, and start climbing up the front of his cage to the top so he can really get a good view, or flight path to see what I'm doing, or chase me down.
 

Mizzely

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I'm not sure if COVID has impacted it, but many of the pellet manufacturers send out samples if you ask :)
 

tka

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Cuttlebone makes a nice chew toy but the calcium in it can't be easily absorbed by animals. It also doesn't contain vitamin D. If you were to feed TOPs, I would suggest a specialist avian supplement. This usually comes as a powder that you can spinkle on fresh food. I would avoid supplements that you add to their drinking water - most birds don't drink enough to get a proper dose.

I've tasted everything I've offered my girl. Once I tried the TOPs, I could see why it can be difficult to get birds to eat them - it tastes very different to what many are used to. Most of the unflavoured crunchy pellets are kind of like a less sweet breakfast cereal. I haven't fed fruity pellets, but I did try a brand that had a really strong bubblegum scent (but little taste). That one wasn't a hit so I ended up feeding it to the local geese.

You have a bit more flexibility if you have only the two birds. A breeder may have to get many birds to eat the same pellet. You only have to persuade two :)
 

CrazyKozmo

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Doesn't Zupreem make an all natural pellet? Minus the artificial colors? It probably still has sugar, but it would be nice to eliminate the artificial colors...
 

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Doesn't Zupreem make an all natural pellet? Minus the artificial colors? It probably still has sugar, but it would be nice to eliminate the artificial colors...
They have Natural which has no colors, and Pasta which is natural colors. Both still have sugar.

Not all birds will convert to an undyed pellet... Trust me, I've been trying for 2 years!! So much waste as Ripley only eats certain colors :angry101:
 

MR. Mango

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I was in your situation but after a little while I easily converted my sun conure onto lafebers pellets and from lafebers after a few months I got him to Harrison’s
 

MnGuy

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I'd convert them while they're young instead of waiting, which may ingrain their preferences. I rotate Harrison's, Zupreem Natural and Roudybush. I like Tops but my CAG refuses to eat them. I grind up Tops pellets and sprinkle them in her chop.
 

Sunni Tiel

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My cockatiel is 5 months old tomorrow, and I have him on a mix of roudybush, kaytee pro health, nutri berries, a seed mix with herbs and carrots, chop in the morning, and another pellet that the store fed him and he likes. (it's meant for big parrots and smaller like amazons and african greys -anything smaller, but it's a good size and he likes them) I'll be adding Harrisons and TOPS when I get them, may be in a year, maybe a week.

Having him on all those different kinds has encouraged him to try new foods because his mix is different every day. He eats it all, and has tried any veggie I've offered. Changing his diet was so easy for some reason, he loves food!

Other people have already covered this, TOPS needs vit D and the kind you're feeding has some dyes and sugars. I say you should try different kinds and whichever one they like is the one you should keep. If they won't try anything else, just keep offering them different ways. Sunni took at least a month to try anything other than what he was being fed at the pet store. You'll find something that works. :)
 

LostStoner

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Cuttlebone makes a nice chew toy but the calcium in it can't be easily absorbed by animals. It also doesn't contain vitamin D.
Didnt know that, so thanks.

Not all birds will convert to an undyed pellet... Trust me, I've been trying for 2 years!! So much waste as Ripley only eats certain colors :angry101:
I've noticed the 1 yr old I adopted last month will eat every color before he eats the round orange pellets, and he will scream at me if I don't put more in there, but I don't, I make him eat those as well before I would ever refill.
 

finchly

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Tops smells just like alfalfa hay.
I haven’t tasted it.

I use it. I’ve also used Higgins Natural and Roudybush.

You can give a calcium supplement that has D3 if your bird doesn’t have access to sunlight.
 
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