If you haven’t read Part 1, the gist of it is this: A seed-mix only diet is not adequate for your bird. If you would like to get caught up and check out Part 1 before continuing, click here. Good! Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s talk more about the importance of nutrition and diet for birds.
Some of the issues of feeding birds a see-only diet are:
- Shorter lifespan
- Kidney/Liver issues
- Vitamin deficiency
- Poor feather coat and appearance
If you share your home with a feathery friend, you know exactly how stubborn birds can be. Trying to change and enrich your bird’s diet may not be an easy feat but it is definitely worth while. Think of your pet bird as a toddler when it comes to meal time – you may have to offer the same thing 10 times before they even look at it. Try feeding a little meal while you’re having your dinner (birds are social creatures after all!). Offer a variety of healthy foods on a regular basis and see what your bird prefers. Some of the favourites tend to be beans, corn and peas. In fact, you can even try a bean-mash recipe which is a convenient way to add some healthy food to your bird’s diet. Remember, if it’s healthy for us, it’s healthy for them (avoid avocado though as it is very toxic!). The key to adding new foods to your pet’s diet is patience, patience, patience!
Another good dietary option for your bird is pellets. A good bird pellet is well formulated for your pet’s needs and doesn’t include any extras such as food colouring or nuts/dried fruit. We like the Harrison’s Bird Pellets in particular. You may be wondering: How am I going to get my bird to eat these pellets? Never switch pellets for seeds outright. It needs to be a gradual process so that your bird will become accepting of them instead of refusing to eat all together.
Start by measuring your bird’s current seed intake per day (get an average over 2 or 3 days). Whatever that amount is, split it into 2 feedings. Start offering a “breakfast” and a “dinner”. For example: Let’s say your bird is eating 3 Tbsp of seeds per day total. In the morning, you will offer 1.5 Tbsp and mix in some pellets. In the evening, you will look to see if any pellets have been eaten. If the answer is No, add another 1.5 Tbsp of seeds. By doing this, you are letting your bird get a little hungry during the daytime but also ensuring he/she receives all the food they would eat normally (just split up). Once your bird starts eating the pellets, slowly wean out the amount of seed given and increase the amount of pellets. This process can take days (if you’re lucky) to weeks (which is more common) to months (yes, months sometimes!). There will be a lot of pellets wasted while you are transitioning your “seed junkie” but it will happen eventually as long as you’re persistent!