Why A Varied Diet Is Best For Your Parrot

Why A Varied Diet Is Best For Your Parrot

 August 2nd, 2010
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Rose Breasted Cockatoo

Your best chance at a healthy and successful diet for your parrot is in the variety of foods you put in her bowl. By rotating the different foods available in the different food groups such as vegetables, fruits and grains, you increase the chances of hitting upon just the right combination, at the right time, for your individual bird.
In the wild, some birds will dine on the same food source for weeks until it is used up, or gone out of season. They then move on to another food. In our homes, birds don’t have the luxury of choice. They get what we serve, and may not always be what they need at that time.

Every species has different requirements for their diet. A macaw needs a diet that is lower in protein and higher in fat than a cockatoo who requires the opposite. Amazons need abundant vitamin A, african greys need calcium, and so on. Even this is a generalization. Within the macaw family, for instance, the hyacinth needs an even higher fat percentage than the average blue and gold. To further complicate things, each individual bird has nutritional needs unique only to them.
This creates a lot of challenges for parrot owners. Since we aren’t able to determine the exact set of needs in a particular bird, and since you will never hear your bird say “Polly want a vitamin D3 supplement”, there’s a lot of guess work involved. The best way to cover all the bases is to offer a bit of everything. Your bird knows what she needs. When she goes through a picky phase, she may be telling you that she needs a change in her diet.

Try stepping outside your comfort zone by trying veggies that you are unfamiliar with. I had no idea what bok choy or kohlrabi was before I had parrots. Throw in the left over parsley. Serve whole carrots and beets with the tops attached. Give a piece of whole grain toast for breakfast, or with peanut butter later in the day for a snack. Has your bird ever tried a parsnip? Mine love them. Try to change the menu as often as possible and include as many foods from as many groups as you can.Your bird will have a healthier diet and be more willing to try new foods in the future.

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6 Comments on “Why A Varied Diet Is Best For Your Parrot”

Vincent  08/03/2010 2:20 pm

Galahs really love fat. They are said to love it even more then is good for them. Therefor it might be clever to keep track of the birds weight if you give him the choice.

Furthermore I think this is a good idea to lower risks of malnutrition. I’m more of a pellets guy myself. They get about 20% other food like greens, fruits, nuts, seeds, fish, meat, No sugar no salt.

A little off (less on) topic … my own Galah seems to be quite sensitive for Aesculus. Where my African grey doesn’t seem to be bothered, my Galah starts breaking feathers when exposed to Aesculus (concentrate). It took me 3 weeks to find out. (Felt like a year). It might help someone finding their Galahs motives for picking faster. (The poor bird looked like a pink and white duckling. Fortunately he’s almost completely back in his feathers)

Vincent  08/03/2010 2:23 pm

I meant indirect exposure. (Before you wonder what I was thinking)

Tina Carreiro  08/04/2010 9:07 am

I sure would LOVE to hear some food choices, suggestions, on feeding my Lory. He loves to eat what I eat and I know that isn’t healthy. I bought an emulsifier to make smoothies for him, with fresh fruits and veggies but he seems to only want the processed juices. He is on LORYLIFE powder diet. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 🙂 Thank you

Patty  08/05/2010 11:21 am

Hi Tina,
It sound like you are doing the right things, nectar based diet with fresh foods as well. I would try to change the way you serve the produce to see if he will take an interest in them. Try chopping finely or shredding instead of the puree for a bit and don’t forget sprouts. I would also get some tahitian noni juice for him. It is one of the most broad spectrum foods I have ever come across. Here’s an article: http://www.old1.birdtricks.com/blog/tahitian-noni-juice-for-parrots/

peter  08/16/2010 6:45 pm

hiya i have a very stubborn african grey peter….he is a nightmare to feed.. he wont eat fruit unless i starve him for a few days then he will eat the lot… he loves peanuts sunflower seeds but not much else…

Kathy  08/18/2010 12:15 pm

HI! Could you recommend a diet for an African Grey (Timneh) and for a Yellow Collared Macaw? Sometimes they’ll eat any and every thing; other times not a thing (even if it’s the same food). Any suggestions? Thank you.