Nutrition

Nutrition is far and away the most important aspect of keeping your bird healthy. The most important part of nutrition is knowing what your bird actually eats. This often does not correlate with what is put in the cage as they will pick out what they want and leave the rest.

The simplest way to ensure a balanced diet is by using a balanced pelleted food as the basis of their diet.  Pelleted food consists of a balanced diet that is specifically formulated for each species concerned.

There are few very good products available that meet these needs and supply pellets formulated both for larger species as well as smaller ones. Even softbills and insectivores have balanced foodstuffs available.

Seed

Seed on its own is NOT a bird food.  People have been feeding seed for hundreds of years because someone else did it before. Not a great scientific rationalisation for doing so now.

Seed on its own has many deficiencies, especially vitamins, minerals and protein and a massive overload of oil.  (A little seed from time to time as a treat is ok.)

Feeding

We regularly see a bowl full of seed with some dried fruit and nuts and pellets, often with some fruit and veg in another bowl.

If the bird has free access to this they tend to eat the bits they like and throw out the bits they don't.

The comparison is putting your five year old child in front of a buffet and watching him/her just eat ice-cream even though the buffet had all sorts of healthy food options available.

Getting them to eat what YOU want them to eat rather than what they want to pick out requires effort from you the owner/parent.

Feeding different things at different times forces the bird to gradually learn to try new foods. Over time they will develop a liking for new foods.

This will make your job as provider easier as they then are happy to eat the foods that are healthy for them.

Depending on the species and what diets they have adapted to in their natural habitat, other foodstuffs can be added but preferably at a different time.

  • Feed the food that your bird needs for long periods.

  • Feed the treats your bird wants for shorter periods.

This will prevent them from choosing only the foods they want to eat and throwing out what they need to eat.

Different birds have different food intake.

For example:

  • Eclectus parrots have a higher intake of fruit and vegetables

  • Macaws and Queen of Bavaria Conures feed on palm nuts and require a higher oil diet then most other parrot types.

  • Lorikeets require more fruit and nectar.

Human Food

Many birds will enjoy a variety of human food as well.

The limitations are:

  1. Is nutritious.

  2. Food has nothing in it likely to cause problems or had residue on it from spraying or processing that may do likewise.

  3. The amount fed of these items does not unbalance the nutrient profile built up by the rest of the diet.

Keep Away From

  • Avocado                                 

  • Onions

  • Anything very acid/spicy/salty

  • Junk food

Common problems seen from poor nutrition.

  • Low dietary calcium and vitamin D3 levels causing rickets in young birds.

  • Soft bone disease/Rickets.

  • Hypo-calcaemic fits in adult birds.

  • Upper respiratory infections.

  • Obesity.

  • Fatty lumps. ( Lipomas)

  • Fatty liver disease.

  • Goitre

  • Folding fractures in the bones of adult laying female parrots.

© 2018 by Southcoast Animal Hospital

35 Saltfleet Street, Port Noarlunga, SA 5167