How to Feed Your Pet Bird
Providing your pet bird with a well-balanced diet is essential for his or her health. In fact, unbalanced diet is known to be a main cause of disease and early death of pet birds. This article will help you find out whether you are feeding your bird with the right foods.
Different Birds Eat Different Food
Keep in mind that various species of birds may have different dietary needs and food preferences. In general, parrots can be classified as florivores that rely on food obtained from plants. Florivores are further subdivided into granivores that eat mostly grain, nuts and/or seeds, and frugivores - birds that are fruit eaters. Some pet birds are omnivores, meaning that their diet can be based on both plant and animal components. And finally nectarivores eat mostly nectar.
For example, the diet of a wild Hyacinth Macaw consists of nuts, whereas a Blue-throated Macaw eats fruits. It should be noted that for each type of bird there can be a different set of nutrition recommendations. For instance, Hyacinth macaws and budgies are considered granivores, but the first one, when in the wild, eats mostly palm nuts, while the latter relies primarily on seeds.
If you own a seed-eating bird it doesn't mean that feeding your pet with seeds alone will be enough. The reason is that the seeds offered by the pet owners lack protein and other nutrients, vitamins including. Even eating several types of seeds can cause nutrient deficiencies. So the best diet solution for most seed-eating birds is eating formulated foods (such as pelleted foods), vegetables and small amounts of fruit.
Formulated foods are offered by many reputable manufacturers, pet stores, and veterinarians. The food represents a mixture of baked ingredients, such as grains, seeds, vegetables, fruits and different types of proteins, in addition to vitamins and minerals. The formulated diet can be in the form of pellets, crumbles, or nuggets.
It is very important to select food that is appropriate for your bird. If you own a macaw or a Golden conure opt for foods with higher fat levels to satisfy their higher caloric needs. Cockatoos and Amazons will thrive on foods that are lower in fat and higher in protein. Keep in mind that some species like the Hyacinth Macaw need special diets because of very specific dietary needs.
Generally, pelleted food should constitute 65-80% of the diet. Vegetables should comprise 15-30% of the diet, and the rest can be seeds and fruits.
Vegetables and Fruits. Vegetables contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. Fruits are higher in sugar and moisture though, and should comprise about 5% of the bird's diet. It is recommended to offer your bird a variety of vegetables and fruit. Make sure you wash all vegetables and fruits thoroughly and remove the pits and apple seeds before feeding.
Try to feed your loved pet with a variety of vegetables and fruit to provide a well-balanced diet. You may hang food from the cage top or sides or attach food to the bars of the cage. For example, larger birds will enjoy corn on the cob more than just kernels of corn in a dish. This will add fun and provide physical and mental exercise.
Feeding Non-Seed Eating Birds
Lories and Lorikeets are non-seed eating birds and are best to be fed with a commercially prepared formula. The formulas may be fed dry or moistened; sometimes it will be in a form of a solution and should be fed as nectar. The nectar should be replaced several times a day.
Make sure the diet of your bird also includes the following fruits: apples, pomegranates, papaya, grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple, figs, and kiwi. Pollen, corn-on-the-cob and some flowers such as pansies, nasturtiums, roses, hibiscus, marigolds, and dandelions may be offered, as well.
Foods to Avoid
Never feed your bird with the following foods: alcohol or caffeine, high-fat junk food (potato chips, doughnuts, etc.), chocolate, avocado (guacamole), fruit pits, persimmons, mushrooms, table salt, onions, apple seeds.
Formulated food should be available all the time. You may leave some foraging toys in the cage throughout the day for snacking and extra fun. Make sure you take any uneaten vegetables or fruit away the next time you feed your pet.
Wash the dishes daily in hot soapy water. Never let food remain in the cage for longer than 24 hours to prevent fecal contamination or spoiling.
Your pet should have access to fresh, clean water all the time. If you use a water bottle change it daily.
Whether you own a parrot, a budgie or any other pet bird having a well-balanced diet will help her live a long and healthy life.
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