A BIRDS ESSENTIAL VITAMINS
- VITAMIN A – without it can stop the body becoming resistant to infections, upper respiratory infections, kidney problems, poor plumage and reproductive disorders.
- VITAMIN D3- without it parrots can get rickets, soft bones, paralytic symptoms, calcium disorders and thin and soft egg shells.
- VITAMIN E-without it parrots can have central nervous system problems, they can have liver damage and it can cause infertility.
- VITAMIN B – without it can cause parrots to have swollen feet, deformed toes, growth problems and fatty liver disease.
- VITAMIN K – can prevent blood from clotting.
A COCKATIELS BALANCED DIET
SEEDS: Seeds should make up 25% of your birds diet and should be of good quality.
Seeds give vitamins and fats in their own right and it exercises the muscles in the top and bottom of a bird’s jaw.
NOTE: Please choose a good quality seed that should include millet , canary seed , wheat , oats , Niger seed , cereal and grasses , rice , ( a few sunflower and safflower) and linseed ( also known as flaxseed )
Sunflower and Safflower seeds should only be used as treats and should not be given in excess because they are high in fat and a captive bird cannot burn off the added calories, which can lead to aliments.
PELLETS: Pellets should make up 25% of your parrots diet and they should be a good quality brand that is organic and that is artificial colour and preservative free, such as Harrison’s and Roudybush.
TIP! When introducing pellets buy the smallest pellet available as it will look the closest thing to seed and the bird is more inclined to try it.
VEGETABLES AND FRUIT: Dark leafy veg and fruit should make up 25% of your cockatiels diet. The healthiest veg for your bird is dark leafy veg and orange veg rich in vitamin (A). Fruit should be in season and choose fruit again rich in vitamins.
Here is a little list of examples: broccoli, spinach, squash, corn, carrots, kale, sweet potatoes, parsley and dandelion! Fruit: Apple (remove seeds) Apricots (remove pip), banana etc.
TIP! Parrots are suckers for brightly coloured fruit and veg so the more colourful you make it the better!
GRAINS: Grains should make up 15% of your cockatiels diet such as cooked rice, pasta, corn, whole grain toast, cooked oats, sprouted pluses such as mung beans, Black eye beans.
TABLE FOOD: Table food should make up 10% of your birds diet and these include, cottage cheese ( please remember birds are lactose intolerant so no dairy , cottage cheese is safe as it is lactose free) boiled eggs , boiled chicken , cooked white fish such as cod ( no shell fish )
So this is how your cockatiels diet should look like:
Veg &fruit - 25%
Table food -10%
= 100% balanced diet.
AUTHOURS NOTE: With all diets it is important to check with your own avian vet if the diet you have your bird on is suitable for your parrots needs, remember every bird is an individual!
Of course NEVER FEED Alcohol, avocado, caffeine, chocolate or any other unsafe foods to your bird.
There have been disease problems and deaths associated when sprouting seeds, unfortunately some batches contain dangerous bacteria.
So please make sure you are sprouting good quality seed and that you test the batch first before giving it to your birds! To do this, take 100 seeds out the batch and sprout them. If 80% don’t sprout then you know that’s a bad batch.
ONLY use glass or stainless steel to sprout! Never use plastic as it is porous and harbours bacteria.
A PARROTS FIRST VEGGIES
Long steam broccoli, grated carrots , sliced apple (seeds removed) and cooked mashed sweet potatoes are all great starter veg when introducing fruit and veg to birds.
The secret to getting birds used to eating fruit and veg is to offer it every day. Try different ways of preparing it cook it, steam it, give raw, hang it, chop it and clip it! Birds are just like us they do have their own preferences. Just make sure foods like potatoes are cooked before feeding.
ADDING VITAMINS TO YOUR PARROTS WATER
Many pet stores sell vitamins that you can add to water, unless instructed by your avian vet please don’t use these types of vitamins. They lose potency fast in water and increase the growth of bacteria in the drinking water that can cause your parrot to become very sick! Parrots will often not touch their water if there is any kind of taste to it, so you are also risking your bird dehydrating.
If a bird is on a healthy diet then supplements are not needed, it’s better to start off with a healthy diet than add supplements to a poor one!
CALCIUM RICH FOODS
Calcium plays an extremely important part in a parrot’s diet and it is needed for bone formation, brain function, muscle function, nerve function etc. In breeding hens it is very important as it’s needed to prevent egg binding and producing soft egg shells etc. Unfortunately many caged birds are only given a lump of cuttlefish and owners think that is sufficient. While cuttlefish should have its place in a parrots cage at all times it is not the best or the only source of calcium a parrot should be fed.
Spinach, kale, okra, bok choy, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, kale, mustard greens and collard greens, almonds, dried figs, sesame seeds, dandelion, kidney beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, black beans, soybeans, apricots, strawberries , oranges, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and flaxseed. (WARNING, ALL BEANS SHOULD BE WELL COOKED! NEVER FEED RAW BEANS)
Parrots that struggle with eating fruit and veg can be given calcium supplements. Please speak to an avian vet about which supplement is the best for your bird. Ways in which to introduce food can be found in my article entitled “How to offer birds food"
CHARCOAL IN A PARROT’S DIET
Charcoal is often used when a toxic substance has been ingested by a bird. It should not be used on a regular basis. Using charcoal regularly has been shown to absorb the vitamins A,B2 and K. If your bird does ingest a toxic substance, call your vet immediately; if you have administered charcoal before contacting your vet, ensure you let them know you have done so.
COCKATIEL SEED JUNKIES
Cockatiels in the wild will eat the food source that is available to them in that season. They will eat a wide variety of young grass seeds that are full of nutrients and high in calories, they will eat vegetation, fruits, grains, and berries. Parrots are only “seed addicts” because we allow them to be. It’s not because that is the only food they will eat, in many cases, it’s because that is the ONLY food source owners give them access to.
The dry seed that is fed to captive parrots has the high calories, but not the same nutrients that fresh young grass seeds and sprouts do that are relished in the wild. Captive birds that are fed on a seed diet alone will be suffering from malnutrition and are at risk of developing liver conditions, fatty tumours and gout.
Some owners will make the excuse that their birds are seed junkies and that there is nothing they can do about that, well frankly that is not true and often laziness on the owner’s part. Parrots get used to a certain food, yes, and that is because it is offered consistently. An owner that is persistent in offering a wide variety of safe nutritional foods daily will eventually get the “seed junkie” on a healthy balanced diet.
FEEDING A BIRD CAFFEINE
Under no circumstances should a bird or any animal be fed any caffeinated drinks, and here’s why:
- Cardiac malfunction
Irregular heart rhythm
AUTHORS NOTE: Please don’t risk even the smallest of sips, as one does not know how their bird’s body will react to even the tiniest amount. There is a reason why mothers do not feed their babies or children coffee because of the effects it has on their tiny bodies, just imagine how much more dangerous it is for a bird.
FEEDING BIRDS AVOCADOS
Avocados as many parrot owners know are highly toxic to parrots! The entire avocado fruit including the stems leaves and branches of the avocado tree are toxic to parrots.
The leaves are actually being considered the most toxic part of the avocado so it’s very important that Aviaries aren’t positioned anywhere near avocado trees when leaves can blow into them. Avocado tree branches too should never be used as parrot perches.
So what makes the Avocado so toxic? It’s the compound Persin, when a parrot eats an avocado they will be poisoned and experience myocardial necrosis – or a heart attack.
Here is a list of the of symptoms the parrot will experience when they eat an avocado:
- An increased heart rate
Apathy and weakness
Unable to perch properly or at all
Laboured or heavy breathing and tail bobbing
Here is a list of what happens internally when a parrot eats an avocado:
- Fluid builds up around the lungs and heartLiver failure
Parrots usually die within 12 hours from avocado toxicity and maybe in less amount of time for a small parrot like a cockatiel or budgie.
FEEDING BIRDS CHEAP SEED
Buying cheap seed is a mistake and can be extremely detrimental to a bird's health. Many manufacturing companies have stated that cheap seed contains at least 10% mould, grit, dust, chaff and industrial substance impurities that can cause all types of health problems! Vets have reported that when looking under a microscope at cheap seed, they often find glass, string, metal, human and other animal faeces to name a few! A good quality seed from a reputable supplier is needed for the health of the bird.
FEEDING BIRDS SALTY FOODS
One of the worst things parrot owners can feed their birds is salty foods!This is not a safe treat and can have serious effects on the parrot’s health. Excessive consumption of salt can cause a number of symptoms such as:
- Increased thirst
Increased water consumption
- JUST HOW SALTY ARE POTATO CRISPS TO BIRDS?
To put into perspective just how salty potato crisps are; a small bird eating three potato crisps is equivalent to a human eating one teaspoon of salt!
FEEDING WILD BIRD FOOD
There are lots of articles on the internet about how to make home-made fat balls, and people feed it to wild birds and chickens etc. Please NEVER give your parrots wild bird food or fat balls/ suet blocks! Wild bird seed and conventional bird foods are NOT the same and are manufactured in opposite environments. There is often a lot of mould spores in the feed, the food is very dusty for parrots and can cause respiratory conditions. The ingredients for wild bird seed are NOT regulated or tested for parasites or other contaminations in the same way pet food is tested.
Captive birds should NEVER be given fat balls, most fat balls are made out of lard, wild birds fly miles and so they can easily burn off the excess fat. Captive birds will never be able to burn off this amount of fat even in an Avery, so they can become obese, develop fatty lumps and tumours and many other health concerns, so please only feed species appropriate foods!
FRUIT JUICES FOR PARROTS
Fruit juices and smoothies are liked by many parrots, and hold lots of essential vitamins. Parrots especially the larger species will enjoy a smoothie in the morning, made with fresh fruit and vegetables. There are numerous smoothie and fruit juice recipes on the internet, just make sure the recipes contain safe ingredients for your birds.
HEALTHY EATING FOR BIRDS
HOW DO I INTRODUCE FRUIT AND VEGTABLES TO MY PARROT?
Start with the simplest fruit and veg which would be apples (remove seeds) broccoli, shredded carrot and a few safe herbs such as mint and parsley. Many people start off with a chop of all different vegetables but just like converting a toddler to new food you should start with the simplest food which will be gentle on their digestive system.
Start by threading Apple and broccoli through the cage bars, once you observe your bird eating these you can add a wider variety of safe veggies and fruit. Most parrots prefer veg and fruit hung up in the cage, you can do this by putting the food on an animal safe skewer.
You can also chop the veg and fruit very fine and offer in a bowl. You can sprinkle millet, seeds or a favourite treat over the new food.
You can try mashed up food, a lot of very young birds prefer to start with mashes as it replicates the formula or regurgitated food they have just been weaned off. Cooked sweet potatoes are a favourite so are boiled eggs.
You can hide food in little homemade parcels, especially larger parrots enjoy this!
Eat the food yourself, parrots learn how to eat and what’s safe to eat from their parents, by you eating the food or pretending to eat the food will show the parrot it’s good and safe to eat .Parrots also learn from fellow birds so if you have a parrot that already eats fruit and veg allow your bird to observe them and they will often copy.
The secret to getting your bird to eat ANY new food is consistency and perseverance, offer the food daily in a number of ways eventually they will try it, so don’t give up!
AUTHORS NOTE: Please never remove your bird’s normal diet in order for your bird to try new foods. You’ll end up with a very sick bird, remember a parrot’s metabolism is extremely fast and they need a constant supply of food to maintain their body’s functions!
Parrots ARE NOT like dogs and cats that when hungry enough will start eating whatever you offer them. Parrots will rather starve to death than eat a foreign food. Parrots in the wild fly miles in search for food that they are accustomed to. This God given instinct will always be there, so even though they are in captivity they will wait to be given a familiar food source.
HOW MUCH FOOD TO FEED BIRDS
(This additional article was written by Katie Madison)
Aside from fresh foods/foraging/treats, what dried foods should a parrot be given every day, as what might be termed a basic diet? How much should I give and how much should she eat?
The first part is easier to answer than the second, but we will begin by outlining reasons behind the latter.
·HOW MUCH TO FEED? There are so many variables. How old is the bird and how big? “Birds of the same species can vary considerably. How active are they? Moulting? Breeding? Raising chicks? Disabled? Frequent Flyers? Are they currently overweight or underweight? Geriatric? Recently weaned? In doors or in an outside cooler aviary? Are they currently being weaned from one food to another? Have they been unwell….and so on! When you first bring your feathered baby home, within a week (ideally) they should be vet checked and your avian vet will be able to advise you on exact amounts for your feathered one. Once you have a basis to work from, you can assess how much is being eaten and if adjustments are needed.
·HOW MUCH SHOULD SHE EAT? Expect 80% of what you have given will be eaten. Some will always be left as their colour perception makes them see certain items as not good/not as nutritious. Waste will also include husks/seed casings, which can make it appear as if more has been uneaten than the reality.
If practically everything is gone, then your little one is not being fed enough. Birds have such high metabolisms, they burn off an incredible number of calories, but do not gorge like mammals. Birds snack and go, to always be as light as possible for flight. The basic daily dry diet should always be available, day and night.
·WHAT SHOULD I GIVE? The Basic daily diet should be approximately 50% pellets and 50% seed mix. Both should be extremely good quality, colour and additives free and size appropriate. Budgie varieties can be used for cockatiels as they are the same, but without the high proportion of sun flower seeds. In addition, other seeds should be added for nutrition and variety, along with dried ‘bird greens’ and dried egg food. Even if the seed/pellet mix you are using says it is ‘complete’, it does not give everything your bird needs.
HOW TO OFFER BIRDS FOOD IN VARIOUS WAYS
WAY TO INTRODUCE FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
- CHOP IT- Many people consider a chop being half a carrot, slice of apple and wedge of pineapple, while this size is ok for larger parrots, smaller parrots such as budgie or cockatiel need a much smaller chop for their small beaks. A chop is fruit and veg chopped super fine to a size smaller than a pea!
- HANG IT- You can buy animal safe skewers where small slices of fruit or veg can be threaded on it. Parrots love hanging toys right? So why not hang food delicious healthy food.
- THREAD IT- Veg like long stem broccoli, slices of apple, wedges of coconut etc can be pushed and threaded through cage bars. The very best places to put these are near a favourite perch or toy!
- FORAGE IT- Cockatiels and budgies are natural foragers so sprinkle chopped fruit and veg on clean cage paper, along with a few favourite toys.
- SEARCH FOR IT- Cardboard egg cartons make excellent hiding places for food, little cardboard boxes can have treats pushed through it.
- MAMA EATS IT- Eat with your bird's they all want the naughty bits off your supper plate right? Sit there and eat a fruit salad they will soon be begging for something they think they not allowed!
- CONCEAL IT-Sprinkle favourite treats over the fruit and veg, millet works best, sticky fruit like apple can have seed sprinkled over it.
There are other methods one can try when offering fruit and veg such as, first thing in the morning when parrots are most hungry offer them fruit and vegetables only, then return their staple diet of pellets and seeds after an hour or so. You can remove food cups late afternoon and try this again when most hungry then give normal feed before bed. Please never remove staple diet for more than a couple of hours when trying new foods, parrots need a constant supply of food for body function as their metabolism is so high!
Firstly before your bird’s diet is changed in any way a vet check is in order , this because if a bird is sick or has that has any underlining conditions the stress of a diet change can play havoc on a bird’s health and may cause their health to deteriorate further. Sudden loss of weight can be very detrimental to a bird, a qualified avian vet needs to monitor your bird and guide you accordingly. When changing a bird onto a pelleted diet the bird’s weight should be recorded daily.
When choosing pellets one should choose organic pellets such as Harrison’s or Roudybush. These organic pellets are recommended by vets. Coloured pellets are not good for your parrot’s health and can change the colour of their poop, which makes it very difficult to examine their droppings daily for signs of illness!
One of the safest ways to introduce pellets is by doing a 50/50 seed and pellet mix in the same bowl. Once you notice your bird is eating the pellets , then gradually reduce the seed in the bowl over several weeks until you left with only 10% seed , which then should be given as part of their daily diet (unless you are told otherwise by your vet )
Another way to introduce pellets is by offering only pellets early morning when your bird is most hungry. REPLACE the seed in the afternoon. Please never remove seed longer than a few hours, parrots metabolism requires a constant supply of food. If they do not get a sufficient amount your parrot will become quiet unwell. Fresh fruit and veg should still be offered throughout the day.
Another method is making birdie bread or cookies and introducing pellets that way, adding pellets into the mixture for the bird to become accustomed to them.
Whichever method you choose please never go cold turkey this puts horrendous stress on the bird and unlike dogs and cats a parrot will rather starve than eat a foreign food. Unfortunately this has sadly happened with many parrots, and owners have lost their birds this way.
NEVER FEED BIRDS PEANUTS
NEVER feed your parrot a peanut, peanuts contain mycotoxins and aflatoxins which can cause cancers, liver damage, respiratory disease and Aspergillosis. Do you know that parrots are up to two hundred times more sensitive to aflatoxins than us humans are.
OFFER A VARIETY OF FOOD TO YOUR PARROTS
Parrots have amazing colour perception and they can see in the ultraviolet range. This means that they very attracted to different colours, shapes and textures of food, which we can use to our advantage when introducing them to new foods.
There are a number of ways in which food can be presented to birds, you can chop it, dice it, shred it, slice it, grate it, puree it, juice it, mash it or give it whole. You can also offer it steamed (cooked) and raw. (Note some foods should not be fed raw, so please check before serving)
The secret to success when trying to get a bird to eat new food is persistence! You have to offer healthy food DAILY and in many different ways. Offering new food for a few days and then giving up will not benefit the bird. Instead, have a goal and a mindset that it doesn’t matter if it takes a year or two the bird will eventually eat healthily and they eventually will if it is offered consistently. To help prevent waste and to protect your birds' digestion system, all new food should be offered in very small quantities, to begin with.
When a parrot is not on a balanced diet they may be deficient in many vitamins and minerals, here is a few symptoms to look out for that may indicate they have a deficiency:
- Copper – The bird may have a depigmentation to their dark feathers.
- Calcium – The bird’s feathers may be frayed or brittle
- Biotin – There may be a loss of feathers
- Iron – There may be a colour change of feathers
- Vitamin A – The feathers will be thin and dull
- Pantothenic acid – There may be a pigment deficiency, delayed growth of feathers
- Zinc – There may be Thin and brittle feather castings.
PARROTS AND DIET CHANGES
New parrot owners often make the mistake, of NOT having a wellness check with their avian vet before they convert their birds from a seed only diet onto a pellet diet. This is vitally important, because changing a bird’s diet is highly stressful. This kind of stress can cause any underling conditions to manifest themselves or make them worse.
A vet will examine the bird and weigh the bird, to see if the parrot is healthy and the correct weight before you start the change of diet. They will also give advice to weigh your bird at home daily, to ensure your bird is not losing any weight during the switch.
Below I have listed a few signs that will indicate if the switch is NOT going well! If you notice any of these signs, STOP the switch straight away or you can make your bird very unwell. Continue with the original diet and make an appointment to discuss this further with your vet.
- Fluffed up feathers
- Stopped vocalising
- Infrequent droppings
- Droppings become loose
- Scant droppings
- Dropping colour changes (brown droppings can be seen on a pellet diet)
- Begging behaviour
- Weight loss of any significance
- Dehydrated skin
- Cold feet
AUTHOURS NOTE: Seeds should not be cut out of a parrot’s diet completely, seeds too have nutritional value. They are important to seed eating birds, not only for nutrition but part of natural foraging activity. A seed and pellet mix will give the bird a good variety, unless instructed otherwise by your vet.
PARROTS AND FOOD TEXTURES
Parrots DO have certain textures that they can't stand!
When introducing new foods to parrots it's important to make it look appealing. A parrot also receives a mental exercise by choosing different items. So food can be given too in different shapes, sizes and in lots of bright colours and DIFFERENT TEXTURES!
One of the best way to see what foods are your bird's favourites is by putting them on an animal safe skewer (please get a good quality one, a lot are not stainless steel and rust extremely quickly) this way you bird can pick out what he most enjoys, you can then incorporate other foods in with a new found favourite!
PARROTS AND MILLET
Millet is very nutritious for birds and some people may not realise how much. Millet is an excellent form of carbohydrate , it is highly digestible and low in fat.
To name few vitamins in millet, you'll find vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, folic acids, vitamin k and some valuable minerals. It largely depends too on the type of millet you buy and the QUALITY!
Only buy fresh millet, the best millet will be moist and the seeds will be firmly attached to the stem. If you find half the seeds are at the bottom of the packet or fall off with the slightest touch it means it's dry, old, and unpalatable and possibly has mould spores.
Buying old millet will most likely have tiny mould spores on it and of course can make your bird sick. In which case only ever buy it in date.
PARROTS AND VITAMIN A
It's extremely important that parrots are not only fed on an all seed diet, parrots need vitamin A which lacks in an all seed diet. If parrots don't have any Vitamin A in their diet , owners will begin to see the following symptoms: parrots will be prone to respiratory infections , swelling and abscesses will show in the mouth and around the tongue, they will be stress prone and can die with only minor handling. Parrots that are fed only on seeds will suffer from malnutrition, which will affect their all-round physical health, and may lead to early death!
Examples of food that is high in vitamin A are: Carrots, kale, spinach, cantaloupes, apricots, mangoes, broccoli, pumpkin, asparagus and peaches.
PARROTS BEING FUSSY EATERS
(This addition article was written by Katie Madison)
Parrots have a reputation for ignoring the fresh foods you prepare for them whilst being desperate to steal from your plate.
·WHY -This behaviour comes from their natural instincts. A hatchling only eats the regurgitated food its own parents eat. Once fledged, it will follow its parents around and only eat what it sees them eat. Their survival depends on it. This translates in the home environment to refusing anything new, but assuming if you are eating it, it must be safe and good. If you are trying to keep it to yourself, it must be extra good!
·TRAINING- Over time, you can train your parrot to not eat directly from your plate, but from their own, foods that look similar to yours but are parrot safe. Tempt them to try it by having a nibble at their portion and making suitable appreciative noises. Sprinkling the new food with their favourite seed can help. Alternatively, you can make sure your parrots are safely in their cage with their favourite nibble whilst you eat.
·INTRODUCING NEW FRESH FOODS- This needs to be done patiently and gradually, but again showing that you think it is wonderful. Offer the food in various ways until you find one that is liked and DONT GIVE UP. Remember, you are effectively dealing with a toddler here. All toddlers spit out new food at first, but Mum will keep persevering because she doesn't want to give them only milk for the rest of their life and wants them to have a good, balanced diet.
·INTRODUCING NEW DRIED FOODS- If you are changing to a new pellet or seed mix, seeing you eating this will also really help, with appropriate noises, and appearing to want to keep it to yourself. This will really peak their interest. Changes in staple foods need to be done gradually, mixing what they are used to with the new in decreasing proportions. Failure to do so could lead to a parrot starving itself, rather than taste a potentially poisonous unrecognised food.
PARROTS CHILLY PEPPER
Chilli peppers are and excellent source of Vitamin C it’s a powerful antioxidant, important for wound healing and immune function. So it is a great addition to introduce into your parrots diet. Yes they can eat the seeds too and small birds love them. Chop them up for small birds, but can be given whole chillies to larger parrots that eat with their feet. Yes parrots can take the heat as they don’t have as many taste buds as humans do, so it won’t burn their mouth.
PARROTS EATING ALMONDS
While very nutritious almonds can become lethal if fed wet! This is because when they become damp the hydrocyanic acid increases to dangerous levels. So always ensure that these nuts are not eaten if they have fallen into water bowls.Make sure that all nuts given are stored correctly and are in date.
PARROTS ON A SEED DIET
Feeding your parrots on a seed diet alone is in comparison to humans living solely on bread and water, we may survive but we will be suffering from severe malnutrition, and may not live very long. Malnutrition is the leading cause of death and disease in parrots.
SAFE FRIUT FOR BIRDS
(List not in alphabetical order)
Apple (remove seeds)
Apricot (remove pip)
Strawberry (wash well)
Blood orange (remove seeds)
Cantaloupe melon (seeds safe to eat)
Cheery (remove pip)
Mango (remove pip)
Orange (remove seeds, feed on occasion as very acidic)
Papaya (seeds safe to eat)
Peach (remove pip)
Pear (remove seeds)
Pineapple (peeled, feed on occasion as very acidic)
Plum (remove pip)
SAFE HERBS FOR BIRDS
Below is a list of safe herbs for birds (this list is not in alphabetical order)
Please remember, that whenever introducing new foods or herbs, start off with feeding them in very small quantities. If not done slowly or in small amounts, may affect your bird’s digestive system.
- Bay leaf
- Aloe Vera
- Anise (leaves and seeds)
- Parsley (feed in moderation)
- Lemon grass
- Lemon balm
- Milk thistle
- Turmeric root
- Celery root
- Thai basil
- St John’s wort
- Star anise seeds (pod)
SAFE NUTS FOR BIRDS
(Only ever feed human grade and preferably organic)
- Pine nuts
- Brazil nuts
- Walnuts (Please remember to open the nuts to check for mould)
SAFE SEEDS FOR BIRDS
(This list is not in alphabetical order)
- Anise seeds
- Chai seeds
- Cantaloupe seeds
- Cardamom seeds
- Cumin seeds
- Coriander seeds
- Pepper seeds
- Flax seeds
- Fennel seeds
- Melon seeds
- Grape seeds
- Milk thistle seeds
- Passion seeds
- Papaya seeds
- Poppy seeds
- Pomegranate seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Squash seeds
- Caraway seeds
SAFE TABLE FOODS FOR BIRDS
Here is a list of safe table foods you can feed to your parrots. Please take note of which foods need to be cooked:
Brown rice (cooked)
Oat (steal cut oats are best to offer -serve cooked)
Whole grain pasta (cooked)
Dried beans (well cooked) PLEASE NEVER FEED RAW BEANS, THEY ARE TOXIC FED RAW.
Cottage cheese (Parrots are lactose intolerant, so dairy products like cottage cheese is lactose free)
Whole grain bread (toasted)
Chicken (well cooked, feed the whites of roasted chicken) NEVER FEED FRIED CHICKEN, IT CONTAINS TOO HIGH LEVELS OF FAT.
White fish (well cooked) NEVER FEED SHELL FISH, THE BACTERIA CONTENT CAN BE HARMFUL TO YOUR BIRDS.
Eggs (cooked) NEVER FEED RAW EGG! WHEN BOILING EGGS, BOIL FOR ABOUT 30 MINUTES TO KILL ANY BACTERIA FROM THE CHICKEN.
Meat (well cooked, and in small quantities) NEVER FEED RAW MEAT OR MEAT THAT HAS BEEN RE-HEATED.
SAFE TREATS FOR BIRDS
- Plain unsalted/unsweet popcorn
- Plain Cheerio’s
- Plain corn flakes
- Plain rice krispies
- Shredded wheat
- Unsalted crackers
- Plain digestive biscuit
- Plain rich tea biscuit
- Madeira cake
SAFE VEGTABLES FOR BIRDS
The following food list is safe to feed your birds, please remember that whenever you are introducing new foods to your parrots, you start off giving in small quantities. If not done slowly your birds may develop upset tummies. Please always wash fruit and vegtables before you feed them to your birds.Preferably organic.
VEGTABLE LIST: (Not in alphabetical order)
- Bok choy
- Brussel sprouts
- Collard greens
- Dark green lettuces
- Butternut (cooked)
- Chilli peppers
- Sweet peppers
- Sweet potatoes (cooked)
Star anise is loved by parrots, they love the taste and the texture. Anything crunchy and they love to chew it to bits. Star anise is a fantastic treat to give birds and very nutritious, providing the bird with vitamin A, C and B-complex vitamins plus many more. Please do not confuse star anise with the Japanese star anise which is inedible and highly toxic.
THE BEST AND WORST TIMES TO OFFER NEW FOOD.
The best times to introduce new foods to your bird is in the morning and in the evening. In the morning, birds in the wild wake up at the crack of dawn to forage for food, this natural behaviour is still present in captive birds. The morning is one of the times during the day when the birds are most active, and you can take full advantage of this time to introduce new foods.
METHOD: In the morning, remove food cups (only for an hour or two maximum) sprinkle seed or millet over the fruit and vegetables. The birds will pick at the seeds and often try the new food at the same time. It may take a few days or even weeks for them to bypass the top layer of original food and try the new food beneath, but persistence is the key to success.
“REMEMBER, TO PLACE THE FOOD CUPS BACK AN HOUR OR SO LATER, BIRDS HAVE A HIGH METABOLISM, SO THEY NEED A CONSTANT SUPPLY OF FOOD, WITHOUT IT, THEY WILL GO DOWNHILL RAPIDLY, THEY WILL BECOME SICK AND WEAK”.
In the evening is another time when birds are looking for food before they roost, this is another opportunity to offer them new food. This time only remove the food cups for half an hour, it is important that they eat before they roost.
When you’re eating food yourself; parrots all eat together when foraging for food. As they see you as part of their flock or often even their mate, they will naturally want to share food with you and often eat whatever you are eating. This is a great opportunity to share healthy food with your bird.
THE WORST TIMES TO OFFER NEW FOOD:
It’s important not to try your birds on new food when they are sick. They need ALL the energy they can get at this time. You’ll not only be wasting food but your time, the parrot’s appetite would be good, so they won’t try anything new.
In times of stress such as; illness, moulting, breeding, moving home, recovering from an illness, moving into a new cage, introducing a new mate or flock member. When you bring home a new bird, (it’s important to have the bird on its original diet for a while, until he’s used to the new environment)
Listed above, are times again when the bird needs all the energy they can get. It is highly unlikely they will try new foods in times of stress, so, again you’ll be wasting your time and can cause an even worse stressful situation.
Always speak to your avian vet before offering new foods or changing diet. The bird will need a physical exam first, to determine if they’re healthy enough to partake in such big changes, which can be extremely stressful. This is very important, because stress is the number one killer of humans and animals.
TIPS WHEN FEEDING PELLETS
When a parrot consumes pellets they will need plenty of water in the cage at all times. This is because pellets are very dry and makes them thirsty. (Having 24 hour access to clean water should be common practice for all birds)
Make sure that pellets are not placed near water bowls, when pellets become damp they sour and can make your birds sick. Owners that feed pellets in Avery’s should move bowls away from the sides of the Avery when it rains.
When introducing pellets, it's a good idea to start with the smallest pellet you can buy, as it resembles seed and your birds are then more inclined to try it. Once your bird is eating the pellets you can then move onto appropriate size according to species.
It’s always best to feed organic pellets that are free from all artificial chemicals and dyes.
TOXIC FOOD NOT FOR BIRDS
Here is a list of POISONOUS foods , that you should NEVER feed your parrots.
- Raw/dried beans
- Apple seeds
- Fizzy drinks
- Fruit pits (example plum and peach pits)
- Tomato (steams and vines)