Preening our feathers...

Diet

What to feed your bird:

You just give ‘em some bird seed, right?

Not exactly. If you want to keep your bird healthy and well fed, there’s more to it than that.

“Let food be thy medicine.”

Bird diets vary depending on the species. Parrots such as cockatiels, quakers, African greys, etc. should be offered a mix of healthy seeds and high quality, size-appropriate pellets. When buying seed and/or pellets, some brands aren’t up to par. I prefer to stick to trusted quality brands such as Higgins, Roudybush, ZuPreem, Sun Seed, Volkman, and Lafeber’s.

Parrots also LOVE fresh foods like fruits, veggies, and grains like pasta and quinoa. You can make a custom mix of fresh foods for your birds that will enhance their nutrition as well as their foraging and dining enjoyment. We refer to this kind of mix as ‘chop’. You can create your own chop using what you have on hand, or you can search up some good recipes online. An example of a nicely varied chop might include things like melons, peppers (spicy ones are ok too!), greens, apples, berries, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and sprouts such as lentils or mung beans. Your bird might also enjoy the addition of cooked chickpeas, pasta, or red quinoa.

Here’s some examples of some varied, nutrient-packed, yummy chop for parrots:

There are also foods that are particularly bad for your bird, which could range in effect from poor nutrition, to disease, to death. Please take note of the items on the list below, and save it as a reference if needed. Some specific foods to avoid for all birds are:

    • Junkfood/high fat/high sodium (fried foods)
    • Processed sugar (natural fruit sugars are fine)
    • Chocolate
    • Fruit pits/apple or pear seeds
    • Avocados
    • Tomato leaves
    • Raw potatoes/yams
    • Dried beans
    • Parsley (use sparsely!)
    • Onion
    • Garlic (it is debated whether small amounts are ok)
    • Meat
    • Artificial flavors and dyes
    • Milk
    • Alcohol
    • Soft drinks
    • Coffee
    • Caffeine

A bird’s diet is an extremely important part of their care. Feeding a balanced, healthy diet will not only provide your bird with a happy, healthy life, but it will save you money on expensive vet visits, and help to see that your bird lives for as long as possible. Good diet, just as it is with humans, is the best preventive maintenance. Nutritious foods will also keep your bird feeling chipper, as well as looking more attractive, with vibrant, beautiful feathers. Feed him/her right and your bird will feel like a million bucks!