What Do Experts Say You Should Feed Your Parrot?
What Do Parrot-pet Stores Feed Parrots?
And What Information Will You Find Online?
One problem with online information is that it is often contradictory, but fortunately, most-all I read these days seems to agree: You should feed your parrot pellets.
My -late- father, who was a veterinarian professor, told me that big companies spend more money than I could imagine on research to create a great pet-pellet! It makes sense, after all, the brand to deliver the healthiest pet will be the most purchased! This explains the fact that avian veterinarians have told me that, ever since pellets, the number of sick parrots to see them has decreased dramatically. For about 30 years pellets have helped keep parrots healthier – your parrot should be healthy too!
Why Should Sunflower Seeds Be Given Like A Pez-sunflower Dispenser?
Unfortunately, seeds inhibit a parrot’s ability to absorb calcium, a mineral that is vital to their health. Parrots use calcium in their feathers, bones, beak and in every system of their bodies. That’s amazing!
Parrots have special, light-weight bones so that they can fly. They also rely on calcium to help them keep their beaks and nails healthy and in good condition. I’ve heard stories from veterinarians and people of parrots with weak, brittle bones and curly
nails that get hooked on their cages – causing injuries. Clearly, calcium is a must.
Fat Is Good For Some Parrots, Does Yours Need Nuts?
It’s important to research your parrot’s dietary requirements. Some parrots are prone to fat issues, like Amazons and Quakers, and they should not eat a lot of fats. Others, like African Greys and Macaws, require additional nuts in their diet.
And then some smaller parrots need the extra energy that some seeds in their diet require (their diet should be 30% fresh foods; 70% split so that less than half of that 70% is seeds and the other half is pellets.
In the photo our Harlequin Macaw is enjoying a peanut butter fork! Instead of adding the fat to her formula, we give it to her on a spoon or fork, which she loves and fulfills her fat requirement.
Interestingly, Sunflowers Don’t Grow In Parrot Habitats
I lived in Colorado and New Mexico for a while: the Mile-High City and the high desert both had beautiful sunflowers as large as my head growing wild in the fields or on the side of the road. An enchanting sight to see, but one that had no parrots.
In the wild parrots only find some seeds during the winter or spring. Seeds begin to sprout, making them less fatty and far more nutritious. Parrots never have access to seeds all year and they never eat just a seed or seed-mix diet.
I also don’t find seed-mixed diets to be beneficial. Why not? Well, every species of parrot really has unique dietary needs. Smaller parrots, like Budgys, Parrotlets and Lovebirds, require more seeds in their diet because they burn a lot more energy. Nevertheless, when I added a seed mix to my Parrotlet parrot’s diet according to my avian
veterinarian, my Parrotlets seemed endlessly hungry. I felt like I was refilling their food more often and they seemed dissatisfied. When I asked my veterinarian about this, she asked if I was feeding a mix with sunflower seeds – and said not to. She said to use a Budgy mix, which would not have sunflower seeds.
She was right. After that, things got better. My Parrotlets calmed down their eating. They looked satisfied and ate less! This showed me that a seed mix with sunflower seeds was costing me more money and not satiating my parrot’s hunger!
Unfortunately, a lot of parrot-pet stores also feed their parrots seed mixes. I suspect they do so because a sunflower-seed mix is less expensive and because they don’t want to deal with their inventory not eating, so instead they offer them something irresistible.
It’s not to say that sunflower seeds are evil; it’s to say that you should become a human sunflower-pez dispenser! If you are the only source of those yummy sunflower seeds, your parrot will be healthier and see you in a new, yummy and more loving light!
Your parrot should eat about 70% pellets and about 30% fresh foods. In the photo, Parrotlet parrot babies are being introduced to eating fresh foods, which they readily take to!
Snacks and special treats would be extra. We use only natural-colored pellets. I can’t find benefit in feeding my parrots pellets that change their coloring. I imagine that it must color all their insides, so I avoid food coloring for my family and parrots. Besides, I don’t find that my parrots mind, they eat the natural-colored pellets with no problem.
Fresh foods for your parrot include things like broccoli, carrots, and other green vegetables.
Fruits Are Nature’s Sugar!
And that’s why I love fruit. It’s sweet. Nutritionists will argue that humans should limit the amount of fruit they eat because fruits have fructose, which is natural sugar. While I don’t think fructose is nearly as detrimental as refined sugars, I agree. There are species of parrots who can get fat off fruit!
Parrots have not adapted to eat ripe fruit because bigger animals, like monkeys, tend to chase them away from these. Instead parrots that eat fruit choose bitter, unripe fruits that lack the colors of a ripe fruit and are hard and green.
People are accustomed to thinking that fruits and vegetables are good for their parrots – and probably themselves- but that’s not quite so.
Orange Is The New Beta!
Beta carotene is also a crucial ingredient for a healthy parrot. I guess this is because parrots tend to have good eyesight. It means that carrots, sweet potatoes and fresh fruits, like papaya or mango (not dried out, it concentrates the fructose) are great as treats or as the orange part of your parrot’s morning greens!
A healthy parrot is a more loving parrot. Your parrot’s good mood and his ability to love you have a lot to do with what you feed her. Yes, I’m saying that feeding your parrot the right foods will make them love you more! Love is caring, after all, and a healthy parrot is more cared for. They are more able to feel and experience your love and to reciprocate it. Top it all off by being a sunflower-pez dispenser and you’ll be enjoying a blissful bond with your fid (feathered kid)!
Have a questions about parrots?
As the author of “The Parrot Bliss Bond,” I love and welcome questions about having a parrot and creating one of the best experiences of your life!
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