What should we feed our pet birds?
Did you know?
* Our pet birds are members of different SPECIES from each other, instead of being BREEDS of the same SPECIES, like dogs and cats.
* Not only that, they are actually tame, wild animals. They are not yet domesticated like dogs and cats. That means they still have their wild instincts intact, and their nutritional needs are similar to their wild ancestors of the rainforests. These wild ancestors live in different parts of the world where there are different climates and environments.
* As a result, they have different nutritional needs. Each species of bird may require a higher or lower level of fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water in their diet. Therefore there is no one diet that meets the needs of all of our pet birds.
It is our responsibility to make sure that our pet companions get the appropriate nutrients they need. A seed/nut only diet is not sufficient because it does not provide all of the nutrients our birds need to keep healthy. There should be a balance of vegetables, fruits, grains/beans, and pellets, as well as nuts and seeds.
For African Grey parrots, I generally recommend the following guideline: vegetables 30%; legumes 20%; pellets 20%; seeds/nuts 15%; fruits 10%; and grains 5%. Discuss the specific daily food requirements for your bird with an avian nutritionist and/or avian veterinarian.
Fresh, organic vegetables served in the raw live state are great because they give our birds the most nutrients and they contain the needed enzymes to maintain proper digestion. There are many different ways to serve vegetables to the birds, such as chopping them fresh daily, or lightly steaming some of them, and so on. Birds will not eat something unless they know it is food. In the wild, they learn to eat by watching their parents. In the home, they have to learn from us humans. Here are some tips for teaching your bird to eat vegetables.
A healthy bird lives on a healthy diet. That is our charge.
African Grey parrot expert Maggie Wright authored the popular Barron’s book, AFRICAN GREY PARROTS: A COMPLETE PET OWNER’S MANUAL. She created Nature’s Corner magazine, which explores animal intelligence and sentience. Maggie is owned by three beautiful Grey Parrots: Merlin, Sweet Pea and Kyo.
Read more about Maggie: