Nutrition is the foundation of good health for humans, and it plays a huge role in the health and happiness of your bird as well. With the right diet, your bird can fuel their bodies, fight off health conditions, and live a long, happy life.
Whether you’re a new bird parent looking for feeding advice or you already have a bird and want to make sure they get the best nutrition, here’s the scoop on what to feed (and not feed) your bird.
What Not to Feed Your Bird
Many commercial bird foods are based mainly on seeds of various types, such as sunflower and safflower seeds, millet, and milo (which is a grain rather than a seed). We’ve since learned that seeds are high in fat and low in nutrition, basically the equivalent of junk food.
Just as some humans like the thought of living on fast food and cookies, birds find seeds tasty and would love to have them as a steady diet.
As you might expect, a bird being fed a high-fat diet can experience the same results as a human, such as obesity, heart disease, fatty liver, and other conditions. Since they aren’t consuming the nutrients they need, they can also suffer from malnutrition.
Some commercial foods have a mixture of seeds and formulated pellets, but given a choice between healthier food and tasty junk, guess which your bird will pick to eat?
There are also seed diets that are nutritionally supplemented, but this is usually done by coating the seeds with a vitamin mix. When your bird removes a seed hull, they remove the vitamin coating as well.
This absolutely doesn’t mean your bird can never eat seeds, just as we wouldn’t tell you yourself that you can never eat a cookie. Seeds can be given as an occasional treat and used as a reward for training purposes.
Fruits should also be only given in moderation, as they’re usually high in sugar.
How to Feed Your Bird a Healthy Diet
What your bird should eat can vary according to what type of bird they are, but in general, a high-quality formulated pellet food should make up at least 50% of their diet. Pellet diets are designed to provide all the nutrients your bird needs to thrive.
Some types of birds should have a higher percentage of pellets, but your avian vet can give you more detailed information.
Most birds like variety in what they eat, so adding fresh veggies and some legumes and whole grains can provide this, as well as provide some helpful nutrients.
Some safe vegetables to feed your bird include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Red and green peppers
Do You Know What Diet is Best for Your Bird?
Birds are all unique pets, and that means their nutritional requirements can differ from bird type to bird type.
If you still have questions, want to know how to change your bird’s diet, or need recommendations on specific food brands for your bird, we have veterinarians available via appointment to help you make sure your bird gets the best nutrition.