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Millvale, Pa. 15209
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Diet Information For Your Bird
There are many articles in books and on the internet about what to feed your bird. Friends, breeders, and veterinarians all have their own opinions on what is the best diet for your bird. Most of this information is hearsay passed on by word of mouth. Some information comes from advertising hype designed to sell food, but does not really have any clinical proof or basis for what is claimed, and the worst advice is when your hear, "My bird eats what I eat.", or "I was told to feed my bird lots of people food." When someone tells me, "My bird eats what I eat." I cannot help but look at the person and judge how healthy they look and equate that into, how healthy is your bird?
In the realm of parrot diets the sunflower seed has gotten an undeserved bad reputation over the years. This dates back to the 1960s and 70s when not many people owned exotic birds and there were very few choices of parrot diets available so, most people fed their caged birds outdoor bird food, salted crackers and nuts, and lots of people food. This led to a lot of obese birds and lots of fatty liver and heart disease. Most outdoor bird foods are packed full of sunflower seeds and this led people to believe that the sunflower seed was the bad seed for birds, when in fact it was the type of sunflower seed, the high fat black oil sunflower seed, that was the problem. Outdoor birds require lots of fatty foods to maintain high calorie count that is burned by flying and to help them create heat to keep them warm in the winter. Caged birds do not have the ability to burn that many calories, so the newer seed diets use the low fat striped sunflower seed in their mixes. The striped variety of sunflower seed is low in fat, but full of natural vitamins and nutrients vital to good health in caged birds. So, what should you feed your bird?
Let's start by looking at commercially available bird diets. SEED DIETS are the most natural and organic food you can feed your bird, but not all seed diets are the same. They all look good with the different seeds and nuts they contain and the package may even say FORTIFIED or SPECIFIC or use some other word that makes you think you are getting the best food for your bird. But is it really that good? Read the ingredients and see if there are meats, vegetables, egg and fruit along with the seeds and nuts. How many varieties of seeds, nuts, fruit, and vegetables are there? Are the seeds dull or dusty looking? Compare brand ingredients and see what may be lacking or how many "fillers" they contain. There is very little regulation or information concerning bird diets, so you have to be wise and use a little common sense when choosing the right seed diet for your bird. Eating seeds is also good for your parrots mental wellbeing. Birds love to open seeds and nuts to find a treat inside which satisfies their natural foraging instincts.
Next are PELLETED DIETS. Pellets are hard dry extruded pieces of food that started out as natural food, but were ground and mixed and the extruded into various shapes and sizes. Most extrusion methods use binders and fillers and are subjected to oven type heat to manufacture the pellet. The binders and fillers are not harmful, but they have few nutrients to benefit the birds and the heat can damage or change the potency of vitamins and minerals. Some pellets are colorful and some are not. You can tell at a glance if a bird is eating pellets by looking at the droppings. The dyes that make pellets so colorful will change a normal healthy green white dropping to orange, red or black depending on which color pellet was eaten the most. The plain pellets, those without pretty colors, will show up as shades of brown. Sugars are used in pellets to entice the bird to eat them.