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Your pet birds diet is one of the most important considerations in its overall care. A first time pet bird owner may be overwhelmed by the vast assortment of seeds, seed treats and other items that are sold on the market as "Bird Food".
The fact is birds need more than seed-type "Bird Food" to stay healthy. Although the specific nutritional requirements for all pet species have not been determined, it is known that birds require basically the same nutrients in their diet as other animals do. A wide variety of foods, including vegetables, animal or mature bean protein, whole grain products and a source of calcium should be offered. Following is a breakdown of the Four Basic Food Groups that are of particular value to pet birds:
1.¬† Grains - Breads and Cereal Group (for B Vitamins)
Approximately 60% of the daily food consumption may be selections from this food group that includes seeds. Because many B vitamins are contained in the seed hulls (which the bird does not eat), other foods from this Group are also valuable to provide. They are : Whole wheat bread, Cooked brown rice, Commercial Monkey biscuit, Wheat Germ, and other whole grain products.2.¬† Fresh Vegetables and Fruits Group (for vitamin A, C, minerals)
Vegetables alone may account for approximately 10% of the dietary intake. They are: Broccoli, Endive, Carrots, Parsley, Pumpkin, Winter Squash, Collard Greens, Sweet potato, Corn, Peas, Beans, Kale, Lima Beans, Black Eye Peas. Fruits are offered in only very limited amounts and should make up approximately 5% of the daily intake. They are: Apples, Bananas, Grapes, Strawberries, Cherries, Oranges, Figs, Kiwi, Mango, Papaya, Peaches, Pears. DO NOT FEED AVOCADO. It is poisonous to parrots.3.¬† Meat Group (for protein and fat)
Protein should consist of 25% of your birds diet. Hard cooked or scrambled eggs, Peanuts or other mature legumes (navy beans, kidney beans), Beef, Chicken, Tuna or other fish.4.¬† Dairy Group (for calcium and protein)
Excessive consumption of milk products by birds is not advised, but the calcium needs must be provided (although birds do enjoy small amounts of yogurt, cottage cheese, and hard cheeses). The greater the consumption of seeds in the diet, the higher the need for supplementary calcium. This is most easily met by mineral supplements in the form of Cuttlebone and Mineral Block. If a bird refuses to eat the above items, calcium supplementation (crushed tablets, liquid or powder), may be mixed with other foods. It is also important to ALWAYS GIVE FRESH WATER DAILY. Pet birds may also benefit and enjoy a sip of fresh fruit or vegetable juice occasionally. DO NOT FEED YOUR BIRD "GRIT" (small pieces of rock or shell). It does more harm than good.
Fresh Fruit:¬† Apples (cored), Papaya ,¬† Mango (pitted), Oranges (seeded), Cantaloupe, Melon , Star fruit,¬† Pineapple, Pomegranate, Berries (Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries), Pears (cored), Peaches (pitted), Plums (pitted), Kiwi (peeled), Banana (peeled), Cherries (pitted), Cranberries, Grapes (with seeds), Grapefruit (seeded), Tangerines (seeded), Cactus Pear (peeled), Banana (peeled) - Note Banana is only served fresh.
Note: Citrus fruits should never be given more than 4 to 5¬† days a week.
Fresh Vegetables:¬† Red Beets (peeled), Radishes, Turnips, Carrots, Cooked Sweet Potatoes, Radicchio, Endive, Mustard Greens, Beet & Turnip Greens, Dandelion Greens, Swiss Chard, Kale, Parsley, Basil, Cooked Red Potatoes, Peeled and Steamed Squash (Acorn, Spaghetti, Butternut, Summer, Pumpkin, etc. Note: the seeds are a favorite of my flock), Green Beans, Tomato, Sweet Red & Green Peppers, Hot Peppers, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Broccoli Rabe, Turnip Greens, Eggplant, Snow Peas, Tofu, Fennel, Kohlrabi, Sugar Snap Peas.
These are some things we will use to change the flavor variety to keep them interested in the fresh foods. Note: They are not used all at once. ¬†You can also use this to get your feathered friend interested in a certain food.
Natural Flavorings:¬† Fresh Squeezed Lemon or Orange Juice (Vitamin C ~ boosts the immune system), Diced Garlic (wonderful antioxidant), Peeled & Diced Ginger, Chopped Parsley, Ground Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pine, brazil, pecan), Chopped Cilantro, Dried Chili Peppers.
Here is a partial list of items I use to Sprout. ¬†I also only sprout for about 24 hours. That is when the sprouts are peaking at their nutritious levels.
Seeds:¬† Broccoli, Alfalfa, Kale, Sesame, Sunflower, Radish, Mustard, Millet, Red Clover, Dill
Beans:¬† Garbanzo, Adzuki, Mung (Note: Beans never should be offered dried)
Grains:¬† Oat Groats, Rye Berries, Wheat Berries, Whole Kernel Corn, Barely, Buckwheat, Quinoa, Amaranth
You should always seek professional advice before making any changes to your birds treatment or environment.