BIRD / nutrition
What Do Pet Birds Eat?
Welcome to pet bird parenthood! It’s so exciting to welcome a new pet into your home, introduce them to their new family members, and help them get acquainted with their new surroundings. Now, it’s time to stock up on all those bird supplies and start enjoying your feathered friend’s company. The most important part of caring for your pet bird is giving them proper nutrition so they can live a happy, healthy life. So, what do pet birds eat? Learn more about what foods your bird will enjoy, and how much is the appropriate amount to feed them at mealtime.
What Do Pet Birds Eat?
Well, no two birds are exactly alike, so there’s no single perfect diet. And to add to the challenge, birds are actually very picky (and messy!) when it comes to food. Birds will often pick out their favourite ingredients and leave the rest, which can make providing the best nutrition challenging. To keep your pet interested in eating, offer a variety of fruits and vegetables with their meals each day. And remember, if your bird isn’t interested in a specific food on one occasion, that doesn’t mean they won’t devour it on another day. When in doubt, talk to your veterinarian about transitioning to the perfect solution for you and your bird.
Seeds & Nuts
Birdseed seems like the obvious choice to feed your “tweetheart.” But guess what? Veterinarians say birdseed is too high in fat to be a healthy main course for most birds. In fact, too much of this fattening combination can lead to health issues and inappropriate behaviors. Serving birdseed to your pet bird as a treat or snack occasionally is fine, but it’s in their best interest to keep this to a minimum to preserve their health. Birdseed is, however, a great option to serve to the wild birds in your backyard.
One good option that can help with those picky eaters are avian pellets. Giving your bird pellets can help give you peace of mind that your bird is getting the nutrition they need, since pellets are intended to be nutritionally complete. Every bite is nutrient-packed and doesn’t allow your bird to pick-and-choose only their favourite. Pellets also come in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes, which helps provide variety in the food dish.
Your bird’s diet should include a variety of fresh vegetables. Most birds love dark, leafy greens, zucchini and broccoli, as well as other vegetables such as squash, shredded carrots, snow peas, parsley, cucumbers and Romaine lettuce. Avoid avocado, onion and garlic, which can be harmful to them. Be sure to cut vegetables into appropriate pieces that are proportionate to your bird’s size.
Fruit & Fibre
Everyone–including birdies–can appreciate a nice ripe piece of fruit from time to time. This is the tasty stuff that makes your bird get all a-flutter, but don’t overdo it — only a small percentage of your bird’s diet should come from fruit, grains and legumes like plain cooked brown rice, cooked pasta, cooked beans, cooked barley or cooked oats.
When it comes to fruit, most birds enjoy:
- And Apples
You should try to remove the seeds from any fruit you serve your feathered friends. As with vegetables, it’s a good idea to cut fruits into a size that is appropriate for your bird.
How Often Should I Feed My Pet Bird?
Since birds like to pick at their meal throughout the day, make sure your bird’s bowl is always about three-quarters full of fresh food. Once a week, serve your bird a small portion of grains or legumes.
If your bird takes more than four hours to eat any fruit, vegetables or other goodies, take the leftovers out of the cage and try serving less next time.
Suggested Pet Bird Diet Proportions
Depending on what kind of pet bird you decide to bring home, each particular breed should eat a different portion of each type of bird food. For a full breakdown of what your specific pet bird’s diet should be, check out the chart below.
If you have questions regarding what type of diet your bird should be on, please consult with your veterinarian.
Information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure your pet and is not a substitute for veterinary care provided by a licensed veterinarian. For any medical or health-related advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet, contact your veterinarian.