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Discover The Ideal Diet For Birds

Oct 12, 2007
I don't know the circumstances under which you, the Parrot Fancier, live or where, but the following wide variety of suitable foods for large Psittacines are given so your bird may have a well balanced and varied diet.

The staple diet of Parrots, Macaws and Cockatoos should consist of equal parts of seeds, greens and fruits. The seed part should be composed of the following: Giant Russian Sunflower, Hulled Oats, Canary Seed, and large Red or Yellow Millet. Other seeds may be added for variety such as: Wheat (soaked overnight in water), Cracked Corn (dry or soaked), Buckwheat, a small quantity of Hemp Seed, Peanuts (raw or roasted).

If you don't care to make your own seed mixture, Parrot Seed may be purchased ready mixed in package form from any Pet Shop or supply house. No more than a third of a large Psittacine Bird's diet should consist of cut up fruit, cherries, grapes or berries.

Citrus fruits may be given but not too often and only a few small pieces, as oranges do not agree too well with these birds and they, like all other birds, are able to synthesize their own Vitamin C requirements, not needing it in their food like we humans do. Another way in which we differ from them is that birds, dogs and cats do not perspire as they lack the sweat glands and pores that we have. They pant and we don't.

Cod liver oil should be given in cold weather by letting 1 teaspoonful of the oil soak in 1 pint of seed overnight, mixing it in well. It may be given also by putting 3-4 drops every other day on soft food.

As a change in diet, beneficial treats may be supplied frequently such as buttered WHOLE WHEAT BREAD, or given bread soaked in milk and squeezed dry. Other excellent items are grated hard boiled egg yolk, dried dates or figs, a dry dog biscuit, corn and brown or wild rice (paddy rice) boiled in milk or water, and sprouted grain. Grain and seeds will sprout if placed in a pan or box of damp peat moss in the sun. When three inches tall, sections of this may be seperated, thus furnishing fresh tender vitamin-filled greens.

On the above soft food, you could add a pinch of vitamin-mineral feeding supplement every other day, especially when moulting or when breeding.

Although it is always advisable to vary your Parrot, Macaw or Cockatoo's diet for health, long life and to help prevent the bad habit of feather plucking, do not give it candy, cake (except fruit cake), coffee, beer or table scraps. Certain table scraps not too greasy or starchy may form part of a Crow or Magpie's diet, but never should be given to Psittacine Birds.

Some fanciers, by experimenting, think that a little raw beef or liver helps prevent feather plucking by supplying extra protein. This idea is worth trying if you have such a bird. A piece of rock salt is beneficial also and will keep your bird out of mischief.

A few of the larger nuts (Walnut, Almond, Brazil Nut, Cashew, Hazel, etc.) may be supplied every day. They can easily crack the hard shells and this will keep them pleasantly occupied. Seeds do not contain all the elements required in a Parrot's diet. Supply them daily with fresh greens such as beet tops, celery stalks, fresh peas in pod, raw carrot, and uncooked corn on the cob.

Thus it will be seen that with a little effort, you are able to present your Parrot, Macaw or Cockatoo with a nourishing and tasty diet which will keep him in the best of health.
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