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Is your bird a seed only eater? Did you know in that wild seeds form only a small portion of the natural diet? While seeds are an important part of a pet parrot's daily diet they should not comprise all of it.
Parrots are opportunistic omnivores, which in plain English means they eat whatever they encounter in their day ("opportunistic") and, like us, eat from all the food groups - veggies & fruits, grain, and animal protein ("omnivores").
The seed based diets that have traditionally been fed to pet birds are not representative of that parrots eat in the wild. Little is actually known about exactly what comprises their daily diet, but their natural diet does include a variety of things like seeds, nuts, fruits, shoots, buds, corms, and invertebrates (insects, worms, and larvae). Wild parrots have even been observed eating dead fish that wash up from lakes and streams. Because some of the plant material they eat also contains toxins, parrots in South America flock to natural mineral beds regularly to feed on the clay and minerals available in order to detoxify their systems.
We do know that a seed only diet generally cuts your pet's potential lifespan in half, as well as leading to deficiencies in vitamins, especially vitamin A, minerals, especially calcium and protein. They also tend to be too high in fat.
While formulated diets (aka pellets) are now becoming widely used, they also do not comprise a complete diet and can lead to health problems if used exclusively, especially with the kidneys and liver. Formulated diets were originally based on research done in the poultry industry, where the focus is on rapid growth and maximum size, not longevity. While they've come a long way, and like seeds, form an important part of a complete diet, they can not do it alone. What's important for your bird's health and happiness is variety, balance, and moderation. Veggies, whole grains, and some fruit should form the basis of a well fed bird's daily diet.
A parrot's "job" in the wild is to spend the day searching for food, then working to access it. Nuts are a prime example, as getting to the nut meat involves removing not only the hard shell, but the fibrous outer husk as well. It's important to give your pet a "job" and make her have to work a little for her goodies as well. Having to peel veggies and open nuts helps offset boredom. (Just be sure the veggies are organic and not contaminated with pesticides.)
Patience, creativity and common sense will work wonders in improving your parrot's diet and overall health. The rewards are well worth the effort, resulting in a well feathered, bright-eyed, playful companion who can share your life for as long as possible.
Your Parrot Place
Marilu Anderson, Bird Nutrition and Behavior Consultant, (503) 771-BIRD. Marilu is a regular contributor to the Your Parrot Place Newsletter. YourParrotPlace.com - Only the Best for Your Parrot!
140 pages! A compilation of parrot articles from 2000-2004.
Why you should keep marijuana away from your pets
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Bangor Daily News
Why you should keep marijuana away from your pets — Homestead ...
Bangor Daily News
From curious cats to counter-surfing canines, more pets are showing up stoned in veterinarians' offices after getting into their owners' stashes. Pets have been getting high with or without their owner's help for decades, but the widening legalization ...
Protect your pets from those pesky pests
The warmer weather is finally here, and that means more bugs or parasites will be out to target our pets. But, our friend Mike Palmer from Premier Pet Supply has ways you can protect your pets. Palmer joined us in studio and brought along Brandon ...
Kansas City Star
Tending to pets — and their people — is the mission of this shop
Kansas City Star
For 15 years, Brookside Barkery & Bath owner Delena Stout has been helping pets and owners make better homes together. At its onset, the store gave owners of larger dogs an easy way to bathe their pets and offered healthier food options. It has grown ...
WWSB ABC 7
New app helps find missing pets
WWSB ABC 7
SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Nothing is harder for a pet lover than when their pet goes missing, so one Sarasota man is working to create something to help distraught pet owners find their furry friend. The 'Pet Detective' app, created by Sarasota native ...
Pet Talk - Keeping pets healthy in the summer heat
This week on Pet Talk, we're talking about how to keep your pets safe in the warmer weather and how to make sure they're protected against mosquito bites. Kit Darling with the Texas A&M College of Veterinarian Medicine visited the the KBTX studio to ...
PETS: Regarding lost and stolen pets
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People are always amazed at how many stray dogs are posted on our Facebook page. Considering that the estimate is that one in every three pets will become lost in their lifetime, it is not a shock. Unfortunately, many stray animals never reunite with ...
This latest home trend could be harmful to your pets - Spectrum News
The tranquility of essential oils being diffused into the air may be relaxing for many, but for your pets, it could be quite the opposite. "Dogs' sense of smell are about 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than ours, so something that might smell ...
Fermanagh pet lovers learn CPR for dogs
Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, CPR, helps save hundreds of human lives every year, and first-aider Keith McCabe cannot see why animals should not benefit as well. "It's always struck me that our pets could do with a bit of first aid and actually I've ...
Two people, family pets escape house fire in Henrietta
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