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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.
Delta Airlines Cracks Down on Pets Being Brought on Airplanes as Service Animals
If you were planning on taking your hedgehog, snake or pig on a flight and calling it a “service animal,” be warned: Delta airlines is tightening their rules about taking those animals with you. Different airlines have different rules about in what ...
People are dressing up their pets as service dogs, but a new bill would make it illegal
Delta cracking down on support animals on planes: Here's what you need to know
Delta Just Got Way More Strict About Flying With Pets
Alabama Public Radio
Change a Pet's Life Day
Alabama Public Radio
This Wednesday is National Change a Pet's Life Day. It was created to encourage people to adopt shelter pets and to raise awareness about homeless animals. So one way to participate and dramatically change a pet's life would be to adopt a dog or cat ...
Pet care is more expensive than ever. These are the reasons why
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Griffin Hospital To Host First Aid Class To Help Pets
Times Record News
Allergies can cause pets to obsessively lick
Times Record News
Obsessively licking of their paws and feet is a behavior that many dogs (and sometimes cats) begin and if left untreated can cause long-term issues. Paw licking is usually one of several things. Pets can have allergies which make them miserable and ...
Keeping pets and people together: Pet Food Pantry marks 21 years in Auburn
Some 70 years ago, Marylou McQuaid developed a deep love for animals — and it all started with a walk to Curley's Restaurant. Born and raised in Auburn, McQuaid grew up in a poor Syrian-Italian family. But every night, McQuaid said, she and her mother ...
The Little-Known History of Seafaring Pets
It gets hard to tell when you go back that far, but humans—Homo erectus in this case—probably crafted the first seaworthy vessel some 800,000 years ago. Since then, our ability to build boats and take to the seas has been critical to many of the most ...
No-fee adoptions for adult pets at 2 PAWS shelters for one day only ...
In light of Chicago Animal Care and Control reaching capacity, PAWS Chicago will waive all adoption fees for adult dogs and cats tomorrow, Jan. 20.
Ignore the Internet Rumor: Swiffer WetJets Are Perfectly Safe for Pets
Right before the eating of Tide Pods made the news cycle, there was another meme circulating around Facebook. It was about the alleged dangers of Swiffer WetJets to pets. And it is completely false. Swiffer WetJets are perfectly safe to use in homes ...
Bristol Herald Courier (press release) (blog)
Ministry is like a food pantry for pets
Bristol Herald Courier (press release) (blog)
So, within the past year, this resident of Bristol, Virginia, helped start a mission called All God's Creatures Ministry to match pet food and supplies with people who have needs. “We want to help the community with their pets,” Horne said. “If they ...
Dog flu is real: Here's what you need to know to keep your pet safe
Many pet lovers treat their furry friends like human companions, but few dog owners understand that this season's human flu has an equally infectious form for pets. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “Canine influenza (CI ...
Pigskin party menus aren't for pets
The Commercial Dispatch
With conference championship games being played today and the Super Bowl on Feb. 4, there are sure to be a fair share of house watch parties. Football fare is nearly irresistible for dogs -- especially when sitting at eye-level -- but even cats can ...
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