General nutrition

In nature, a bird “always working” for his food. So he has fly and climb from his sleeping place to forage at an eating place. Then he will have to find out where good food is, and also work to provide food. For example he have to open or brake seeds/ plants in order to get the fruit or pulp.
Forage is a natural way!
Always provide adequate (but not too much) food in foraging toys.
You can make themyourself or buy special foraging toys.
Here you can (mostly dry) food in ‘hide’ the bird so the bird have to forage (work) before he can eat. For a simple example: wrap a pellet with a piece of paper.

What kind of food?
Most parrots (there are over 300 individual species) living in the wild as herbivorous and eat mostly plant foods. There are also parrots who only eat one or two specific foods. There are also species that are omnivorous and eat plant foods besides insects, during the breeding season. Wild living parrots living from the food what is currently at hand.

How should we feed our birds?
It is still (also for the scientists) a bit of conjecture what parrots need for food.
It depends mainly on where the birds live.
We should ensure a healthy, varied and nutritious diet.
Currently there are three basic shapes to be found in parrot food, namely a
– Seed diet
– Pelleted diet
– Cooked food

Each basic shape has its advantages and disadvantages. Although seed-based diets are not recommended for most species, because they are deficient in a number of important vitamins and minerals, although they are easily accepted by almost all parrots.
Pellets are compressed dry chunks of vegetables, grains and seeds, sometimes with added supplements but all bits are equal. So a parrot on a diet of only pellets is getting day by day, year by year the same food. If these pellets missing certain essential nutrients, then this can have major consequences for the health of the bird.

It is therefore important to see what the specific type needs when choosing a diet for your bird.
It is known that Amazon parrots, Cockatoos and Eclectus parrots feed not a lot of nuts because they are prone to obesity. On the other hand Macaws need fats and nuts (eg palm nuts) because they are essential for them. From Eclectus parrots we known that they do not thrive on pellets that well. In the wild these birds are primarily fruit eaters, there must be pay attention for this.
Unfortunately you can not assume what’s on the packaging of bird food. There are pellets for Parakeets nutritionally identical to those for Macaws and Cockatoos…

It is clear that parrots in nature feed themselfs with ‘living’ foods. So mostly food from fresh trees, plants or flowers. Living food is full of healthy nutrients and enzymes and these are largely lost when cooked (nearly all the ingredients of pellets are ground, cooked and then pressed!). So why not offer your parrot daily fresh fruit and vegetables.
Although pelleted diets may not be the total solution, they contain more nutrients and a better balance than a seed diet.

But look on the packaging of the various pellets out there … These ingredients are also available fresh! And if they are available fresh, we can provide them fresh to our parrots …
So did I: I looked at the pellet ingrediets and then made a mash from fresh from fresh organic veggies and fruit. This same mash you can put in the dehydrator and dry for a couple of hours around 105 ˚ F. This way the vitamins, minerals and enzymes stay intact.
So I have ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ food. Very handy for the foraging toys 😉

Don’t give supplements to the birds, except it is a prescription of the veterinarian. Most dietary supplements sold for birds are often unnecessary and in some cases we can give a toxic overdose of vitamin D and synthetic vitamin!

Birds are lactose intolerant, meaning doesn’t milk should be given.
Food which can lead to toxicity in birds include avocado, onions, garlic and raw rhubarb. Spinach contains oxalates and should not  be fed or in very small portions. (oxalates bind to calcium and in large quantities can cause a calcium deficiency).
You can find a lot of information about nutrition on the internet which again can give a lot of confusion … Studie about the habitat of the parrot that you cared for at home. We can not offer our beloved birds the natural food, but let our birds regularly enjoy living food!

4 thoughts on “General nutrition

  1. Hi
    I just got myself a new white capped pionus.
    Can I feed him raw vegetables or do they have to be cooked ?

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