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Pet Bird Nutrition

Most pet birds require more and better nutrition than the seed diets provided by most owners. Although, for many years, it was thought that the all seed diets were adequate, recent knowledge indicates that a smorgasbord is more appropriate, especially if you have a bird in the parrot family. The Association of Avian Veterinarians has established the following guidelines for pet bird diets:

Grains, breads and cereals. About 50% of a bird’s diet should come from this group to make sure that the bird receives its B vitamins. Suitable foods include seeds, whole wheat bread, cooked brown rice, monkey biscuits or other whole grain products.

Fresh fruit and vegetables. Approximately 45% of a pet bird’s diet should come from this group to provide vitamins A and C and essential minerals. Among the recommended vegetables are broccoli, endive, carrots, parsley, pumpkin, winter squash, collard greens and sweet potatoes. Vegetables without fruit can fulfill the dietary needs of pet birds, but small amounts of fruit, such as apricots, papaya or cantaloupe can also be offered. The combined amount of fruit, meat and dairy products offered to a pet bird should comprise no more than 5% of its total diet.

Meat group. This group provides protein and fat for pet birds. Acceptable foods from this group include beef, chicken, water-packed tuna or other fish, hard boiled or scrambled eggs, peanuts, navy beans, or lima beans.

Milk group. Excessive consumption of foods in the dairy group is not advised, but the group does supply calcium, which pet birds need, especially if seeds comprise a major portion of their diet. Small amounts of yogurt, cottage cheese or hard cheese may be offered, and calcium supplements such as cuttlebones, mineral blocks or oystershell should be added to a bird’s diet. Remember, this is primarily for the parrot group of birds. Be sure your bird is in this group before changing the diet. Also, diet changes can be difficult to achieve and will require diligence on the part of the owner to produce the best results.

Learn more about diet & nutrition for different animals below:

• What? My Pet is Fat?
• Introducing Your Pet to a New Diet

• Pet Bird Nutrition
• Iguana Diet
• Nutrition for Rabbits