Pelleted Bird Foods
Professional Bird Breeders Prefer Pellets to Seed Diets

 
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LA
Hookbills easily convert to pelleted foods.

Birds in captivity traditionally get fed a seed diet – often because of the convenience.  Prepared seed diets also cost very little.  It costs you less than a buck a week to feed the average caged bird.

Unfortunately, birds need more than seeds.  In the wild they also eat greens, fruits, and insects.  These little “extras” provide the minerals, vitamins, and protein lacking from 100% seed diets.

So we serious bird keepers add little chopped up bits of greens, fruits, and boiled eggs to complete their diet.  So much for convenience.

Various manufacturers add convenience and vitamins in different ways:

  1. By spraying them onto the seeds.  Of course, many birds husk these seed covers and thus avoid the supplements.

  2. By forcing them into the seeds under pressure.  This makes the seeds less palatable and induces early spoilage.

  3. By making powders or liquids for you to add to their food or water.  Do this carefully because you could over-vitaminize them.

  4. By adding fortifying pellets to their seed diet.  No one really knows how many pellets they eat.

  5. By making pelleted foods exactly to the nutrient needs of your bird.  Unfortunately, most birds are hooked on seeds, seeds, seeds.

  6. By building pelleted “berries” that birds have to work at to eat.  These are similar to the seed-containing treat sticks.

LA Pic
Expensive hookbills fare best on pelleted foods.

 

No question about pellets.  They provide the almost perfect nutrient solution – if you can get your bird to eat them.  They have some great advantages:

  1. Total convenience.  Pellets provide 100% of all their nutritional needs.

  2. Better breeding.  Birds fed pellets breed and rear their chicks more successfully.

  3. Less mess.  There are no seed hulls for their wings to blow all over your room.  Of course, they will still play with their food and throw pellets on the floor and put them in their water dish..

Better breeding results and increased longevity make professional bird breeders love the pelleted foods.  They get better results from their entire flock when they feed pelleted foods to their breeders and their chicks.

LA Pic
When you put hundreds of bucks into a bird, you want the best nutrition available.

 

You can see that eventually most birds will find themselves on pelleted foods.  We’ll all be better off when that happens.  Here’s some ways you can help convert your bird over to these more nutritious foods.

Step 1.  Think in terms of offering two feedings per day to your birds -- morning and evening.

Step 2.  Offer pellets only for the morning feeding.

Step 3.  Mix 10% pellets into their evening feeding of seeds.

Step 4.  Carefully monitor their feeding habits.  The professionals actually weigh their birds.  Make sure they are eating enough.  Groups of birds convert faster, because they see the other birds eating and want their share.  Single birds are much more stubborn about converting.  Go back to seeds if your bird absolutely refuses to eat pellets.

Step 5.  Add increasing amounts of pellets to the evening feeding.

If your bird will convert to pelleted foods,  you will have a happier, healthier bird.

Some bird keepers just start their birds on pellets cold turkey.  Don’t try this cold turkey approach on small birds like finches or canaries.  On a hunger strike, they burn out fast.

Parrots and macaws that have eaten seeds for decades can also be stubborn converts.  Most hookbills (keets and tiels, for instance) convert over fairly easily.  Since many of these little guys will eat from your hand, they’ll quickly learn to eat whatever you offer them.

Pellets or seeds?  Make a nutritious choice whichever you choose.  Many plain seed diets are sadly lacking in nutritional content.  Never use price as a yardstick to measure your bird food.  Saving 10 cents a week by feeding an inadequate diet could be a costly mistake – especially for your bird.  LA

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