Avian veterinarians (bird specialist vets) recommend feeding parrot pellets as a base diet.
Melbourne avian veterinary clinics report that around 80% of health problems diagnosed in captive birds are a direct relation to seed exclusive diet.
Obese birds are often malnourished. Fat inhibits calcium absorption. Calcium defiant species such as conures are at risk of egg binding which can have fatal consequences.
Excess weight coupled with vitamin deficiencies contribute to the breakdown of feet. Once birds develop painful conditions such as arthritis and pressure sores they are very hard to treat as a parrots foot is in constant use, even in their sleep.
The majority of the seed’s nutritional value is depleted by the time it gets to your birds bowl.
It is now known that most commonly kept birds do well on a 5% – 10% fat diet. Oil seeds such as safflower and sunflower seeds can contain up to 10 times the fat that is required.
Fat is stored on the liver which not only causes fatty liver disease (FLD) but also sends some birds into a constant reproductive mode triggering; over-bonding, territorial aggression, masturbation and frequent regurgitation behaviours.
Pet birds are more receptive to fresh foods offered once on a base diet of pellets. Fresh food provides enrichment and enrichment is an important part of keeping a bet bird behaviourally sound.
Well-nourished animals have a better demeanour than depraved animals. They also have better ability to learn, this is well documented in human children.
Pellets contain an amino acid called lysine (also found in newly sprouted seeds). A study on chickens found that when lysine was withheld from their diet, they did not develop feathers. Birds on a sole seed diet will often have prolonged moults.
It is impossible to offer what your pet would eat in its natural environment and you would need a degree in nutrition to put together a meal of 5% fat, 20% protein, 35 vitamins and minerals etc… every morning.
Birds are not vegetarians! Some birds require more protein than a dog.
Seeds are not available all year round so it is impossible for wild birds to survive on a seed exclusive diet.
The seed that birds eat in the wild is newly sprouted; it is alive and full of protein. Once the seed dies and is harvested the protein morphs into fat. This is why bird breeders sprout seeds, to enhance protein levels.
We do not feed any other domestic animal a diet that is so deficient in nutrients that we need to supplement with vitamins.
Captive birds eat seed because we feed seed. Even fish have been fed on a formulated complete and balanced diet for years.
We have been feeding dogs and cats “formulated diets”, “pelleted diets”, “extruded diets” and “complete and balanced diets” since the late 1930’s. Not many people will argue that managing nutrition does not have a positive effect on the health of companion animals.
Seeds can be withheld for treats and rewarding good or desired behaviours (trick training) and used to encourage foraging. These fatty snacks gain value when they are not dished out daily.
Once adjusted, the bird consumes 100% of the pellet provided. Mixes such as the “wild bird seed mix” are full of fillers such as wheat and barley for bulk and corn and sorghum for a colourful appearance. Once the seeds that are favoured (the high calorie oil seeds) are hulled and eaten the remaining gains are wasted. Birds ingest a very small percentage of seed mixes.
Seed husks have to be cleared daily. Pellets can remain available to a bird until the bowl is empty, reducing the workload.
No husks or mess created by parrots sorting through seed mixes means minimal mess.
No discarded grain means fewer rodents and feral birds.
2kg of Vetafarm Maintenance Pellets can feed one Green Cheek Conure for up to 6 months. How long will a 2kg bag of seed last and how much mess and wastage is involved.
If you would like to talk to us about your bird’s diet & health
please contact us…
0467 409 765