Diet & Nutrition
Food and feeding is a huge category and one that can be rather 'super charged' when it comes to debating who is right and who is not. In this section we will try to provide links and information we have gathered over time with the hope that you will read and study the 'how to' of feeding parrots to design your own feeding plan.
There are many self-proclaimed experts out there when it comes to feeding practices. Let me say straight out that we are not claiming to be experts, but we will give you information on what we feed. We have done research and have our own opinions on the best choices but in the end it is up to the bird owner to decide.
The plan for your bird is up to you but here are some things to consider when developing your bird’s diet plan…
Birds are not human so just because you eat it doesn’t mean they should. Some human foods are actually toxic for parrots; before you feed it, check to make sure it is safe.
Birds in the wild need a lot more energy than a bird living in a home. Pet birds do not have to fly and forage for food, they don’t expend a great deal of energy trying to regulate temperature (unless they're plucked), find water, flee from predators, find a safe roost, mate and rear young, or deal with ‘flock dynamics.’ We have seen improvement in behavior and reduced aggression when the diet is properly balanced and the birds are healthier as shown in their regular blood test results.
Not all parrot species have the same dietary requirements, so research your species’ needs when developing your diet plan. For example, Eclectus have a unique digestive tract so they extract more nutrition out of low nutrition foods. For this species, vitamin-fortified diets can create issues. Hyacinths need a higher-fat diet, but those fats should not come from fatty human foods. The better choice for this species would be tree nuts.
You cannot tell from outward appearances if your parrot is healthy. Some very healthy appearing birds have died from fatty liver disease, renal failure, atherosclerosis, and cancer. The only way you will know if you're dealing with any of these conditions is to see a certified Avian Veterinarian.
Whatever choices you make, make sure you start with a visit to an Avian Veterinarian. Get blood tests and X-rays for a baseline understanding of the true health of your bird. Regular testing (yearly) will give you the information needed to make dietary adjustments.