Eating Well: The Best Food for Your Pet Bird
What do I feed my pet bird? That’s a question we hear every day. The ideal avian diet is much more than birdseed and parrot pellets. Parrots, finches, canaries and other companion birds require a varied, nutritious diet, which can include seeds, but also pellets and fruits and vegetables. In order to feed pet birds properly — which gives them the building blocks for feather production, healthy skin and a happy attitude — they should have a buffet of healthy options. But how can you become the best “bird feeder” possible in the fastest amount of time? Feeding birds becomes easy with Lafeber bird foods.
The Base Diet for Birds: Food That Is Balanced
In the wild, birds eat a vast variety of foods: seeds, nuts, grasses, flowers, fruits, insects, the list goes on. The change in seasons brings new types of foods, and birds nourish themselves on what’s available. At home, your bird also nourishes himself on what’s available, so it should ideally be the most balanced, natural and whole food possible. A bird’s diet is critical to his health. A bird on a poor diet will not live out his full life span, and will most likely succumb to any number of viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. A good diet boosts the immune system and helps the bird ward off illness. Not only that, a good diet keeps a bird in good spirits, keeps his feathers in great condition, and improves his life overall.
The “base” diet is the primary item that you feed your bird on a daily basis; everything else you feed is an addition to the diet, or may even be considered a “snack.” Ideally, the base diet should be as nutritionally sound as possible because it is what your bird is eating the most. Lafeber products are the ideal base diet because they are formulated to be nutritionally balanced. Every bite your bird takes offers building blocks for all of the systems of the body. They are also fun for your bird to eat and are packed with a wide variety of healthy, nutritious, non-GMO ingredients, most of which your bird would search out in the wild.
The base diet — whether it’s Nutri-Berries, Avi-Cakes, Pellet-Berries or Premium Daily Diet Pellets, or a combination of these — should be offered in the morning when the bird is hungriest. If the bowl is empty later in the evening, you can add more. Don’t allow your bird’s bowl to be empty for too long. Small birds, especially, have a very fast metabolism and most choose to eat all day long.
Bird Seeds & Bird Pellets
Many new bird owners become confused about what they should feed their birds. Bird seeds? Bird pellets? There are so many options and so many opinions. Both seeds and pellets are nutritious foods, and one is not necessarily superior to the other, depending on what else you’re feeding your bird in conjunction with it. Lafeber has solved the seed/pellet debate by including both in many of its products, making the decision easy for you and your bird. Not only that, Lafeber has also included nutritious fruits and vegetables in the same foods, making them even more delicious and healthy. Lafeber also adds essential Omega fatty acids and enriches its diets with vitamins and minerals. Each bite your bird takes is packed with healthful, non-GMO ingredients. Lafeber diets also encourage foraging behavior, which is so important to the mental health of parrots and other companion birds.
- Gourmet Nutri-Berries
- Classic Nutri-Berries
- Pellet Berries
- Premium Daily Diet Pellets
- Popcorn Nutri-Berrie Treats
- Nutri-Start Hand feeding formula for Baby Birds
- Avi-Era Vitamins
Fruits & Veggies: Great Snack for Parrots, Finches & Canaries
Fruits and veggies make great daily snacks, especially the more nutritious fruits and veggies, such as those that are dark green or orange in color. Try various fresh foods to see what your bird likes the best. If you have a picky pet bird, offer fresh foods in a variety of ways: chopped, mashed, whole, grated, and so on. Don’t give up too soon on feeding a certain nutritious item; it may take a while for your bird to get curious enough to try it.
When you feed fresh foods, make sure that they only stay available to the bird for a few hours. After that, many fruits and veggies start to go sour or attract pests. Here’s a short list of some nutritious fruits and veggies you can try. Make sure to rinse everything very well before serving them to your pet bird, and use organic produce whenever possible.
- cherries – no pit
- beans (cooked only) – chickpeas, kidney, lentils, lima, mung, navy, soy
- brussel sprouts
- bok choy
- leafy greens
- peppers – red/green & hot
- romaine lettuce
- sweet potato/yam
- avocados – toxic
- celery – lacks nutrition
- iceberg lettuce – lacks nutrition
Supplements to Your Bird’s Diet
Avian veterinarians often recommend dietary supplementation for “seed junkies,” those birds that refuse to touch anything other than seeds. If your bird is eating Lafeber products, you have much less to worry about, because these diets are nutritionally complete. Still, you may have a bird that is molting, laying eggs, or recuperating from an illness or injury, or perhaps your bird is stressed from a recent move, loss of a mate or other stressful situation. In these cases, you should consider a dietary supplement to keep your bird in tip-top shape.
Also, just as you may sometimes take vitamins, it’s often good for a bird to have a vitamin and mineral supplement just to make sure that he is getting the nutritional elements he needs to remain healthy. Speak with your avian veterinarian about dietary supplementation before you start giving them to your pet bird. You can harm your bird by over-supplementing, but it can’t hurt to offer a supplement a couple of days a week. If you add a powdered supplement to the water, change the water at least twice a day, and offer only fresh water (without the supplement) at night to ensure that bacteria doesn’t grow in the dish.
Cooking For Your Bird
Birds love a home-cooked meal as much as us! Cooking nutritious meals is so easy. If you can crack an egg, you can make a delicious bird recipe. These recipes, all of which include Lafeber bird foods, are also great for weaning chicks and molting birds. Here are three dishes to try:
Bird recipes don’t get easier than this! First, buy a box of ready-made cornbread mix. Follow the directions on the package. Before you are ready to pour it into the baking pan (or muffin pan) add two cups of Nutri-Berries, then bake. You may have to bake it for a little longer than the package allows. Your bird will have a blast picking the Nutri-Berries out of the muffins! Cool before serving. Cut into squares and freeze, and then defrost when needed.
Pan (Avi) Cakes
This one is super easy, too. Buy a packet of ready-mixed pancake batter. If you can get whole-wheat pancake mix, even better. Make mix as directed on the box. Just before pouring the mix onto a heated griddle, break up some Avi-Cakes into it and then make your pancakes. Serve warm, not hot.
Healthy Snacks For Your Pet Bird
Along with your bird’s base diet and other healthful foods, it’s great to offer nutritious snacks, but most importantly, snacks should be fun to eat, like Popcorn Nutri-Berrie Treats. Ideally, you’ll offer snacks formulated for birds rather than salty, fatty, or sugary treats that might be in your cupboard. Snacks should make up no more than 10% of your bird’s diet during the week. Healthy snacks can also include rice cakes, whole-wheat bread, no-salt added whole-wheat crackers, but in moderation.