Ask Lafeber


May 5, 2020

Cant crush food

Hi my 6 month old african grey cant break down his food.
We only got him 2 days ago and realised when he goes to his seeds he throws them everywhere and the one he gets just rolls round his beak, he cant break it down and then spits in out.

Last night he was very vocal and thought he may be hungry, with a little trust he allowed me to feed him some small peices of soft fresh fruit which he loved!
The small pieces of apple weren’t crushing and he was swallowing them whole.

Hope you can help



Hi Robert,

Did the breeder or previous owner tell you what he was used to eating? It’s always best to have some of the food they are used to, even if you are working to get them on a better or different food. He really doesn’t need to get used to eating loose seeds. These are generally not fresh enough to have many nutrients. You should be getting him to eat pellets and/or a foraging diet like our Avi-Cakes & Nutri-Berries. At the end I’ll post a link to our feeding guide.

Parrots don’t have to crush food to eat it. They will swallow fairly large pieces – it just has to be small enough to swallow. They will start with a larger piece of food and bite smaller pieces, which they push to the back of their throat with their tongue. A young bird like you have will often go into a feeding response and swallow food whole when you offer it by hand. After a bite or two off a piece of food, throwing the rest down is common. In the wild, this helps to replant the environment as well as feed ground dwellers. The more abundant food is, the more they toss away – or in the case of a captive bird, the more they waste. Throwing his food everywhere is normal, especially with seeds because he is looking for the one he wants. You will not have this problem with pellets or with a foraging food. You will have a lot of waste at first, because with a young bird who is just learning to eat, you need to offer a lot more food than he needs. Eventually, you will reduce the amounts you give him at a time so he doesn’t waste so much.

If you still feel there is a physical issue going on where he literally can’t bite down on the food, then you need to take him to an Avian Vet. It’s always good to take a new bird to an Avian Vet anyway, and this way you know if he is overall healthy.

Here is the link to the feeding guide:

Thank you for asking Lafeber,



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