Ask Lafeber


May 21, 2020

How much to feed

If you measure your parrot’s food precisely (e.g., in tablespoons), does it mean the bird has to eat 100% of the food not to starve?


Hi Daniela,

Precise measuring is generally not necessary unless it is in response to a health or behavioral issue. If you are measuring, then yes, the bird needs to eat everything to receive the intended nutrients. Parrots are smart eaters and will generally not overeat if their nutritional needs are met. In the wild, their feeding style will change as foods become more abundant or more scarce. In captivity, most bird food dishes are far too large to be filled up, but parrot owners tend to fill them up. In the wild when food is abundant, the parrot will eat a few select bites and discard the rest to the ground. This helps to re-seed the environment as well as feed ground dwelling creatures. And because they are eating their natural diet, their nutritional needs are met even if they don’t consume every bite of everything they forage. Most captive parrots are very wasteful because they are overfed. If not fed a nutritionally balanced diet, they tend to select what they like and that may not be the healthiest choice. Because of this, they are not getting enough nutrition so they keep eating to meet their needs. Again if they aren’t eating nutritious foods, they can become malnourished and overweight at the same time. Instead of measuring food, offer smaller amounts at at time. Once your bird has consumed everything, then he can have more. It is important for their mental well being that they always have food available. Pellets are a good food to keep in the cage all the time. It’s all the same so the parrot doesn’t pick through them, and meets his nutritional needs. But pellets also get boring. This is where foraging foods and fresh foods come in, and where the amounts you offer do matter. You don’t want to dilute their daily nutrition with too many treats, but you also don’t want to blast them with nutrients by giving them an entire apple versus one small piece. If feeding a nutritionally balanced foraging diet such as Nutri-Berries or Avi-Cakes, he should eat most of each cake or berry and not be given so many that he eats a few favorite bits and wastes the rest.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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