Ask Lafeber


June 27, 2022

Pellet conversion

Hi! I got a new baby cockatiel from a breeder direct. The breeder believed in feeding seeds only, and I got her about 3 weeks after she weaned off of formula. She was initially stuck on just eating seeds, but I slowly managed to convert her. I also got her to easily eat Nutriberries. We’re at a point where she now eats the colorful pellets made from Zupreem. I read that it’s not ideal to have artificial coloring. But she won’t accept anything else. I tried many other brands, such as Kaytee, and your pellets. My goal is to get her to eat Lafeber pellets. She doesn’t like being handfed unless it’s a millet spray treat. Any suggestions?


Hi Shirley,

The good news for your girl is that Nutri-Berries are formulated as a complete diet, the same as pellets, but they are not ground up. So they can be fed instead of or along with pellets. Most Cockatiels prefer the Nutri-Berries because in the wild, they do eat seeds. There is nothing wrong with seeds, but the seeds in loose mixes are not fresh enough to retain their nutrients, and any added vitamins are lost when the bird removes the hulls. The seeds in our diets are fresh, human grade and the hulls have been removed. This allows them to absorb the nutritious binder we add, and is why they can eat these whole seeds and still get the same nutrition as a pelleted diet. Pellets are seeds and grains combined with added nutrients, ground up and made into a pellet. Nutri-Berries are the last step before grinding. So it’s OK for her to also eat pellets, but it’s also OK if she only eats the Nutri-Berries. We also recommend offering greens, veggies and some fruits as 20% of the daily diet. Spray millet should only be offered as an occasional treat, because they will pig out on it and it is basically empty calories. As for artificial colors, we do not use artificial ingredients and I personally would not feed my birds anything with artificial colors.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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