Ask Lafeber


January 28, 2020

senior cockatiel

Hi Lafeber! My male grey cockatiel just turned 26 and I’m wondering if I should give him sunflower seeds to fatten him up this winter, or add anything else to his diet. His weight looks normal and he loves your tropical Nutra-berries and Fruit Delight Avi-cakes. He doesn’t seem to care very much for the Senior Nutri-berries, or the Pellet-berries. Very few fruits or vegetables barely interest him. He gets lots of exercise and whistles and chirps a lot! I want to keep him as happy and healthy as possible while in the declining years of his life. So is their anything else I should be feeding him along with his current diet? Thank You! Incidently, are you aware of any method or treatment to prevent moth larvae from forming in bird seed? I’m starting to catch male moths in the glue traps I’ve set out by his cage. Thank You for your pet products and all of the great humanitarian work you folks do for us domesticated bird owners!


Hi Joe,

Congratulations on having a healthy, happy senior bird! The grey cockatiels are the natural color as they occur in the wild and these guys can live a long time. I would not make any changes in his diet. He is already getting the nutrition he needs and adding a fatty food could cause liver issues. I would keep offering the senior bird food because it does have some added nutrients that can specifically address older bird issues. But don’t try to make him eat these because he can do well without them. Just keep offering some because he may change his mind if he keeps nibbling at them.

When you get your food each time, freeze it for a few days. You can even store it in the freezer and only take out what you need for about a week at a time. Never store in the refrigerator as the moisture level and temperature can actually cause mold or mildew to develop. The seed moths are unavoidable because the eggs tend to survive any type of processing other than freezing. The eggs are present in pretty much every grain  – in human and pet foods. They can also be in pet bedding like wood shavings. So freezing the bird food is best and keeping your pantry foods sealed in plastic or glass will contain anything that hatches and alert you to discard the food. They are completely harmless and for your bird, they actually add a protein source but they are a nuisance in the house if they get started up.

Regarding the glue traps, while they are not toxic they can really mess up you bird’s feathers should he ever accidentally make contact with one. The moths are attracted to water, so some shallow dishes filled with water and a few drops of dish soap will generally attract them and they drown. Of course, keep your little guy away from these, also, but should be accidentally land in some soapy water, it would not be as bad as getting into the glue since the water can be rinsed off easily.

Thank you for being such a great bird parent and I hope your little guy is with you for many more years to come.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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