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Question:

July 13, 2021

What do I do if my cockatiel doesn’t eat fresh fruit and vegetables?


My cockatiel is now 1 year old. She eats Lafeber parakeet pellets, as well as Nutriberries. She also eats some occasional seeds, nuts, and millet spray as treats. Her favorite by far are the pellets. I read and was advised by the veterinarian that my cockatiel should also eat fresh fruits and vegetables. I made CHOP and also tried giving her a fresh corn on the cob, but the problem is, my cockatiel hates mushy things and refuses to touch them, even when I try hand feeding them. She likes to eat food that are dry and not food that contain water. Even the corn on the cob, which my budgie loves to eat. For her regular diet, she only eats hard pellets and Nutriberries (and oats) and drinks a lot of water after. When I tried giving her freeze dried fruit, she ate those, but only after I hand feed them. Is it a problem that she refuses to eat fresh fruits and vegetables that she deems mushy? Should we be concerned? My baby cockatiel weaned relatively late as it took her 3 months to move to a pelleted diet, and the Lafeber pellets were one of the first foods she ate.


Answer:

Hi Shirley,

As far as nutrition goes, she is getting what she needs from the pellets and Nutri-Berries. While a small amount of spray millet is OK as an occasional treat, she really doesn’t need any other seeds besides what she gets in the Nutri-Berries. It doesn’t take many seeds to dilute the nutrition she is getting from the other foods. The seeds in the Nutri-Berries are hulled, so they absorb the added nutrients versus loose seeds that are not hulled and do not offer much in the way of nutrition. So for a treat, try crumbling some Nutri-Berries and offering the seeds from those rather than loose seeds.

As for the fruits and veggies, Cockatiels are not much for eating fruit. But many will learn to enjoy dark leafy greens and veggies. If she doesn’t want mushy foods, try raw, harder veggies like carrots, broccoli florets, green beans and other raw veggies. Ideally she will eventually eat these foods, but if she doesn’t, she is still getting what she needs from the pellets and Nutri-Berries. The fresh foods are somewhat about nutrition, but also to offer different tastes and textures that are a more natural diet for a bird. But truly, most cockatiels probably never eat fresh foods, and they still live long, healthy lives as long as they are on a pelleted diet or a diet like Nutri-Berries. Keep offering different fresh foods in different ways – raw, cooked, steamed, grated, riced, chopped, large chunks. You might hit on what she likes. We recently presented a webinar about picky parrots and how to entice them to eat better. I’ll give you the link below.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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