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Parrotlet Diet Discuss the diets of parrotlets here. Recipes can go here too.

pellets vs seed, discussion among vets

message board convo about pellets

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Old 10-03-2007, 08:28 PM   #1
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pellets vs seed, discussion among vets

I'm utilizing a website database (www.vin.com) I was given access to through my vet. I was told not to post, but I could research all I want. I found this conversation on the message boards talking about p'lets and a pellet diet.

It's kind of interesting. Ive deleted all the names and contacts so i don't get my friend in trouble.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

i have been told that Parrotlet mutations (blues,yellows,whites) must be fed a seed diet ,as they are not able to process a protein diet. Would appreciate any feed back.
Thanks
(deleted)


(deleted) on 05/02/2005 1:44:54 pm ET
Those parrotlet breeders are an interesting bunch and this is total crap. Where pray tell are they thinking protein for biological function, feathers and eggs is coming from when they give out such bad advice?
Protein deficiencies are only one of the many items you get with a seed diet.
In the west the breeders always seem to tell their "customers" to tell the veterinarian to run a Zn test when in fact they should be working more closely with their own veterinarian to address the very common Avian Gastric Yeast problem that will kill (post-purchase) if undetected in a timely manner.
--
(deleted) DVM, DABVP-Avian
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California Avian Lab



(deleted) on 05/04/2005 12:26:11 pm ET
There IS that renal tubular nephrosis that can be seen in mutation parrotlets, as is seen in cockatiels. This concern, however, does not justify a recommendation to avoid all formulated diets in all parrotlets.
In reality, however, that syndrome probably has NOTHING to do with protein - that, as Alan mentioned, is more urban legend, not fact.
And the zinc thing - was merely another internet amplification of fear of zinc, based on incorrect application and interpretation of blood testing of these birds - then applying it inappropriatelly to ALL parrotlets out of context of any base of common sense or reality.

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Old 10-03-2007, 08:40 PM   #2
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(Deleted) on 10/24/2002 11:47:57 am ET
I have a client that has a new parrotlet, and 4 month old male.
He appears very healthy on a physical exam, stools negative, gram stain normal. I convinced the owner that we need to change the diet from seed to pellets, which she was able to do very easily, except now she's talked to the breeder again, who has stated quite emphatically that they need a high fat diet which only a seed diet can provide. Of course she can not produce any medical research to back this up, and of course, as I'm only a vet, it's up to me to disprove the worthiness of her claim - am I venting here?????
Your imput would be greatly appreciated.
Thanx,
(Deleted), B.V.Sc.



(Deleted)on 10/24/2002 1:04:14 pm ET
Craig- 2nd opinion from breeders are nothing new since the beginning of veterinary medicine. Many psittacines have a higher fat diet in the wild but the breeder is ignorant about basic nutritition. The seed diet provides way too much fat for captive cage bird, no essential amino acids, no Ca, no Zinc (yes Zn is a trace nutritient), no Vit A, no Vit K, No Vit D3 etc. And IME over the years, "vitamin enriched seed" doesn't deliver.
I've experienced parrotlet owners whose breeder insisted on a zinc assay (we have to carefully chose our blood tests in such a small patient) when in fact the problem from this breeder continues to be avian gastric yeast.
Tell the owner that we have learned much over the years on why birds die prematurely and malnutrition is a leading contributing etiology.
Attached is one image from a powerpoint presentation for clients; a 5 yr female tiel submitted for necropsy to my lab- histo dx hepatic lipidosis.
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(Deleted) DVM, DABVP-Avian
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(Deleted) on 10/24/2002 1:05:24 pm ET
another try
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(Deleted) on 10/24/2002 1:25:02 pm ET
(Deleted),
Just to add to what Alan already eloquently wrote, here is exactly what we do know that seed diets are deficient in:
EXCESSIVE FAT, DEFICIENT PROTEIN, DEFICIENT IN 22 VITAMINS AND MINERALS
Vits: A, D, E, K, B2, B12, pantothenic acid, niacin, biotin, choline
Minerals: Ca, I, Fe, Cu, Mn, Se, Na, Zn
Amino acids: lys, met, trp, arg
Hopefully this will supply you with enough information to convince your client to trust you and not the breeder. Good luck.
(Deleted)

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Resident - Special Species Medicine
University of (Deleted)

(Deleted) on 10/24/2002 1:28:26 pm ET
Parrotlets DO need quite a bit of energy, if they lead an active pet lifestyle out of their cages often and sharing their lives with their owners. In my experience here, the reality of what seems to suit the species best,in this type of setting, is a mixture of seed / pellets / veggies. The diet can vary from one extreme to the other on a day-to day basis. All of one or the other, realistically, can be potentially harmful.
So: I would agree, somewhat with the breeder's thoughts about the need for energy that may not necessarily be always provided by an exclusively pellet diet. However, the excess of the same in the generic seed can be equally problematic. I'd also agree with your recommendation to broaden the dietary horizon of the patient before you properly as you have done.
What is best for the patient? The answer of this question comes from those annual examinations, where you and your client balance and maintain optimal health through altered diet,management, and laboratory screening as you both see is fit. Emphasize this reality to your client,explain the reasons why there are strong opinions on either side of the fence, and point out the reason why they are so strong. Also, point out that neither of those strong opinions are based on an annual examination, fine-tuned preventative health program - which is the most logical form of medicine - - in my opinion. (Deleted), DVM
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:05 PM   #3
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Not Parrotlet, but quaker... still good info

(delete)on 02/08/2005 10:32:41 am ET
I have an owner with a quaker parrot and she feeds almost 100% table food (mostly vegetables). She has tried adding pellets to the diet but the bird won't eat them readily. She has sent me a list of the foods that she is feeding and is wondering if adequate or if additional vitamins, food sources should be added.
a.m.: 1/8-1/4 cup hulled oat + 1 tsp seed mix (no sunflower seeds). She adds some pellets but bird usually tosses out of cage. Mix of 1 tblspn 8 bean mixture (adjuki,lima,black,mung,lima,lentils,garbanzo,kidn ey), 1 tsp steamed coucous/quinoa/brown rice mixture, sometimes 1 tsp boiled egg (but not good about eating it), broccoli, romaine, birdie bread with Harrison's pellets baked in (unsure how much pellets he actually consumes).
lunch: Some kale, 1 tsp carrots, broccoli slaw mix, steamed sweet potato, tomatoes, maybe tsp cottage cheese of nonfat yogurt, zucchini, or summer squash, cabbage, birdie bread, and maybe some of the bean mix or what ever was a big success in the am.
supper: perhaps some spring mix greens, corn, radish, part of dried fig, and any combo of the above foods.
Treats: Nutriberries, Avicakes, plain popped corn, piece of 7 grain bread crush plain or with peanut butter.
Wondered also how often hemp seed should be feed as her birds love it but doesn't want to give too much. Thank you for any information.
K.
(delete) on 02/08/2005 10:56:10 am ET
>>>100% table food <<<
think "table scraps" and the dog- table food based diet is inherently imbalanced
>>> a.m.: 1/8-1/4 cup hulled oat + 1 tsp seed mix (no sunflower seeds). She adds some pellets but bird usually tosses out of cage. Mix of 1 tblspn 8 bean mixture <<<
Virtually all carbos, a little essential AAs and NO other important nutrients
>>> 1 tsp boiled egg (but not good about eating it), broccoli, romaine, birdie bread with Harrison's pellets baked in (unsure how much pellets he actually consumes) <<<
let me bet that the "birdie bread is a big item consumed- more carbo
>>> Some kale, 1 tsp carrots, broccoli slaw mix, steamed sweet potato, tomatoes, maybe tsp cottage cheese of nonfat yogurt, zucchini, or summer squash, cabbage, birdie bread, and maybe some of the bean mix or what ever was a big success in the am.
supper: perhaps some spring mix greens, corn, radish, part of dried fig, and any combo of the above foods.<<<
likely that bird is eating mostly the starchy stuff here also
>>> Nutriberries, Avicakes, plain popped corn, piece of 7 grain bread crush plain or with peanut butter.
<<<
More fat and carbo. I have always been underwhelmed with outcomes of avicake/nutriberry predominant diet- the rest on the line is no help either.
This client obviously has a lot of free time. With your guidance to convert to mostly HBD and make all this other stuff be less than 20% of calories consumed, the bird will be much better off in the long run.
If you did a site visit and careful interview I bet that the actual consumption would be much less impressive.
Lipidosis is quite common in this species as seen through my lab (this species is illeagal in CA- so we don't see many)
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(delete) on 02/09/2005 3:52:17 pm ET
For me, working with the caretaker and their abilities and desires, and the animal’s abilities and habits, makes the whole process work better. Instead of trying to get the bird onto a straight pellet diet, work with the owner’s plan. Certainly, Quakers can thrive on appropriate home prepared diet, and maybe it would work better for this caretaker?
Quaker parrots are, by nature, major seed and grain eaters. Last week I saw a 27 year old Quaker that has never eaten anything but seed. That is not my favorite diet, but, seeds are fine for these birds, just the correct amount.
I don’t see a lot of fat in the diet, so that is probably not a problem. There are probably a bit too many carbohydrates and not enough protein. BUT, none of this is clear because the bird is far too small to be eating everything they say he/she is eating. There is just too much in the mix to know what is really being eaten.
Maybe get her to feed some seeds, including some (not a lot) of high fat seeds such as sunnies or safflower… these are also higher protein seeds. Have the owner feed the veggie mix once a day and only a teaspoon at a feeding. The bird bread is not helpful. Feed the bean mix only once or so a week. A bird of this size needs only a very small amount of Avicakes, not even one square. Then a few HBD pellets to round out the edges and to allow the caretaker to feel like the bird is not going to starve. Have her feed twice daily instead of three times daily, and have her feed a nutritious treat at lunch, since she wants too feed something at lunch anyway (e.g. a slice of apple?).
In total, what is being fed is so vastly more than the bird can eat, that we have no idea what the bird is eating, and thus no idea if the bird is on a high fat diet, low fat diet, high carbohydrate diet, low protein diet, or high protein diet. This bird may actually be on a great diet… but who would know? Talk to the caretaker about how much a small bird really needs and how important it is to have periods of time throughout the day when the bird is fasting… fasting means detoxification which means over all improved health.


(delete)on 02/09/2005 6:52:58 pm ET

I have to disagree with some of the things you've written here. :-)
>>> Quaker parrots are, by nature, major seed and grain eaters. <<<
No bird is, by nature, a major seed or grain eater. They might prefer seed and grain, but it is not a natural diet. That is like saying that man, by nature, is a major McDonald's and Coca Cola eater. Seed & grain (like McDonald's) is a high fat food, and therefore eaten preferably as an energy source. Wild parrots, not given access to man-made crops, consume a wide variety of foods. Ripened, high fat seeds are NOT a normal part of their life.
>>> Last week I saw a 27 year old Quaker that has never eaten anything but seed. <<<
And I met a 92 year old ex-soldier who drank 2-3 bottles of sherry a week. Just because it doesn't kill you doesn't mean it's good for you! :-)
>>> seeds are fine for these birds, just the correct amount <<<
If they don't kill them...
>>> Maybe get her to feed some seeds, including some (not a lot) of high fat seeds such as sunnies or safflower… these are also higher protein seeds. <<<
50% fat is a little too much fat, especially when in isolation. And although the protein is a little higher, the amino acid make up is inappropriate for birds when fed as a sole diet. So while some seeds are OK (they are a good source of Vit E), they can easily become a problem when the bird eats them preferentially to other foods. I think we agree that seed can be included in a healthy diet, but in small amounts only. I strongly disagree with the >>> major seed and grain eaters <<< comment.
I agree with feeding twice daily, but the fasting thing I can't come at. Birds' higher metabolic rate (other than some raptors) demands a constant intake of food. Parrots utilise their crop for this reason - they fill it up in the morning, and then 'trickle feed' it into the proventriculus during the middle of the day. They then repeat this in the afternoon. Feeding twice daily replicates this normal behviour. They are NOT fasting. Finches & other birds lacking a crop, on the other hand, must feed continuously through the day because of their inability to 'trickle feed'.
I think people food can be utilised to successfully feed a bird. My personal recommendation is to feed 60% good quality formulated diet, and 40% vegetables. Some specis like fruit, some seem to need it. But they don't get much - no more than 5%.
As to quantities fed, I agree with you totally.
(delete)BVSc FACVSc (Avian Health)


(delete) on 02/09/2005 8:47:23 pm ET
From Juniper and Parr:
The Monk parakeet includes a wide range of wild and cultivated seeds, fruits and vegetable matter including grass seeds and grain, cactus stems, root vegetables and tree fruits, sometimes also insects and their larvae.
This species feeds in trees and on the ground, in flocks of same species or mixed flocks of other birds such as pigeons and/or cowbirds.

(delete), DVM
Diplomate, ABVP, ECAMS
Certified in avian practice

(delete) on 02/11/2005 8:20:17 pm ET

It seems likely that there is less difference in our opinions that one might think.
What do you mean by "major seed eater" vs. what I mean, for example? I roughly rank psittacine birds, by species, as predominantly seed eaters, major seed eaters, minor seed eaters, occasional and non-seed eating. That helps me decide what to recommend how a bird is fed. I think that this bird is a major seed and grain eater, no different than a red-winged black bird in our area. I have done post mortem exams on approximately 40 red-wing blackbirds over the years (various times of the season) and they have seeds and grains in their GI system predominately. Yes, there are other things eaten, but 75% of their diet is seeds and grains. I think Quaker parrots likely consume 75% seed and grains in a natural situation. This is, of course, a guess, but a workable premise none the less.
At the same time, I understand and agree with Brian's comment on what this bird eats and what you said about high fat seeds. It has been a while, but the last time I evaluated the nutritional content of a sunflower seed, it had 8 times the protein content of a millet seed; thus the comment that they are higher in protein. I like to feed sunnies since they are a good source of fat and protein, but not too many in a day… perhaps 6 for a Quaker each day.
Since HBD pellets are predominately seeds and grains (measered as a percent make-up of the caloric intake), and since I believe you like feeding HBD diets to birds, I don't see any major difference between us .
Moving on to the fasting concept, again, looking at the large number of wild birds I have necropsied (yes, many of them were sick, and thus unable to feed), I am certain that birds that have crops do NOT keep them full all the time. I think a crop does produce a trickle feeding, but is more designed to allow a bird to eat a lot quickly and then return to the safety of the tree and process the food. Birds do fast between meals and then hunger develops. Hunger does not develop when the crop is first empty. Now at the same time, I agree that this “fast” is only relative as compared to many mammals.
But, I don't talk about fasting with the intent of getting people to fast birds; I only mention it as an analogy that people can use to understand that the bird does not need an eternally full seed cup. I give them a reason to allow themselves to feed birds in a way that encourages the bird to eat variety. And I do recommend that they have some food (foods that are not highly palatable to the individual bird in question, yet nutritious… say HBD pellets) item available most all the time. However, I believe birds do not need a constant intake of food due to their metabolism. Perhaps we are going to have to differ on this, since I believe this thinking makes for obese birds.
I think the biggest difference is that I don’t feed 60% pellets. I believe strongly in the concept that unprocessed foods or minimally processed foods are best and that the pellets make up a minimal part of the diet. This does place more responsibility on the caretaker and on my invested time in keeping the diet balanced… but a client like the one we are discussing us not likely to feed your way anyway (which is fine as well, of course). Instead it is more likely that you can moderate what they are doing, which was my main point. Instead of saying they have too much time on their hands, I think it is more effective to praise their efforts and guide them into the right direction. My emphasis with clients is more towards fresh foods and less towards commercial diets.
Good discussion, Bob, and thanks for the thoughtful points!


(delete)on 02/12/2005 2:22:03 am ET

A good reply, with some excellent points. I don't recommend or use HBD here, because of the high price and limited life when exported to Australia. I agree that pellets are made from grain - but the fat content is markedly reduced compared to the original seed, and there are other ingredients. But I take your point.
I agree that fresh is best, and I don't believe that pellets - of any brand - are an ideal, stand-alone, food. But, the reality is that for many of my clients, feeding the bird is one of many tasks that have to be done before heading off to work or school. They want/need something simple and easy to prepare, and pellets offer that - and are far healthier than the bags of seed sold in petshops and supermarkets. I would rather they fed a formulated diet than a seed diet.
When I do see that rare client that is prepared to put the time and effort into preparing a daily diet for their bird, my discussion runs along the same lines as yours. Maybe a few less seeds! :-)
I live in a parrot-rich environment - I have wild galahs, cockatoos, red-rumps, rosellas and lorikeets in my back yard every day. They're not eating grain (none around)... :-)There is a big difference between seeding plants and ripened seeds in a bag.
You could, I suppose, classify parrots as seed-eaters. I suppose our difference of opinion might actually be along the lines of "what is a seed?"
My emphasis is that the ripened, high fat, low protein, low vitamin & mineral seeds that are sold as "bird food" is not a healthy diet, and we need to educate our clients that seed is NOT a natural food for these birds. In Australia, we've had parrots for millions of years. We've only had agricultural grains & seed for 217 years.
>>> It seems likely that there is less difference in our opinions that one might think. <<<
I think you're right - we might have to tighten up our definitions!
All the best!
(delete)BVSc FACVSc (Avian Health)



(delete)on 02/12/2005 11:10:41 am ET
>>> the last time I evaluated the nutritional content of a sunflower seed, it had 8 times the protein content of a millet seed; thus the comment that they are higher in protein. I like to feed sunnies since they are a good source of fat and protein, but not too many in a day… perhaps 6 for a Quaker each day. <<<
From The Large Macaws: Sunflower seed has 22.7% protein, 18.7% carbohydrate, 49.5% fat by analysis. Unfortunately, the TYPE of sunflower seed analyzed was not commented on. But, from my perspective, I would expect that this is the oil seed, not the meat seed, which has about 20% fat content from my recollection.
Not all sunflower seeds are created equal...
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:11 PM   #4
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Parrot Nutrition


From The Pet Care Forum: J. BeauSoleil

Ask a non-bird person to describe a parrot's diet and they will invariably say 'seeds,' as this is what is commonly seen lining pet store shelves and offered in bird dishes. Feeding seed and nuts to pet store birds is done mainly for an aesthetic and tidy appearance to the viewing public, and is easily fed, which reduces amount of work by staff. The "uninformed" buyer mistakenly believes this is the standard diet of pet parrots, and is often sent on their way with new bird, cage, toys, bottle of vitamins, and a variety of seeds, with very few (if any) other instructions. Although a parrot can be sustained for a time on this marginal seed diet, eventually deficiencies will occur along with health problems and shortened lifespan.
Early studies found parrots which fared best in health and longevity were those that ate a variety of foods, often dining with their owners at mealtimes. Their plumage was much better, activity level higher, with fewer health problems than their seed-eating cousins.
VITAMIN DEFICIENCIES
Vitamin A is the most common deficiency seen in pet parrots, particularly those on seed-based, marginal diets. Vitamin A is necessary to boost the immune system and protect against bacterial infections. Birds deficient in Vitamin A do not have the protective mucous lining their complex sinus, respiratory, reproductive and digestive system, which allows harmful bacteria to penetrate the tissues causing secondary infections. An immune-suppressed, deficient bird does not have the ability to fight off these invasive pathogens.
Since the upper respiratory system and sinus cavity are most frequently affected, white plaques can often be seen on roof of mouth or base of tongue. These plaques can form abscesses, which affect the bird's ability to breathe and swallow and may advance to other organs of the body if left untreated,and ultimately cause death.

Symptoms of bacterial infections include sneezing, labored breathing with wheezing sound, nasal discharge and crustiness, swelling around cere and eyes, slimy mouth, lethargy, poor appetite, diarrhea, weight drop, usually accompanied with foul smelling breath, sometimes described as a pungent garlic smell. There are many gram negative (occasional positive) bacterial infections, so the only reliable way to determine which kind of bacterium are present and what antibiotics will effectively treat the infection, is to have a culture and sensitivity (Cand S) test done. The choanae (throat) and cloaca (vent) are swabbed with Q-tips, which are sent to the lab where aculture is grown in medium to determine which bacterium are present. Once it is determined what type of pathogens are present, sensitivity tests are run to find out which antibiotics will effectively kill the organisms. Cultures and sensitivity tests are usually run in conjunction with a CBC (complete blood count) to get a baseline for overall infection.
VITAMIN ADDITIVES
Vitamins come in powder and liquid form. Powdered vitamins are sometimes added to seed but are of little value since the powder falls to the bottom of the bowl, uneaten. Also the few vitamins which may adhere to the seeds are not ingested since parrots shell (husk) their seeds, eating only the inner portions.
Water-soluble vitamins create a medium for bacterial growth if drinking water is not frequently changed throughout the day. Also a bird will often refuse to drink water containing additives, so even though available, the vitamins aren't doing any good if not consumed. Vitamins cannot be accurately administered unless mixed in with moist foods, with careful attention to exact amounts so as to not over- or under-supplement in conjunction with other foods available in the diet. Vitamins are not needed and should not be given if majority of diet consists of highly fortified bird pellets.
FOODS HIGH IN VITAMIN A
Fresh veggies need to be included as portion of overall daily diet, so choose those which are high in Vitamin A such as dark leafy greens such as broccoli, spinach (limited amounts), kale, dandelion greens (untreated); as well as the orange carotene veggies such as carrots and yams. Other food sources high in Vitamin A are fresh or dried chili peppers and egg yolk.
Fruits are highly favored by birds and may be eaten to the exclusion of all other foods and can dilute nutrients they need. They should be limited to occasional treats of papaya, mango and cantaloupe (all of which are high in Vitamin A). As far as I know, there is no nutritional requirement for other types of fruits, including citrus. Sometimes cod liver oil is mixed to seed for added Vitamin A but can quickly turn rancid and kill the bird, so is not recommended.
FOODS THAT ARE NO-NOS
Pet birds can eat most foods that we ourselves enjoy. However there are some, because of toxic properties or enzymes that cannot be fed to birds. First on the list and known killers are chocolate and avocado. Chocolate contains active ingredients of theophylline and caffeine and can cause hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and cardiac arrest (death) even if given in small amounts.
Avocado is said to contain enzymes which are not tolerated by birds' digestive systems. Some claim the outer portion of the avocado meat is okay, but the portion closest to the seed is deadly to birds. Not knowing where this fine line is drawn, it's best to NOT take any risks.
Also because of intolerance of enzymes and acids, raw pineapple and raw tomatoes are not recommended. Although not known to be deadly, they may in fact upset the bird's inability to properly digest these foods. Dried pineapple is available in many parrot mixes and considered safe, as is cooked tomato used in pasta sauces.
Other foods that should be limited or eliminated from the parrot's diet are foods that contain sugar, salt, oils, or caffeine. Birds also have the inability to properly digest lactose in dairy products with exception of yogurt and hard cheese, which are good food choices in limited amounts.
Nuts, highly favored by birds, contain a lot of fat and should be limited to occasional treats. Almonds are said to contain less fat and provide added calcium to the diet and are the recommended choice.
PELLETS
With avian nutrition in its infancy during the mid-to-late 1980s, some manufacturers started combining dry food ingredients, along with vitamins and minerals, pressed into pellet form. This revolutionalized food form would provide most or all of the parrot's daily dietary requirements, make it easy for owner to feed, and keep the area tidy.
However, unlike other animals which select foods by smell, parrots select foods visually. These unfamiliar-looking pellets were quickly rejected by birds that were accustomed to eating seed and nuts. Gradual conversion is time-consuming but necessary to provide the best optimum diet for the pet bird. The most effective conversion method is to remove seed first thing in morning, replace with pellets for several hours, then return seed later in the afternoon.
Nowadays there are many types of pellets available; some which contain no preservatives, are quite expensive and must be refrigerated; others are more reasonably priced and come in fruit flavor and shapes which visually appeal to the parrot. Sometimes it takes experimenting with several different types to find the one (or more) that the parrot will actually eat. All parrot pellets are scientifically formulated to meet the birds' daily requirements, so the object is to find which ones the bird will actually eat.
Many breeders nowadays start their weaning babies out on pellets so conversion is not necessary. Quite by accident several years ago I found grinding pellets in the blender into a powder form was quickly devoured by weaning cockatiel babies. When these babies were turned lose into the flights with resting breeders, the breeders too ate the ground pellets with the same enthusiasm as their chicks.
The amazons had been converted to pellets many years ago, but they would pick their favorite color (or shape) to eat and discard the rest. Or they would bite down on a pellet and most would go flying out of the cage onto the floor. Desiring to cut down on the waste, I started feeding the ground pellets to the amazons, and surprisingly they eat them much more readily than when in whole form. The ground pellets can also be added to birdie bread (cornbread), scrambled eggs, cooked dried beans or brown rice for variety and optimum nutrition.

Typically for my Amazons, I feed approximately:
25 percent pellets
25 percent orange and leafy green veggies
25 percent cooked dried beans, brown rice, scrambled egg
15 percent quality seed bread
10 percent nuts (almonds), spray millet, pinenuts or safflower
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Old 10-03-2007, 10:23 PM   #5
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It is fantastic to see the opinions of well informed avian professionals on this site!! There is so much unfounded chatter online, and I have been very concerned myself about feeding my yellow parrotlet a pellet diet. After consulting my own avian vet, and reading this discussion, I feel much better about my decision to feed a pellet diet.
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:14 PM   #6
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Catfish ... thanks for some great information...great read!
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:14 PM   #7
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You go Catfish.Now that is interesting information. I scanned it fast does it mention anywhere HOW to get B'Jo to eat the GOOD stuff?????*L*
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:15 PM   #8
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See, this makes you feel better, but it causes me more headache.... I've been an advocate of varied diets and seed w/o pellets for the most part.

I'm just not sure right now which I should do. I see the information. I preach the information for other birds. Now I have a game of Russian Roulette I can play, which could potentially risk Hpnotiq's life.

One hand we have a seed based diet which may cause fatty liver disease... on the other hand we may face kidney disease if we feed pellet. The onlly sure thing is a varried diet supplemented with another food source.

So the question circles back to "Pellets better? Seeds better? Both? Pellet>Seed? Seed>Pellet?" HEADACHE
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memmey View Post
You go Catfish.Now that is interesting information. I scanned it fast does it mention anywhere HOW to get B'Jo to eat the GOOD stuff?????*L*

On diet: Ideally, this bird should be transitioned to a purely pellet and veggie diet. It takes a bit of work on the owner's part. We recommend spending 10 minutes or so a day doing some "foraging exercises" with the bird. This involves laying out some pellets on a towel with the bird, out away from the cage and distractions. If the wings are clipped, this should be considered (unless the bird is very tame).
Then you just flip the pellets about and peck and click your nails together, etc., to simulate another bird feeding. Some lovebirds respond better by doing this in the palm of your hand with the bird perched on the edge. At any rate, once the bird is eating some of the pellets, the seed is removed, but the owner watches fecal output to make sure the bird is still eating something.

Vegetables can be introduced the same way. IME, slivered or grated veggies are more accepted by smaller birds. They seem easier to manipulate. For owners or birds your not sure about, you can always board the bird in the clinic and do the job.
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:22 PM   #10
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This is our dialogue for conversion. Some clients try to cut corners and put 1/2 seed and 1/2 formulated diet. Problem is that the half seed is a ten day supply often. The client must also show "leadership" to help the conversion:
Seed diets are deficient in most major nutrients and contain excessive fat for the pet bird. Formulated Diets (extruded, pellets, crumbles etc) are designed in an attempt to provide a balanced diet to your bird
HOW TO CONVERT YOUR PET BIRD TO A FORMULATED DIET: Our target amount is 80-90% of the diet as fed. The key to conversion is initially limiting the seed quantity available to your bird to one-half of what the bird will eat per day. What is that amount? To find out:
1) Measure, in teaspoons or tablespoons quantity of seed mix you place in clean cage first thing in the morning. IMPORTANT: ALL SEED (including millet spray and seed trees) MUST BE INCLUDED IN YOUR MEASUREMENTS!!!
2) The next morning (24 hours later) measure, in teaspoons or tablespoons quantity of seed mix which is left uneaten.
3) Subtract remainder from the initial quantity to determine the actual amount of seed your bird eats in 24 hours.
4) Start feeding ONLY one half of the calculated amount of seed to your bird on a daily basis. Place an equal quantity of the new formulated diet (Harrison's, Roudybush, etc.) in the same bowl.
5) Gradually, over a number of days, decrease the seed percentage.
Worried your bird isn't eating enough? Solution: track your pet's weight. Buy a food or postal scale (or better yet a digital scale). Mark or record the initial weight. Then weigh your bird every morning. During conversion, we can easily accept a 5% weight loss. A 10% weight loss, except with obese birds, is excessive over a short time.
Most birds on formulated diets will tend to be a little leaner, due to a lower fat diet. They will, however, continue to have a regular dropping output, containing both green feces and white urates (kidney waste). ****Important Note- the above conversion program is to be started ONLY with a bird that is not underweight and is not sick. If your bird is currently under our care with an illness- DO NOT START the conversion program- do ask us when to start it. You can, however, offer some of the new food as a side item.****
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