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Balancing Your Bird's Diet

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
Feather Quality and Skin Condition are Nutrition-Related 
Parrot Food Comparison Chart 
Cockatiel Food Comparison Chart 

Although your bird loves them, fruit and nuts
should only be given occasionally.
If your bird could choose his own nutritional plan, he'd choose seed for every meal. This decision would prove to be a bad one, though. He'd quickly find himself suffering the effects of malnutrition from dietary imbalance and insufficient nutrients. For most birds, to prevent illness, disease, and ultimately, early death, balance the daily diet to include 65-80% formulated (pelleted) diet, 15-30% vegetables, and occasional fruits, nuts, and seeds.

Before you attempt a switch to a formulated diet, consult your avian veterinarian to confirm your bird's unique dietary needs, overall health, weight, and whether he can physically handle a dietary change.

Once your bird receives a clean bill of health, start the switching process. You may have to experiment with various colors and pellet sizes until you find one he likes.

When you know his pellet preference, mix a few of them in with his old food.

Don't worry if your bird doesn't initially seem interested in eating pellets. He just needs a little motivation. Try serving pellets outside of the cage so he associates them with fun. You can also try substituting pellets for treats during the conversion. Additionally, make pellets part of your bird's foraging adventures – tuck a few in toys or accessories, or mix pellets with shredded newspaper or very small toys so he has to seek them out.

When your bird readily eats the pellets, continue offering them, preferably in the morning when he is hungriest. Offer seed later in the day. Steadily decrease the amount of seed, replacing it with an increasing amount of pellets. Remember to consistently offer fresh foods while making the conversion.

Your bird will set the pace. He may convert to pellets easily, within a week. Or, he may take up to a month to make the switch. The length of time conversion requires is not as important as the change itself – moving your bird from a seed-based diet is one of the most important things you can do for his health.
for enticing that
first pellet bite:

For larger birds
Pretend to eat a few pellets in front of him, then offer a pellet from your fingers. He'll want to see what the fuss is all about.

For smaller birds
Spread a mixture of 2 or 3 kinds of pellets on a towel. Take your bird out of his cage and set him on the towel. Pretend to peck at the pellets, paying little attention to your bird. He should begin pecking at the pellets after watching your cue.

5 Outstanding Pelleted Diets to Bring Your Bird Better Health
ZuPreem AvianMaintenance FruitBlend: irresistible fruit flavors and bright colors.

Kaytee Exact Natural: seedshaped pellets entice enthusiastic eating.

Harrison's High Potency Foods: certified organic food with maximum nutrients.

Roudybush Daily Maintenance Diets: great nutrition backed by years of experience in avian nutrition.

Oven Fresh Bites Baked Diet: slow-baked nuggets with more than 30 natural ingredients.
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