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Balanced Nutrition for Better Health

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
Feather Quality and Skin Condition are Nutrition-Related 
How to Switch Your Bird's Diet: Slow and Steady 
Basic Bird Nutrition 

Healthy and happy – that's your wish for your companion bird. Nutrition is important to all living things and avians are no exception. Deficiencies and imbalances in your bird's diet can be a major cause of disease, poor fertility and hatching, as well as a decrease in life span. Poor nutrition can also be linked to lack of energy, vitality, and susceptibility to many diseases.

Ultimately, you are responsible for what your bird ingests. It is essential to offer your bird the balances he needs, and make sure you don't offer too much.

NUTRITION BASICS A complete and balanced diet for your bird will include something from each of the following nutrient categories:

Water – Fresh water is the most vital nutrient your bird needs. Dehydration can cause serious health problems. Water is necessary for metabolism, digestion, and excretion of nutrients. Water is found in fresh fruits and vegetables and, of course, in your bird's water dish. Make sure your feathered friend has access to fresh water at all times. Serve up this liquid gold in a Stainless Steel Cage Cup or a Smart Crock.

Vitamins & Minerals – Birds need minerals and vitamins for proper metabolism. Minerals are important for body processes such as building bone and proper eggshell development. Poor nutrition may lead to vitamin deficiencies. A proper diet with pellets, vegetables, and fruits should provide the vitamins your bird needs. Ill or stressed birds may need additional vitamins. For minerals, always provide your bird with cuttlebone or mineral blocks, such as Manu Minerals.

Protein – Protein is needed for the health of skin, muscles, feathers and other body tissues. A deficiency of protein can lead to beak and feather abnormalities, anemia, and other health problems. Proteins are made up of amino acids, some of which are essential in the diet. The proper variety of foods will give your bird all-essential amino acids, especially methionine and lysine, deficient in plant-based foods. Nutritious foods we like include ZuPreem pellets and Roudybush diets.

Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are an ideal energy source. Too many carbs, though, may lead to obesity and too little may lead to muscle wasting. Fiber (cellulose) is also a carbohydrate, but doesn't provide energy. Birds need fiber to move food through the digestive tract properly. Carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and pelleted foods. Try a Kabob or foraging toys to serve up fresh produce. Pelleted diets can deliver the balanced carbs your bird needs.

Fats – Fats (lipids) are an essential energy source, and include essential fatty acids, needed for healthy skin and feathers and absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). Be sure not to overfeed fats, including too many seeds. Dry sunflower or safflower seeds can be fed as occasional treats, but a traditional seed mixture diet can cause malnutrition, obesity, and other health problems.

Feed your pet bird a balanced, nutritious diet, and you will be rewarded with a happy, healthy, long-lived companion.

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