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Pelleted Bird Food, Advantages of

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 

Is your bird eating the best foods? Unfortunately, if it were left up to our feathered friends, every food crock would brim with a smorgasbord of seeds. But seed-only diets pose serious health risks for your bird. In addition to being high in fat, most seeds lack the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your bird needs for optimal health. Thankfully, it is easy to offer a more nutritional diet.

SEED DEFICIENCIES For most birds, seeds are like irresistible candy. They taste delicious but are not nutritious. In fact, seeds are often low in Vitamins A, D3, B12 and minerals like calcium, iodine, sodium, and more. Different types of seeds also have different protein, carbohydrate, and fat levels, which makes it tough to ensure your bird's diet is nutritionally balanced. Many seed-only diets often try to compensate for the nutritional deficiencies of individual seeds by combining a wide range of seed varieties. But since your bird is free to pick and choose the type of seed she prefers, there is never a guarantee that your bird is eating properly.

A PREFERENCE FOR PELLETS Pelleted diets offer more complete nutrition than seed-only diets. Even better, many pelleted foods are formulated with a wide range of healthy ingredients for specific birds. This means they offer the exact levels of protein, fat, fiber, and nutrients your bird requires. Plus, pelleted foods are available in a range of shapes, textures, colors, and sizes to appeal to your bird's distinct preferences. Finally, pellet diets are generally fortified with vitamins and minerals. And since your bird eats the entire pellet instead of discarding the vitamin-coated hull of seeds, she often needs less supplements than she would with seed-only fare – which saves you money in the long run.

TRANSITIONING TO PELLETED FOODS The simplest way to convert your bird to a pelleted diet is by slowly mixing the new diet in with her old seed-only mix. Each day, gradually increase the amount of pellets and decrease the quantity of seeds until your bird is wholly converted to the pelleted foods. Monitor your bird closely to be sure she is eating enough during the conversion process.

Another trick to converting your bird from a strict seed diet is by offering the pellets as individual treats and rewards for good behavior. Or, you could pretend to eat or peck at the pellets yourself. Birds are social eaters and will often copy what humans and other birds eat. Finally, ensure you offer pellets first thing in the morning when your bird is the hungriest. Then, offer any other seeds, fruits, or nuts that should be included in her diet later in the day.

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