Keeping Your Pet Bird Healthy Through Proper Feeding

Not all birds live on seeds alone

If you have a pet bird, it’s very important to know how to feed it properly. Many people think all you need is bird seed and that all seed is the same, but it’s simply not true.

I have owned several birds in my lifetime. Because I love animals so much, I went out of my way to learn how to take care of them properly and keep them in the best health. One of the things that I learned along the way was that many birds cannot be healthy on seed alone, and not all seed is created equally.

Most people seem to be under the impression that birds can live happily on seed alone. I’m not really surprised, as this is something people have been told for ages, and a lot of pet care books that are on the market haven’t been updated since the 70’s. The truth is, not all birds can live on just seed. As a matter of fact, feeding a bird nothing but seed is the equivalent of feeding your 3 year-old nothing but candy bars.

Seeds are high in fat, which is great for a bird during the winter, but not all year-round. It’s especially not good for caged birds that don’t get a lot of exercise. My avian vet told me that it was discovered in the late 70’s that many exotic birds like cockatiels, conures and parrots actually eat a lot more than seed. They will eat small lizards, insects, fruit, vegetables and even the eggs of other birds. Seeds are not a big part of their daily diet.

So how do you know what your bird should be eating? The best way is to ask your avian vet what foods are right for your breed. If you have a bird, having an avian vet is a must, and they will be able to tell you what foods will keep your bird at peak health. If you haven’t found a vet yet, you can look up your bird breed online and find out what non-seed foods are best for it. Just be sure you find a reputable site. I personally recommend The Tailfeathers Network. I have been a member there for many years, and there are many vets and breeders on the site, as well as bird owners, who can help you find all the information you need.

When you’re looking for what kinds of foods are good for your bird, don’t forget to look at what might be harmful to them as well. Many people don’t realize that a great deal of human food is bad for a bird. Avocados, peach pits, potatoes, coffee and chocolate can all be toxic to birds, and that’s just to name a few.

Once you know what foods are good for your bird, I suggest starting them on a feeding plan right away. If your bird has been living on seed, it may be hard to get them to like new foods, but with time and patience, you can get them converted to a healthy diet. I’ve actually written a detailed how-to on switching your bird over to a pellet diet, and another on introducing them to vegetables and other foods.

Knowing the right foods for your bird and getting them to eat them is going to make for a much happier and healthier pet. Many captive birds don’t live more than 1-3 years because of improper care, but with proper care, some birds can live for 12, 25 or even 70 or more years. Take good care of your feathered friend and it will bring love and joy to your life for many years to come.

 

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