Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Outer Sydney Australia
Thanked 235 Times in 170 Posts
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That worries me too Clive. I was involved in a study back in the late 1990's testing the protein level that Lorikeets could handle and the result was 20%. As a result of that study I developed my own lorikeet mix for them. And while birds do need a certain amount of animal protein which I have in my mix in the form of whole egg powder and skim milk powder it is still within the range that they can handle. They do build up their protein levels when breeding though and because lorikeets can breed all year round, this is especially so in Queensland, this may be the reason for the apparent change in diet. It is very hard to study their eating habits in the wild as they travel vast distances to feed on sufficient pollen and nectar to feed babies.
I was aware that many birds do eat animal protein as part of their diet. A mouse getting in a cage with a Gang Gang Cockatoo will not get out the other side. I have watched my Sulfur Crested Cockatoos catching flies regularly. Budgies have been seen eating road kill in the wild and many birds will chew into the bark of trees to get insects, including the grub stage. I know many budgie breeders give their birds cooked chicken and others will give them a supplement of Livamol. It is not uncommon for birds to be slightly cannibalistic either. Chickens are fed mainly grain based food but it also can and does contain meat and bone by-products. Chickens are naturally omnivorous.
When hand raising Black Cockatoos they are fed meal worms when weaning. And I have heard that many people that breed larger parrots do feed mice pinkies to the parents as part of their diet.
They may all eat meat or more animal protein when they are breeding but I don't think enough research has been done on the actual diets of parrots to know for sure. It is not easy to do research of parrots in the wild. I will be very interested to hear the outcome of this research and will try to make contact with the researcher.