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Parrot Nutrition, Diet and Feeding Discuss parrot nutrition, diets, foods and feeding.
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
 
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Pellet

Hi,
I have been feeding my birds(parrolets, Sun conure, lovebirds) GoldenFeast pellets and of course some seed with fruits, vegetables and a mash I make. Although my birds don't like the goldenfeast, I was told it was a top choice and above this is TOPS. I was feeding Harrisons but was told by a bird food specialist it is not as good as TOPS. Then I was told by a large bird breeder in Florida to feed the Zupreems because its a fruit blended mix. So confusing these days to know what to feed them. What type of pellets do the birds really like? Is my question. The Zupreems looks like its a bag full of dye with all the colors, how healthy is that.

What pellet does your birds like and enjoy?

Julie
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 11:48 PM
 
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I personally have used the tropical Lifetime pellets, harrisons and roudybush. Personally I feed all my birds a selection of everything but all my birds are currently on Harrison's its what I prefer... I haven't really done any studies regarding all the pelleted foods out there though so this is just my personal preference. the Tropical Lifetime I dislike but my rose crown was on it from the petstore I am slowly weening her off of it it's taking time she also gets harrison's... I hope this helps

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 12:20 AM


 
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This is where I get into trouble with some.
I do not feed any pellets Full Stop.
Never seen the need and do not believe the hype.
All my birds have improved condition on all natural diets. And remember most were pre owned birds.
I am not sure if Ok or not to post here, but think it a good idea to check out Jason Creans group on face book https://www.facebook.com/groups/AVIANRAW/
He is doing a great job of getting back to fresh real foods.
Agreed there are a lot of pellets to choose from.
Some simple things to consider.
No colors (artificial ones that is)
No added sugar
No added salt
No added supplements (Man made that is)
No preservatives.
No processed foods

A lot of pellets are bulked up with ground corn or soy. These are not much cop.
Marketing Hype has convinced too many people they have to feed pellets or they are failing to care for their birds needs.
Any company that tells you their pellets are a complete nutritional diet, is full of Cow Pooh.
Lack of variation. Boring food. No foraging. Non seasonal.

I feed fresh fruit and veg, mixed seed, and then add to that other seeds and grains to boost the basic mix. And sprout for my birds. Everyday.
They will also get chew items. Like Chilli, Kale, Dandelion, Sow Thistle. Fresh grass in seed.
Bottle brush, Twisted Willow, Paperbark Gum, Banksia, Pohutakawa, Manuka, Cherry flowers,
Sometimes Millet.
Cuttle Bone, Mineral block, And I have a product that replicates manu Salt Lick.
If I feel the need I will target different things. Like at the moment I am feeding the Ringneck and sprinkling Bee pollen on his seeds, to boost his protein intake before he molts.

These are my opinions only.


A tribute to my lost ones. RIP.

Last edited by clawnz; 08-30-2015 at 01:44 AM.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 04:51 AM
 
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I'm firmly in favour of HIGH QUALITY pellets. Not wishing to spend half my salary on regular blood tests for my flock, Id rather cover as many bases as possible with a very mixed diet based on a very good pellet.

I think the results are obvious in feather quality
http://i.imgur.com/riKeuLZ.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/EIz2YK9.jpg
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 05:58 AM


 
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Ricky at the rescue


A year later being feed real foods


Budgie Blue When I seized her.


Not even a year later No vets and real natural diet.


Most here will know about Dexter and his feather issues.
With all the tests nobody could pinpoint what was the problem.


It took 3yrs before I got him right and he grew complete great tail and flights. Again done with natural foods and additives. Holistic treatments that worked. The vets had no idea as all tests came back negative.

Snowy When he came in.


Later Not sure but about 18mts


Sophie


And just a few months later.


I rest my case.
Angel. Perfection in motion.


There are others but, I think you get the point. You do not need to feed pellets and you do not need to have blood works done all the time, sorry.
All it takes a bit of understanding on what you are doing, and looking at. And research into what you are doing. It does not take that much effort and they do better on fresh natural foods.
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A tribute to my lost ones. RIP.

Last edited by clawnz; 08-30-2015 at 03:48 PM.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 06:58 AM
 
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Good work! but we dont all have a great deal of time to prepare 'fresh' foods every day. And lets not get started on all the pesticides etc in 'fresh foods'

If those birds had been on a quality pelleted diet BEFORE you rescued them, they would not have looked as bad as they did.

I rest MY case lol
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 08:56 AM
 
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Variety is always key. I currently have Digby on Higgins In Tune Natural Pellets. That is the base/foundation of his diet. (The colors are natural; I actually heard from somewhere it comes from vegetables.)

In the past, I have used both Roudybush and Harrison's. Roudybush is still a pellet brand I love. I am, however, iffy with Harrison's now. Harrison's was originally sold to me by a vet, who basically swore on his life that it was the absolute only food you need to give your bird. That was years and years ago, and I came to realize how wrong that was and I've also heard multiple iffy things about the company and even the product itself.

The Higgins In Tune has been good. In the past I have tried to use 2 pellets at once, in case of recall and for more variety. But I also learned that may not be so good as it could throw the balance off nutrient-wise, or be too much, etc. Digby likes In Tune, although he won't touch the green ones. (It's funny, actually, he throws some of them out but the green ones he just does not touch!)

Every day, I take Digby's water and food dishes and I wash them in hot water with a bit of dish soap, dry them. On most days I fill his food bowl with pellets and chop. I'm very lucky - the chop I use comes from the local bird store I used to work at, Sugarcreek Bird Farm. They make it with over 35 fresh ingredients, and sell them in big squares that are in zip-loc baggies. You can keep it in the freezer and break off a piece at night to thaw in the fridge for the next day. Then I'll mix it in with the pellets, and oftentimes it sticks to the pellets and he at least gets some from that. He loves to pick out the beans and I think he's grown to like the chop overall anyway.

Once or twice a week, instead of pellets, there is a fun mix from the Bird Farm called the "Sugarcreek mix" that I feed Digby. It's fun, it adds variety, and Digby loves it. I put chop in with it as well. I wouldn't be OK with only feeding Digby that mix, but it's healthy in moderation. And if anything, it's healthy mentally! I wouldn't want to eat the same thing everyday, and the chop is still in it. I imagine it gives a sense of anticipation and surprise; what will I get to eat today?

I try to cook/prepare other foods for Digby when I have the time. I find that fresh foods are great, but they do take more time and preparation. I've recently been trying various products that I can cook on the stove, such as Goldenfeast Bean Supreme (http://goldenfeastdirect.com/best-sellers/bean-supreme/) and a few of the Higgins Wordly Cuisines (http://www.mysafebirdstore.com/Higgi...Bird_Food.html). If I have any kind of my own food that is OK for birds, some days I sprinkle it on top of his pellets as a treat, which is always exciting for Digby.

I think it's important that your bird is used to variety and trying new foods. If they only eat one thing forever, trying to feed them something new is going to be a pain. If you are offering them new foods all the time, and they are used to trying new things and possibly liking them, it will be much easier to create a balanced, varied diet.

In the end, everyone has their own opinions on what is considered the healthiest kind of diet. I don't think any one thing is 100% perfect on its own, that's always where I hesitate with someone. As long as I'm making an effort to offer some fresh foods, an overall variety, and of course sticking with safe foods, I'm happy and I think so is Digby.

Edit: I was going to say with the water, I sometimes give tea. I have some techniques I'm trying to use to help calm Digby down, as he's very sensitive and can be stressed at times.




DIGBY 4-year-old male Congo African Grey

Last edited by Abby; 08-30-2015 at 09:04 AM.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 11:49 AM



 
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Interesting read of everyone's comments about their choice of pellets or not for their birds. Thanks for sharing your diet and info with us all.

I mostly used Harrison's or RowdyBush depending whether its in stock at the avians.

I offer pellets everyday in a small amount for my budgie SPX and he likes either brand. I try to steer clear of pellets that have fake coloring added sugar or fillers as they don't offer anything to my birds health.

I offer fresh organic veggies to SPX daily as well as a good seed diet, he also gets sprouted seeds, beans, dandelion flower and leaves and if I see him having a rough moult I add bee pollen to his chop. I have a fresh mineral block and cuttle bone in the cage every 4 months but I rarely see him chewing on them so he isn't lacking in anything in his diet. The vet says when a bird destroys a cuttle bone you need to watch out as there is a problem with its diet and the bird is seriously lacking something.

I never give my birds budgie gravel or oyster shell grit. I remember my mother giving gravel to our budgies when I was a kid and we had a budgie die of an impacted crop. My avian assured us that budgies don't need this gravel or oyster grit.

What ever I am doing diet wise seems to work for SPX, he's healthy, looks great and is active flying and rampaging around the den attacking me everyday playing all the while he's being vocal and funny.





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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 03:14 PM


 
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Thank you Johnny Cash.
For such an enlightened view. Your assumptions are a little misguided
How anyone can claim if these birds had been fed pellets they would not of been in that state. Total rubbish. You have no idea of how they were fed or cared for.
It is a misconception that if you are feeding pellets your bird will not get sick or lack any food needs.
Fact: Budgies and Cockatiels do not do well on a high percentage pellet diet.
Kidney problems can be more of a problem with pellets as they are a dry food.
Roudybush. Used to claim 100% all you need to feed your bird. If you believed that well.
Harrisons. And I am quoting Greg Harrison here. Claims you should fed an Eclectus High Protein pellets. Which is not a very good idea, unless you want your Eclectus Toe Tapping Wing Flipping and self mutilating. he even on his blog claimed the Toe Tapping was part of their mating ritual. If you ever watch a bird doing this you will quickly figure out it is not enjoying it. One breeder with her AV feed pellets in high doses to an Eclectus who started Toe Tapping in short order. Diet changed and the Top Tapping stopped.
Correct it is vets who push Harrisons or pellets. Why? A: They sell Harrisons. B: Because they see so many birds that have been on poor diets.
But remember they are not bird nutritionists.
Go back some years and it was pushed at a high percentage diet. But as people started to do this they realised it was not that great, so the amounts have dropped to now 25% or less. Eclectus a few pellets a week if any.
Many breeders found the birds on pellets were not doing as well as ones not on pellets.

When you want to sight herbicides pesticides and GMO's. Most pellets that are seed and veg based will also suffer from these.
I.E. 80% of all your corn in USA is GMO and will test positive for a few insecticides and herbicides. And don't think for one minute that Organic is clean. Soil contaminates are real. Don't bother coming at me about certifications. We all know about the corruption going on.

Pellets in a lot of ways are no better than commercial seed mixes.

I think Jason and myself summed this subject up very well.

Me
Now that is a good question and one I can only add my comments on. How would you know these things anyway if you were feeding pellets? Surely not because the manufacture tells you so. Birds are like us. We are all different, and our nutritional needs differ. There will be times when they may need more of this and more of that. Like when a female is in egg mode, or they are molting. At other times I go with a little of this and a little of that. This would mainly be calcium and protein. Keep everything in moderation. Unless I am targeting specifics. This may be with the help of my AV or people I know and trust on the web. Like at the moment I have an Indian Ringneck in and it's beak has bars across it. Any clues what this maybe caused by? I leave you to guess.As usual these are only my opinions.

Jason
Agree with Clive as nutritional needs vary day to day, week to week, season to season. To say that they eat a balanced diet in the wild is something I always I question because they are opportunistic feeders, eating food items that are available to them at that time. But animals in the wild are focused only on surviving and we can actual help them to thrive by offering them more choices.


A tribute to my lost ones. RIP.

Last edited by clawnz; 08-30-2015 at 03:42 PM.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 03:26 PM



 
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Originally Posted by JohnnyCash View Post
Good work! but we dont all have a great deal of time to prepare 'fresh' foods every day. And lets not get started on all the pesticides etc in 'fresh foods'

If those birds had been on a quality pelleted diet BEFORE you rescued them, they would not have looked as bad as they did.

I rest MY case lol
Just my opinion, but if you cannot provide any fresh foods for your birds on a daily basis then surely that is neglecting their natural need for a well and truly balanced diet? They don't have pellet trees in the wild. There isn't a day that goes by where my birds don't receive at LEAST some fruit or veggies and I'm feeding considerably more birds than a lot of people here. Just cutting up an apple, grating a carrot etc. takes a minute or two and can make a big difference. I spend one evening once in a blue moon and make enough chop to last months and freeze it. All you have to do then is take it out and defrost it. I have fed pellets and personally, don't like them. Some of my birds would eat a few different types but others weren't worth my time. I didn't mind TOPs but came to the conclusion that pellets are an unnecessary waste of my money when I can just be feeding my flock what they'd naturally eat for a fraction of the price. There's a market not too far from me where I get my fresh fruits and veggies. I can pay 1.50 for a single mango from a supermarket or I can go to a fresh market and get a whole crate of the things for 2.50. For my own birds benefit rather than the inconvenience I'd rather do that...

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 03:36 PM



 
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JUST AS A FRIENDLY REMINDER! The whole pellet debate can cause and is causing heated discussion (and yep I'm joining in). Just remember to keep it nice. We are all entitled to our own opinions and are passionate about our birds welfare

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 05:03 PM


 
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I am with Clive and Daisy, I don't feed and won't feed pellets. They are a processed food and if you relate it to humans, just look at the health problems humans are having with too much processed food. Of course the manufacturers are going to tell you they are great, they make huge profits from a product that is very cheap to manufacture. The raw materials are heated during manufacture and that removes much of the good vitamins and minerals that are naturally in the raw materials, so they have to add vitamins and minerals to counteract that. Heat destroys much of the nutrition of food.

Many of these foods are also much too high in protein and most birds can only handle 20% protein in their food. Too much and it will convert to fat in the body. This is from research done by animal nutritionists, I was involved with one of these research projects in the late 1990's. That lady is not only a vet but was head of wildlife nutrition at Bronx Zoo for 10 years. The other thing is 'One Size does NOT fit all', every species of bird requires different things out of their diet. Australian Cockatoos and African Greys need much higher amounts of calcium to most other birds as do Lorikeets.

The other problem with too much protein is that it keeps a bird in breeding mode internally all year round. In the wild they would not get this. This is why birds breed mainly in the Spring to early summer when food becomes more abundant. When a bird is in non breeding mode their reproductive organs shrink, when they come into breeding mode these organs will enlarge. By keeping the birds on a high protein diet the reproductive organs are enlarged all year round and this can cause cancer and tumours in the reproductive organs. I have learned this from being present when birds are surgically sexed and by videos and pictures taken during surgical sexing for lectures. You can see the difference in the size of the reproductive organs in breeding mode and non breeding mode. This can also cause behavour problems as well.

I have done much research into this as I make my own Lorikeet food (they are pollen and nectar feeders mainly). This was as a result of the research I was involved in back in the late 1990's. Lorikeets also have a problem with too much Iron in the diet as it will destroy the liver, so they need a diet low in Iron. My success with this food that I make was reinforced earlier this year by an Avian Vet (who is researching diet particularly in Lorikeets) telling me that my lorikeet that I had in a show was the healthiest one she had seen in a long time, and that was out of more than a dozen lorikeets on display that day. We ended up having a long discussion about nutrition for lorikeets and my mix. The protein level of my mix is between 17 to 18%.

There is another problem I have with so called complete pellet diets. Some foods, vitamins and minerals can interfere with the uptake of antibiotics, a prime example is calcium and doxycycline. When you have to treat your birds with this all sources of calcium must be removed from the diet. This is impossible to do if you are feeding a pellet diet.

Pellets are just a convenience as are processed kibble foods for dogs and cats. Many people are now realizing how damaging kibble is for dogs and cats and are going back to a raw diet for them. It is particularly noticeable with cats and kidney disease which has become more prevalent since people started feeding them a dry diet mainly for convenience. There are many more government restrictions on the manufacture of dog and cat food but basically none with the manufacture of pellets for birds. It will be many years down the track of people using pellets with their birds for us to find out the damage they do, the same as it has been for dogs and cats. Problems that we are just finding out about now.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 06:01 PM


 
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Thank You. Daisy and Kate.
You both make some very valid points I failed to make.

Sorry Julie if we derailed your thread a bit of tract.


A tribute to my lost ones. RIP.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 06:18 PM



 
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I am with Clive and Daisy, I don't feed and won't feed pellets. They are a processed food and if you relate it to humans, just look at the health problems humans are having with too much processed food. Of course the manufacturers are going to tell you they are great, they make huge profits from a product that is very cheap to manufacture. The raw materials are heated during manufacture and that removes much of the good vitamins and minerals that are naturally in the raw materials, so they have to add vitamins and minerals to counteract that. Heat destroys much of the nutrition of food.

Many of these foods are also much too high in protein and most birds can only handle 20% protein in their food. Too much and it will convert to fat in the body. This is from research done by animal nutritionists, I was involved with one of these research projects in the late 1990's. That lady is not only a vet but was head of wildlife nutrition at Bronx Zoo for 10 years. The other thing is 'One Size does NOT fit all', every species of bird requires different things out of their diet. Australian Cockatoos and African Greys need much higher amounts of calcium to most other birds as do Lorikeets.

The other problem with too much protein is that it keeps a bird in breeding mode internally all year round. In the wild they would not get this. This is why birds breed mainly in the Spring to early summer when food becomes more abundant. When a bird is in non breeding mode their reproductive organs shrink, when they come into breeding mode these organs will enlarge. By keeping the birds on a high protein diet the reproductive organs are enlarged all year round and this can cause cancer and tumours in the reproductive organs. I have learned this from being present when birds are surgically sexed and by videos and pictures taken during surgical sexing for lectures. You can see the difference in the size of the reproductive organs in breeding mode and non breeding mode. This can also cause behavour problems as well.

I have done much research into this as I make my own Lorikeet food (they are pollen and nectar feeders mainly). This was as a result of the research I was involved in back in the late 1990's. Lorikeets also have a problem with too much Iron in the diet as it will destroy the liver, so they need a diet low in Iron. My success with this food that I make was reinforced earlier this year by an Avian Vet (who is researching diet particularly in Lorikeets) telling me that my lorikeet that I had in a show was the healthiest one she had seen in a long time, and that was out of more than a dozen lorikeets on display that day. We ended up having a long discussion about nutrition for lorikeets and my mix. The protein level of my mix is between 17 to 18%.

There is another problem I have with so called complete pellet diets. Some foods, vitamins and minerals can interfere with the uptake of antibiotics, a prime example is calcium and doxycycline. When you have to treat your birds with this all sources of calcium must be removed from the diet. This is impossible to do if you are feeding a pellet diet.

Pellets are just a convenience as are processed kibble foods for dogs and cats. Many people are now realizing how damaging kibble is for dogs and cats and are going back to a raw diet for them. It is particularly noticeable with cats and kidney disease which has become more prevalent since people started feeding them a dry diet mainly for convenience. There are many more government restrictions on the manufacture of dog and cat food but basically none with the manufacture of pellets for birds. It will be many years down the track of people using pellets with their birds for us to find out the damage they do, the same as it has been for dogs and cats. Problems that we are just finding out about now.
We have converted our dogs to the raw diet and hope our cat will too. It's the only thing helping Bailey gain weight. The food she was on wasn't helping in the slightest and we tried every man made food imaginable. Just straight up meat and veggies etc. now and she's looking great

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
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I find it interesting that avians that sell Harrison's either push this pellet mix or don't.

The avian I go to has Harrison's available to his clients for their birds only because his clients asked for it as they were unable to get it anywhere in stores.

My avian isn't on the pellet bandwagon especially due to the fact that pellets expire quickly after the package is opened. He said he doesn't believe that you can freeze the pellets after opening the package to assure the product stays fresh.

He also thought the pellets were too costly and he really disliked that the pellets are not packaged in smaller amounts for people who have a couple of budgies or a single bird like a canary. So people end up spending a lot of money for a product they will end up throwing out due to the package being larger then your flock can handle.

Its a waste of money.

Mr Peepers was ill and dying with liver disease, I wondered whether adding pellets to his diet would help the little bird. My avian said he couldn't assure me the pellets could help and couldn't assure me the pellets might harm this sick bird.

Canaries are incredible pigs and will eat pretty much anything and everything in fresh produce and all types of seeds. I was worried when Peepers did exactly what the vet thought would happen, he said Peepers would ignore the pellets and would stress out and go looking for other food. He didn't want Peepers going to the bottom of his cage and rooting for seeds or food that fell on the cage floor that was spoiled or had droppings on it.

He was right, Peepers went looking for seeds on the floor in the den under SPX's flight cage or he rooted under the newspaper in his and SPX's cage looking for seeds.

I worried I was doing more harm to the birds failing health trying to introduce him to pellets a couple of hours a day, so I quickly ended up giving up on the pellets and fed him his prescribed diet.





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