Diet: question:

by Marie
(Ann Arbor)

I run an a small parrot rescue out of my home and a good 90% of the birds that I see come in with a completely messed up diet. None, so far have ever really seen fresh fruits and veggies and there are some that won't try them for months....

I feed goldenfeast Central American Preservation blend for small to medium birds mixed half and half with their goldn'obles pellets.

For breakfast we have oatmeal and fruit and once in a while mix in a small amout of ground flaxseed and wheatgerm, and for the evening meal I give a handful of mixed vegatables. They get their treats in various foraging toys/boxes.

I buy all organic due to the feather pluckers...

I really want to make sure the birds in my care are well cared for so I would love your opinion as to any alterations to my daily feed routine that you believe I should make?

Comments for Diet: question:

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Apr 23, 2010
Switching bird to pellets
by: The Avian Vet

Please read the Switching Birds to Pellets article. Follow these instructions exactly. Some important points: do not mix food with the pellets; Do not wet the pellets; Limit the other foods that are offered to small amounts; get your bird out of the cage during every meal, pretend you are eating the pellets and offer pellets to everyone else in the "flock" in front of your grey; STOP FEEDING CHEETOS EVEN IF HE EATS NOTHING ELSE; weigh him to now if he is eating; don?t give in.

Dr B

Apr 22, 2010
by: Marie

Thanks so much for all of your time. I found all of your information helpful. We do have a standard vet who will see parrots, but there are no avian vets within a three hour radius of us. Twice a year an avian vet will vet out my entire rescue when he travels through. Last week I had to drive a U2 with a severe prolapse 6 hours just so he could have a life saving surgery.

Nearly all of the birds that come through are malnourished, we see a lot of vitamin A deficiency's, but generally the feather damaging birds don't have any "big" diagnosis different from the other rescues. I wish that they did, it would make things easier. With that said, I do have some level of luck with them. However I implement so many new variable's to the mix it can be hard to say which one seems to help the best.

I've read many articles on feather damaging behavior including the one on this site. We have already implemented most of them. We give avian lighting, keep a constant level of humidity that is closer to the levels of what parrots like, and use many foraging toys to keep the beaks busy. We also use water bottles to keep the bacteria down.

I've never had them forage completely for food, but I believe I will try that I've thought about doing so before.

Certainly it is no trouble to make a switch to harrisons pellets, while raising the pellet level and lowering the goldenfeast level. I was concerned about so much goldenfeast because so many seem to only pick out their favs...but it came highly recommended from another rescue. I do make birdie bread, it is the only way to hide some veggies for some of these guys, and everyone seems to love it! I make it in little mini muffin tins..

My biggest problem child right now is an 18 year African grey who has been feed bulk safflower seed his whole life along with the cheetos, anyways this guy has been here a week and I absolutely cannot get him to try anything decent. He is making me crazy, ive tried mixing safflower in oatmeal, in cornbread, cooking tried and true whole wheat pasta dishes....and at the end of the day he wins back his safflower because I don't want him to go hungry....Any ideas?

Apr 17, 2010
Diet: question:
by: Linda

You are doing a great job and thanks for your work! A nice addition would be Harrisons Birdy Bread mix. You need the Sunshine Factor organic Red Palm Oil which is also here. It is a cold-pressed(have to put bottle in warm water until liquid) natural oil full of omega 3's and will put a shine on their feathers. The mix is easy to do as it calls for the oil, 2 eggs and water. It's base is the Harrison's basic mix with some additional seeds. One loaf will go a long way as it is given as treat food, so not much needs to given, and we feed our Amazons the bread every other day as treat food. It CAN be up to 30% of the diet, freezes well and keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week. You may want to add some of the Harrisons pellets as it is recommended by Avian Vets, and we've been feeding them for over 17 years and have few trips to the vet.

Back to neglected/abused birds...Once they go down, it can take up to two years for bird to come back to optimum health. Much easier to keep them healthy in the first place, and your rescues have never seen the good side of a human being. I had a starved Amazon some years ago, and she did not know how to eat anything except sunflower seeds, was desperately ill with multiple infections and she did not have the ability to even hold a peanut in her feet.She just would not eat fruit. I brought home a rescued Ringneck parrot who would eat anything and a lot of it! I hung her cage next to Nikki's, and let her watch Snoopy eat. Before Snoopy had been there two weeks, Nikki was going to HER fruit/treat cup and eating fruit and veggies.

Being organic, the bread and pellets have to be refrigerated and warmed to room temp before feeding. The organics, as you well know, are more expensive than the crap pellets out there, and the savings in vet bills changed our minds about the cost as it more than balances out over time. We also supplement Harrisons with the Golden'obles and the Fruitables which you may wish to try in lieu of fruit as some birds just don't like fruit--bananas usually being the exception as is baked sweet potato which you may wish to try. Not more than 10-15% fruit and/or veggies in the diet which means not giving them fruit/veggies every day--more like a few times a week. Try the Harrisons bread mix, the pellets and the Fruitables sold on this site, and you can cut down on the fruit and veggies in a big way. Patience is what it takes for neglected birds, and their numbers are growing exponentially because of people not doing their homework BEFORE buying and bird mill breeders turning out sick and malformed birds on a large scale.

Thanks for writing in, and keep us posted on your work as you are one of the "good guys", and may God richly bless you and all your charges.

Apr 17, 2010
Diet for parrot rescue
by: The Avian Vet

The foods you are offering are good. I would make a couple of small changes, however. You want all birds to eat a diet that is 80% pellets and 20% treats. To make this happen, you will want to serve the pellets in a separate dish from all other foods and leave the pellets in at all times. I also encourage you to start putting pellets in the foragers, too.

Eventually you can even get to the point that there are no open dishes of food and they forage for all of their food. Mixing pellets and treats will only lead to them wasting the pellets, and you throwing them out or cleaning them from the bottom of the cage. I prefer Harrison's and Roudybush, but any pellets is better than no pellet, so if the birds are eating the Goldn'obles then by all means continue feeding that. The Harrison's is organic and may help some of your feather damaging birds. Put the pellets in two dishes ? one near the highest perch and one lower in the cage. Leave these two with pellets all the time.

Give treats two to three times daily, but give only small amounts, like a tablespoon or two of the GF Cent Amer Blend, and couple or three ounces of fresh foods. Also you should consider baking Birdie Bread ? Harrison?s makes a good one, and Momma?s Bird does too. Be careful with supplementing a pellet diet with wheat germ and flax. It is easy to overdose the wheat germ. If they are on pellets the wheat germ is not necessary and if you feed Harrison's then the flax is also not necessary.

By the way, there is a lot more we can do to help feather damaging behaviors that just feeding organic. Do you have an avian veterinarian that can check out these birds? The wet foods should be removed from the cage within ?3 hours. The dry foods should be fed in small amounts so they do not fill up on the treats and not eat their pellets.

Hope this helps.

Dr B

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