How much/often to feed adult Sun Conure

by Darci
(Winnipeg, Canada)

I have heard conflicting info regarding how much and how often parrots should be fed. I have a 5 year old female Sun Conure who eats mostly Harrisons HP Fine, as well as some sprouts, fruit and veggies, and occasionally organic brown rice pasta.

Some books and sites say birds should only be fed twice a day, once in the morning and in the evening for an hour so their bodies can detox and have time to digest food without constant stress on the liver from overeaating.. Others say free-access to food should be provided all day. My bird will eat frequently throughout the day, I have never restricted her from eating and she is a healthy weight at 109g. She usually eats quite a bit in the morning and will snack on and off all day and eat a largr amount in the afternoon and again inthe evening. Am I hurting her by letting her eat whenever she wants or taxing her liver by not allowing sufficient times between meals?

Despite her diet being mostly pellets her feces in the morning are often green as oppose to brown as I heard the feces of pellet eating birds are suppose to be. Any reason why? Also when eating I often hear some strange stomach-growling/squishy/gurlging sounds coming from her crop which my vet could not explain. Also she has been on High Potency since February, do you suggest swtiching her to the adult lifetime now? Any thoughts? THanks.

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Dec 06, 2009
sun conure feeding
by: Anonymous

I have a 8 year old sun conure & she has food available to her at all times of the day. I feed her loads of sprouts, fruit & veg plus she also gets harrisons high potency or Dr Macs maintenance & seed. I offer 3 main meals a day to all my birds & they graze throughout the day on food left for them as they need it. It is natural as our wild parrots do this as well.

IMO the only way the liver can stress is by giving the bird the wrong foods like over indulging in fatty foods.

As for her poop, you said you offer her sprouts & veg as well? My sunnies poop is all kinds of colours, depending on what she eats but it is mostly green because of the sprouts & veg she eats. Also if you have a look at the high potency pellets, you will notice they're more greeny colour than they are brown.

Dec 05, 2009
Feeding a counure
by: The Vet

* Am I hurting her by letting her eat whenever she wants or taxing her liver by not allowing sufficient times between meals?

Answer: No. That is nonsense. You should keep food in the cage at all times. The best way to feed is to have pellets available at all times, and offer treats 2-3 times daily. The treats should be limited to an amount that your bird can finish in one sitting and be removed within 1-2 hours. You need to teach your bird to forage. Foraging is the best way to feed birds. In fact, all of my birds forage only and have no open bowls of food, except when I give them fresh vegetables or cooked food, and even then I make it into a foraging opportunity if I can.

* Despite her diet being mostly pellets her feces in the morning are often green as oppose to brown as I heard the feces of pellet eating birds are suppose to be. Any reason why?

Answer: Not all pellet droppings are brown and green is the desired color.

* Also when eating I often hear some strange stomach-growling/squishy/gurlging sounds coming from her crop which my vet could not explain.

Answer: These are normal digestive noises and should not be alarming.

* Also she has been on High Potency since February, do you suggest swtiching her to the adult lifetime now? Any thoughts?

Answer: My birds are on the Harrison's High Potency and always have been. I keep birds on the HP and do not switch them to Adult LifeTime. The HP has omega fatty acids and the AL does not. You can keep him on the HP indefinitely.

Dr B

Dec 05, 2009
How much/often to feed adult Sun Conure
by: Linda

As for how you're feeding her, just keep doing what you're doing. Our Amazons eat the Adult Lifetime course grind (larger than your bird needs), and we feed them two tablespoons of it once a day. They always have some left in the morning and snack on it during the day. My Amazons are a bit overweight which your bird is not. We are feeding the "low-end" of recommended per day.

Follow the directions on your bag of food and go ahead and get her on a maintenance diet as soon as you can get some from Tracie here. Follow the directions on package, and if your bird is not becoming overweight, just feed as directions state. Bag says how much per day for your bird to normally eat. The value of feeding once or twice a day is that birds NEED to be allowed to get hungry as this helps to simulate conditions in the wild. Birds appear to eat all day, in the wild, but they are not getting concentrated food like we give with the pellets. So, feed as package describes, and if some is left by next morning, don't put more into dish until the evening meal and that way you'll not be overfeeding. Fruit and veggie snacks cannot comprise anymore than 10% of the overall diet, so feed those in very small amounts several times a week instead of everyday. Too much fruit and/or veggies will also cause the poop to change color. If your vet has given her a clean bill of health, just keep on with what you're doing, and just don't feed more than package says and stop feeding fruit and veggies everyday as they are not necessary every day. We feed them as treats, and also cook up Harrison's Birdy Bread for them without any extra ingredients. This can be up to 30% of the diet. You may wish to try a package for your bird. Get the organic red palm oil, Sunshine Factor to go in it, and two eggs and water are the other add ins. Our Amazons have it a few times a week as treats--not every day.

Thanks for writing, and have a wonderful Holiday Season!
Linda

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