Pellets,walls and feathers

by Meg

I recently converted my 2 budgies and 2 cockatiels to a pellet diet and there are a few things i wanted to know. Firstly i leave pellets in the cages all day and only give them seeds for an hour or so at night. When i put the seeds in they all go crazy as if they haven't eaten in ages is this normal?

I know that they've been eating the pellets cos after a few days the dishes are empty with no traces left in the cage at all. I can't leave the seeds in all day as they will completely ignore the pellets. Should i put the seed in for longer or more periods throughout the day?

My next qn is about brick walls. I always let my birds hang out with me when i'm on the computer. They have a nice spot on the desk covered in paper to prevent mess. The problem is that the room is very small and the desk is up against the wall. All my birds always start chewing the bricks in the wall and the cement in between them. I don't think they're eating it just chewing i wanted to know if this is bad for them.

My last qn is about my 2 year old tiel jewel. She is a feather plucker and has been to the vet numerous times with no answers to her problem. As well as changing her to pellets i have just got her to eat fruits and vegies she won't eat much but she's getting better. I have noticed in the last couple of days that she is looking less bald and has some really nice feathers coming in that she hasn't shredded yet. I wanted to know if the pellets and the vegies could have something to do with it.

She hasn't stopped completely i still catch her chewing on a feather shes pulled out now and then but not as often. She has plenty of toys and gets lots of attention so i'm really hoping the new diet has a big effect on the plucking. Thanks for all your help.

Comments for Pellets,walls and feathers

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Aug 10, 2009
Switching bird to pellets
by: Tracie

I have switched my birds to pellets successfully the way your are doing it, it sounds like.

Once I establish that they know the pellets are food, they are eating them, I only put pellets in the dish in the morning. I do this because they are hungry after fasting all night and they will likely eat more pellets.

In the evening, I add a small amount of seed to the dishes. My birds go crazy over the seeds too. It is like candy to them. If you were to get your favorite dessert every night, you would look forward to it.

In the wild it is not bad for them to eat a lot of seeds. They are expending energy to fly around foraging for seeds. They fight the natural weather elements also. Being confined in a cage, they will get fatty liver disease if they get too much fat from the seeds.

There are lots of methods for switching your birds to pellets. The above is just the way I have done it with all my new birds and my mother has done the same quite successfully.

We have a Switching Birds to Pellets article on our Parrot Training page you might want to read also.

As a side note, it took me a year to get my budgie, that was weaned to pellets, to eat seeds! LOL I faithfully put them in there every day, but he would push them aside and eat the pellets. Once he ate a seed, instead of playing with it, he preferred the seeds over the pellets. ;-) He makes such a racket every evening if I am late adding the seeds to their dish.

Aug 10, 2009
by: Linda

I will address the feeding questions first. You should NO longer be feeding seeds. The changeover is done by putting a very shallow layer of seeds on bottom of cup and the rest pellets. Once the birds start eating a good amount of the pellets, then gradually cut back on the seeds in the bottom until there are no more seeds offered again.

How you are doing it requires that you start over. Put a very shallow layer of seeds, very few in this case, and the rest pellets. Only feed them twice a day, morning and evening. Birds do not need food constantly in dishes unless they are weaning babies which these are not. Once the changeover is complete, do not feed seeds again as they will starve themselves waiting for you to put them in, so when you start the real changeover, put just a very few in bottom of dishes(not enough to fill up on) and the rest pellets and/or birdy bread mix that Harrison's carries.

Also, the pellets need to be organic with no preservatives and/or colors like the Harrisons.While doing the changeover, leave out sunflower seeds, peanuts and any other type of pellet that may be in seed mix. What you are striving for here is them eating a high quality diet. Veggies need to be organic and the dark green leafy lettuces(no spinich), dark yellow and orange, squash and baked sweet potato. For fruit, maybe a little bit of chopped apple maybe one time a week and that's it.Feed no more than 10% of the diet in veggies/fruit and while changing over, keep them hungry and feed treats later after they eat enough pellets.

As for brick wall, this can poison the birds. Even though they appear to not be eating it, they are getting some of it in their mouths and eventually swallowing it. Cement and brick are poison, so keep birds either caged or on perches in your work room.

The Cockie who has been plucking needs toys made with 100% cotton rope with some of the rope hanging down so she can preen it. Wooden toys are best as birds like to chew on them. We make ours using wooden pieces strung onto 1/4" cotton rope. This will help with the plucking problem as well as getting rid of the seed diet and feeding only twice a day.


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