White Eyed Conure loves his seed - are pellets really better?

by Karen
(East Lansing)

My baby Gabriel! ( White eyed Conure )

My baby Gabriel! ( White eyed Conure )

I have had my conure parrot (Gabriel) for five years now. He is healthy and happy bird and has never been sick (thank God!). I keep reading how your bird should be on a pellet diet and I am wondering if I really need to get him off the seeds that he loves so much! I also give him veggies, fruit and nuts. Since everything is (and has been) great with Gabriel, I am wondering if I really need to take away his seed and convert him to pellets. I feel like, "If it aint' broke, don't fix it", but am I wrong?
Thank You.

Comments for White Eyed Conure loves his seed - are pellets really better?

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Nov 01, 2009
Yes, pellets are better fthan seeds for your bird
by: The Vet

Yes, your bird should be eating pellets, but that does not mean he can?t have some seeds as treats. Pellets should make up 80% of the diet. The other 20% can be seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables, and any other treats.

Your bird should be taken in to see the avian veterinarian on an annual basis. He needs a physical exam, blood work, fecal exam, and vaccinations. The best time to take him in is when he is healthy. This will give your Dr. the opportunity to screen your bird for problems that you can?t, and to establish normal values for comparison if he is ever sick. My point is you cannot look at your bird and tell if he is completely healthy. Birds are masters at hiding their signs of illness. When you can tell that your bird is sick, then he has been sick for 2-3 days, and can no longer pretend.

So, nutritional disease is the same thing. You cannot look at your bird and tell he has nutritional deficiencies. I can because I have seen so many birds. The ones that come to me on seeds and fresh foods always show a protein deficiency. They also always show a vitamin A deficiency. Pellets are important because they provide a COMPLETE and BALANCED diet. Seeds are deficient in more than 35 essential nutrients.

Even supplementing with fresh foods do not provide all of the nutrients or even nutrients in balanced ratios. Nutritional deficiencies do not show up immediately. They take time to cause problems; years in some cases. But if your bird is deficient in Vitamin A, then he is very susceptible to bacterial infections and in times of stress, say during molt, the chances are even higher. But, vitamin A deficiency will also cause kidney failure. Bids do not show signs of kidney disease until 76% of the kidneys are bad. At 70-75%, there are no clinical signs. So when you see signs of kidney failure, it is too late. This is just one example. You can prevent this by feeding balanced diet ? i.e. Pellets.

There is not way one can balance the diet without pellets. Feeding a variety of foods does not guarantee that your bird will eat all of the food you give, nor that he will eat the same things and the same amounts everyday. Nutritionists have developed these diets over years of research and are much better at determining a bird?s needs than we are, even me as a veterinarian. So I feed pellets. The birds that come to me eating pellets, like Harrison's, NEVER show nutritional problems. Bird that are on seeds and other non-pellet diets ALWAYS show some level of nutritional deficiencies. The younger birds exhibit fewer, the older ones more.

Dr B

Oct 30, 2009
are pellets really better?
by: Linda

Thanks for writing, and it is very good that your bird is healthy, and that you are taking such good care of him. You are a good example of a loving parrot owner.

Yes, the pelleted diet is better than an all seed diet. Your bird is very young, and we don't see the damage from the all seed diet until they are older which is why you have a great opportunity here to do what is really the best for him. Harrison's is a high quality, organic pellet and is the best on the market today. They use a cold extrusion method in preparing their pellets which leaves in all the vitamins and minerals. They also make a very tasty and readily accepted Birdy Bread Mix that is quick and easy to bake up, stores in refrigerator for up to a week and in freezer for up to 6 months. We have two Amazons and bake it up, let it cool and cut up pieces that are enough for a day or two, wrapped in clear saran wrap and then all the packages are double bagged in zip lock or some type of freezer bags. The individual wraps are then easy to take out for thawing, and there is enough for another day. We give them some every other day as treat food, and they love it. Be sure and buy the Sunshine Factor organic Red Palm Oil to go in it, and it calls for two whole eggs and some water.

The change from seeds to pellets takes some time, and the Bread will help with it. Most birds love the Birdy Bread, and its base is same as the pellets. Tracie carries Harrisons products out here, and many people feed this pellet. We've been feeding it for many, many years from back when we could buy it only through an Avian Vet. Now, everyone is fortunate enough to be able to get it much easier.

Here is a link for more information about going from seeds to pellets:

Switching Birds to Pellets article

This is an article written by an Avian Vet and tells you all the reasons for the change plus how to go about it successfully. It is done gradually, so do not get in a big hurry as that is not necessary.

Again, thank you for writing, and we are here to support each other in getting and keeping our birds in the best of health for long and healthy lives.


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