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Birds + Nutrition

  • As with all other animals, birds need a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. Lovebirds are vulnerable to vitamin A deficiency, insufficient dietary calcium, egg-binding, and other nutrition-related problems. Seeds are highly palatable and preferred by birds, but nutritionally they are incomplete, lacking vitamins, minerals, and protein. Fruits, vegetables and greens should account for no more than 20-25% of the daily diet. The recommended diet for lovebirds is pelleted food formulated for birds and should ideally represent approximately 75-80% of the bird's diet. Converting seed-eating birds onto a formulated diet is not always easy. Consult your veterinarian if you encounter any problems with this transition or with the health of your bird. In general, a bird that is eating 75-80% of its diet in the form of pelleted food does not need supplements. Lovebirds do not need gravel or grit because they remove the outer hull of the seed before ingesting the kernel.

  • As with all other animals, birds need a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. Macaws are vulnerable to high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, stroke, vitamin A deficiency, insufficient dietary calcium, egg-binding, and other nutrition-related problems. Seeds are highly palatable and preferred by birds, but nutritionally they are incomplete, lacking vitamins, minerals, and protein. Fruits, vegetables, and greens should account for no more than 20-25% of the daily diet. Pellets are the ideal diet and should ideally represent approximately 75-80% of the bird's diet. Converting seed-eating birds onto a formulated diet is not always easy. Consult your veterinarian if you encounter any problems with this transition or with the health of your bird. In general, a bird that is eating 75-80% of its diet in the form of pelleted food does not need supplements. Macaws do not need gravel or grit because they remove the outer hull of the seed before ingesting the kernel.

  • Mynah birds eat a variety of foods and have relatively short digestive tracts when compared with other parrots. Mynah birds are not seed-eaters in the wild and are omnivorous. Provide your mynah bird with bite-sized pieces of food. Mynah birds are very sensitive to iron levels in their food; therefore, they must be offered pelleted food that is low in iron and certain fruits and vegetables must fed sparingly or not at all. Mynah birds may occasionally enjoy pinky mice or insects such as mealworms, wax worms, crickets and other insects Mynah birds do not require grit or gravel for proper digestion.

  • Our knowledge of bird nutrition is constantly evolving. This is due both to heightened awareness of the importance of nutrition and to increased research into birds different needs. As with all other animals, birds need a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. Different species of birds often require different foods.

  • Our knowledge of bird nutrition is constantly evolving. This is due both to heightened awareness of the importance of nutrition and to increased research. As with all other animals, birds need a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals and water.

  • Our knowledge of bird nutrition is constantly evolving. This is due both to heightened awareness of the importance of nutrition and to increased research into birds different needs. As with all other animals, birds need a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. Different species of birds often require different foods.

  • It is suggested that a selection of various fruits and vegetables be fed to your bird every day. A good source of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, fresh produce should comprise no more than 15-30% of the diet. Bright yellow, red, and orange vegetables and fruits, including bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, mango, papaya, and cantaloupe, all contain a great deal of vitamin A which is a critical nutrient in a birds’ diet.

  • Hand-raised babies usually make better pets, as they have been completely socialized with humans. Hand-feeding is a job best left for the experienced bird breeder or aviculturist. If you’re considering hand-feeding a baby bird, you should contact your local bird breeder or veterinarian for help. A chick may be removed from the parents any time before weaning, but many suggest leaving the babies with the parents for up to 3 weeks. Precise temperature and humidity is essential for optimum growth of newly hatched birds. Generally, the temperature can be lowered by one degree every 2-3 days as feathering progresses. If you are raising a chick, always monitor your bird for signs of overheating or chilling. Poor growth or poor digestion (delayed crop emptying) may indicate poor health (including presence of gastrointestinal tract infections), improper consistency/mixing of hand feeding formula, improper temperature of formula, or improper environmental temperature and humidity. There are numerous commercially available hand-feeding formulas for baby birds. All food must be prepared fresh for every feeding. Food retained from one feeding to another is an ideal medium for the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast. Any food prepared or heated in a microwave oven must be mixed thoroughly to ensure that the food’s temperature is uniform. Food that is too hot may cause severe burns to the crop. Food that is too cold may be rejected by the babies or may slow down digestion. The frequency of feeding for young birds is greater than that of older birds. The best indication of a healthy, growing chick is a good, strong feeding response at every feeding, with the crop emptying between feedings, and the regular production of droppings (feces). Weight gain should be monitored and recorded at the same time each day using a scale that weighs in grams with 1-gram increments to detect subtle increases or decreases. As a bird gets older and develops a full complement of feathers, it should be encouraged to wean off formula and to eat more on its own. Birds should be offered a variety of foods, including formulated pelleted diets, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, at this time to encourage their exploration and experimentation. As this food introduction continues, hand-feeding may be withheld at certain times. All feeding utensils must be cleaned, disinfected, and dried thoroughly between feedings.

  • Feathers insulate to maintain body temperature and protect birds from the elements and play an important role in aerodynamics and flying. Feathers need to be removed or fall out to stimulate new feather growth. Therefore, to keep itself in fine feather, a bird needs to molt each year to get rid of old or damaged feathers. In the wild, molting corresponds with the change of seasons or the changing day length. Other factors influencing the timing of molting include temperature and available nutrition, as well as the bird’s general health and reproductive state. Pet birds are not exposed to seasonal light and daylight length fluctuations in our homes that would mimic seasons. Pet birds’ exposure to varied light cycles may lead to irregular, incomplete, long or short molts.

  • Obesity is a major problem in older birds on seed-based diets and can contribute to diseases such as atherosclerosis (fat deposits in major arteries) and fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis). Unlike their wild counterparts, pet birds are not given as much opportunity for daily exercise. Pet birds often burn off very few calories in their daily lives. Many bird owners incorrectly feed their pet birds by offering a diet consisting mostly, or totally of high-fat seeds. Obese birds are extremely susceptible to heart attacks and strokes and have a higher anesthetic risk than normal-weight birds. Switching birds from all-seed diets to a more suitable diet consisting mainly of pellets, with smaller amounts of fresh vegetables and fruit, will decrease its overall daily intake of calories.