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Feeding Birds

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The Problems

Feeding Passerine and Psittacine Birds

  • Good nutrition contributes to the daily satisfaction and health of your bird as well as the long-term benefits to growth, maturation, reproductive health and defense against disease. These are all hallmarks of good nutrition. 75% of medical problems seen in companion and aviary birds have at least a partial nutritional basis. Until recently the specific nutritional requirements for these birds were unknown.
  • All seed diets (particularly those of only one seed type such as millet of sunflower) or diets heavily supplemented with fruits and vegetables are deficient in certain limiting nutrients such as specific amino acids, vitamins and trace minerals (calcium and sodium).
  • Most readily available fruits and vegetables contain primarily water, carbohydrates and fiber. They are severely deficient in protein, vitamins and minerals. Birds preferentially eat fruits and vegetables because of their high water content instead of dry extruded or pelleted foods and seed mixtures.
  • Bird's often select food items based on content, texture, colour or taste rather than on nutritional content resulting in imbalanced nutrient intakes. Malnourished birds often tend to over eat the food items presented to them. As a result some birds may become habituated or fixated on a specific food item e.g. sunflower, safflower, millet or grapes and oranges. Many of these food items are composed of primarily of carbohydrates and fats and are deficient in vitamins A, D and K.

The Solution

  • Feed a commercially prepared food to provide a nutrient balanced diet. This prevents an imbalanced nutrient intake as pelleted diets prevent selective feeding.
  • When changing the diet of a bird from seeds or fresh human foods to a commercially prepared complete food, the previous foods should be eliminated or substantially restricted to encourage consumption of the complete avian diet.

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