I want to try to feed my parakeet more variety, especially berries for glucose. I actually have a couple of different questions pertaining to this topic. First, I have read that many people’s birds want food after they’ve seen you eat it. Is that really true? Second, how would I go about eating in front of my birds (I can’t bring them into the kitchen because some of the people I live with are allergic)? And third, what kinds of berries should I give them? Any other fruits even? My birds have a hard time eating and trying new things because the pet store they were in didn’t give the much besides food and water.
I agree with just about everything kellianne said, with just a few exceptions. For one thing, there are certain circumstances when parakeets can overeat and get overweight. Getting a gram scale and keeping track of your bird’s weight is a good idea, as is having regular yearly checkups with an avian vet. Your vet will help you determine the best healthy weight for your bird, and if she is overweight, you may need to modify her diet or restrict her access to seeds or pellets, just as far as necessary to bring her back to a healthy weight.
The other circumstance when you would restrict a bird’s food is if a female parakeet starts getting hormonal and laying eggs. Egg laying is dangerous behavior that you want to prevent if possible, and one way to do that is to regulate food intake. Birds are more likely to lay eggs when there is a lot of surplus food available.
As for good bird treats, my favorite treat for my birds is a sort of compote I make for them that they love. My birds eat Harrison’s Adult Lifetime Fine pellets (the “kibble” Kelli was talking about), and that’s the basis of this mix. I take pellets and mix them with Beech Nut baby food, one of the blends that is only fruit or vegetable and water. I toss in some thawed frozen blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, and add a little bit of Naked Fruit Juice, which is an all-natural juice drink that’s full of antioxidants. I mash all of it together until the pellets are nice and soft, then smear it into half of a fresh, hollowed-out green pepper, and sprinkle seeds on top. It took a few tries, but now my budgies really love it. It also refrigerates well, which will be nice if you only have one parakeet, instead of my eight. =) Remember to be patient and keep trying, it may take awhile, but he will eventually try new foods and like them.
Healthy Food for your Parakeet
The native parakeet grew up in the grasslands of Australia, living in eucalyptus trees. Those grasslands provided the parakeets what they needed to live. They would eat the fresh greens, the fruits and berries they found there, and the seeds that came in the fall.
So while parakeet seed is ONE part of what a parakeet’s diet should have in it, it is definitely not ALL, and a parakeet raised solely on parakeet seed will have some form of malnutrition. Even the fortified seeds you find in stores are usually fortified with a powder sprinkled on the outside of the seed. Since a parakeet hulls its seeds before eating them, leaving behind that outer shell, the fortification does little good.
The Association of Avian Veterinarians recommends the following diet for a parakeet:
50% cooked beans, whole wheat bread, cooked rice, pasta, and seed
45% fresh broccoli, carrots, yams, spinach, dandelion greens, other green/orange fruits and veggies
5% eggs, tuna packed in water, well cooked meat
Parakeets are lactose-intolerant and cannot eat a lot of dairy product. Also, parakeets are HIGHLY allergic to chocolate and avocados and should never be given either. Junk food such as pretzles, potato chips, etc. aren’t good for a parakeet either! You can feed a parakeet fresh fruit such as apples and cherries, but be careful about the seeds as those have toxins in them. Lettuce is fine, but it really has no nutrients in it. It’s better to give them other, healthier greens.
Parakeets do NOT overeat. If anything, people tend to give them too little food, thinking a seed cup is full when really it’s just full of the hulls of the seeds the parakeet has already eaten. Be sure to refill your parakeet’s food supply daily and to give him or her lots of fresh foods too.
Just like most people feed their cats and dogs “kibble” (processed pellets) instead of their natural foods (rabbits, rats, etc.) some people also feed their parakeets “kibble”. The kibble is nutritionally balanced and a great way to meet all of the parakeet’s food requirements easily. Some parakeets love kibble, others are convinced they want to eat “real food”. Whichever way you go, be sure to give your parakeet a diet that is balanced and healthy.
You’ll find millet in many pet stores. This is very high in fat and is a treat for parakeets. It should only be fed to them occasionally. Parakeets in the wild certainly did not have millet year-round!
This Site Might Help You.
I want to try to feed my parakeet more variety, especially berries for glucose. I actually have a couple of different questions pertaining to this topic. First, I have read that many people’s birds want food after they’ve seen you eat it. Is that really true? Second, how would I go about…
You can give them any kind of berry, also give them veggies they are more important. Berries have to much natural sugar. But you can also mix it in a dish together and if they won’t eat it ( it may take months to get them to eat it but be patient ) try mixing a little seed in with it. Also have a dish for yourself, set the dish where they can see you and the dish and eat little pieces and say mmmm. This does work for some birds. I have used it on parrotlets. Try different methods of presenting the food. Cut up small, cut up large, hang on a skewer made just for birds or clip to the side of the cage with a close pin that opens and closes. Try corn that is one they like, peas, raw and cooked carrots. But stay away from chocolate, avocados caffeine and to much salts or fats. You can also make bird breads and put fruits and veggies in that. I buy pro grow bird bread off the internet. They love it as I cook it and grind it up then mix more veggies in with it. You are a smart to try to feed a better diet than seed or pellets. I use seed not pellets because there is evidence they hurt birds livers. Good luck.
Many birds are picky eaters. Your best bet is to keep trying with the greens. Try cutting them into different shapes, sizes and containers or clips. It may take a while but keep trying. My cockatiel will only eat carrots when placed in a certain little dish otherwise she ignores them. Entertain them by “hiding” food so he has to search for things. Finding surprise treats is a blast for them. Take a finished paper towel roll and place lil bits of seed or treats inside. Use masking tape and tape the ends. Poke a tiny hole in the top and watch your keet peck and “hunt” for his food. Good luck