News for new bird owners: Polly doesn’t want a cracker. Like all animals, birds have special nutritional needs—and since they can’t fly out and forage for their food, they depend on you to provide it.
Bird feeds and seeds are designed to meet the nutritional needs of different birds. This article can help you understand your options and what you can do to make sure that your pet has the best.
Talk to your vet
When you buy your pet bird, research on the nutritional needs and the diet he would probably have if he were in the wild. But be sure to talk to your vet or the local aviary, too. They can recommend a brand and give important advice on the amount of feed, and what fresh foods you can use to supplement anything you get from the store.
Vegetables, fruits and pulses
Birds generally like green vegetables like snow peas, parsley, cucumber, and romaine lettuce. You can also give squash. Never give avocado, which can be quite toxic for birds.
In terms of fruits, you can try giving mango, papaya, orange, kiwi, and apple. Be sure to remove apple seeds (which are also toxic to birds).
Vegetables lose most of their nutrients when cooked. So serve these raw, to preserve all the vitamins and minerals. It also minimizes the risk of exposure to chemicals and preservatives in human food and seasonings.
However, there are some bird treats that do need to be cooked (such as brown rice, barley, oats, and legumes like peas). Just remember to use a stainless steel pan (not a non-stick pan—birds are sensitive to the chemicals these release).
Introduce new food one at a time
Don’t barrage your bird’s digestive system with too many new foods at one given time. It’s best to introduce them slowly, so you can monitor for adverse reactions and also to give your pet a chance to adjust to the diet.
Food and hygiene
Fresh food is great, but it also attracts pests and bacteria. Be sure to change the dishes every day, and to regularly clean the cage of any bits and crumbs that can fall to the floor. Wash the feeding dish or tray to remove any food particles that can be clinging to the surface. And, as always, make sure there’s plenty of clean water.
Photo from meerablu.com