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Discussion Starter #1
Any other parrot owners out there?
Now that I've made the switch to raw, I have to wonder if it's bad for my parrot to eat a pelleted diet? She eats a lot of different varieties of Zupreem, and she also gets fresh veggies and fruit.

Sometimes I buy and feed this stuff as well, but it's really expensive:
All Bird Toys nutritious healthy food treats gifts parts
 

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I've had parrots for 6 years (budgies and lovebirds) but I also fostered couple conures, cockatiels and an amazon. They are very inquisitive creatures and definitely bring a lot of happiness (and mess) into a household.

Diet wise, I would say if youre looking for something equivalent to dog raw diet it would be fresh blend of various seeds, sprouted seeds, nuts, berries/fruits/veggies. If you buy premixed seeds, make sure that theyre not preserved with Ethoxyquin or BHA/BHT or have artificial colors.

I'm not a fan of Zupreem, its mostly made of corn sorta like an equivalent of Science Diet. Its been couple years since I owner birds so I'm sure theres more variety now, but I used to feed Harrisons pellets which is organic food and decent quality.
Harrison's Bird Foods is a family of certified organic pet bird diets that were formulated to make your bird as healthy as it can possibly be.

As far as a seed mixes go, I would buy simple blends without additional vitamins/minerals added because they are pretty much pointless since the seed is coated during process and when the bird hulls the seed, they do not consume those supplements. I had pretty good results with Volkman brand:
Volkman Bird Seed: WindyCityParrot.com, Bird Food, Parrot Food, Parrot Cages,Bird Cages, Aviaries, Bird Toys

I have also bought Higgins, which is a basic seed mix, but very affordable:
Higgins Food: WindyCityParrot.com, Bird Food, Parrot Food, Parrot Cages,Bird Cages, Aviaries, Bird Toys

You can find raw unsalted seeds/nuts in bulk at health food stores which is cheaper then buying from speciality places, I would give these to my larger guys few times a week as a treat.

Smaller parrots always enjoy millet spray, I used to get it in bulk because the ones at chain petstores are very thin/flimsy looking.

Another thing parrots love is cooked foods, again, you can make your own blend, I've used Beak Appetite brand with little birds because it lasted a while, but for larger parrots it would make more sense to make your own.

Even in the morning I woud have some leftover oatmeal (no sugar or milk), so I would chop up some apples, add raisins and walnuts and give it to my birds which they absolutely loved. They would make a huge mess, but it was their favorite treat.

As I mentioned before, sprouting is very healthy and beneficial to birds health, mine would run around the floor and nibble on the grass I've grown for my cats. But I would reccomend getting a seeds specificially designed for sprouting and make a fresh batch, they tend to go bad very fast, so its important to research on how to properly grow/store them.
heres one of the many articles:
Sprouting For Healthier Birds

As far as general feeding guidelines go, its more of a personal choice what you want to feed, I always relied on philosophy of giving my pets a lot of variation, they always had access to pellets in the cage, but in the evening when I let them out to fly, I put the seed dishes out and they would snack for an hour or so. Birds are prone to obesity, fatty liver disease, cancer among other things and its mostly due to the high fat content in seed diets and lack of exercise. Also since some of the birds I've gotten were in rough shape and major seed junkies, I would transition them to pelleted diet in order for them to get the neccessary vitamins/minerals that they would be lacking in seed diet because most parrots are notoriously picky and will only eat the seed that tastes good to them. Once they were healthy again, i would introduce a healthy seed mix, but feed it sparingly in addition to healthy pelleted diet, fruits/veggies, sprouts and cooked foods.

Anyways, hope this helps, feel free to P.M me with any questions. :)
 

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I've never owned parrots, but I'd assume that commercial pellet foods are similar to dog/cat kibble. Nothing's good about processed foods. I'd go for a homemade parrot diet emulating what they'd eat in the wild. Here's some interesting information I found online;

The diet of parrots consists of seeds, fruit, nectar, pollen, buds, and sometimes insects eg cockroaches and to a lesser degree animal prey. Without question the most important of these to most true parrots and cockatoos are seeds. The evolution of the large and powerful bill can be explained primarily as an adaptation to opening and consuming seeds. All true parrots except the Pesquet's Parrot employ the same method to obtain the seed from the husk; the seed is held between the mandibles and the lower mandible crushes the husk, whereupon the seed is rotated in the bill and the remaining husk is removed.[21] A foot is sometimes used to help holding large seeds in place. Parrots are seed predators rather than seed dispersers; and in many cases where species are recorded as consuming fruit they are only eating the fruit to get at the seed. As seeds often have poisons to protect them, parrots are careful to remove seed coats and other fruit parts which are chemically well defended, prior to ingestion. Many species in the Americas, Africa, and Papua New Guinea consume clay which both releases minerals and absorbs toxic compounds from the gut.[22]


Parrots at a clay lick in Ecuador. Consuming clay neutralises toxins in the diet.The lories and lorikeets, Swift Parrot and Philippine Hanging Parrot are primarily nectar and pollen consumers, and have tongues with brush tips to collect this source of food, as well as some specialized gut adaptations to accommodate this diet.[23] Many other species also consume nectar as well when it becomes available.

In addition to feeding on seeds and flowers, some parrot species will prey on animals. Golden-winged Parakeets prey on water snails, and famously the Keas of New Zealand will kill juvenile petrels and even attack and indirectly kill adult sheep.[24] Another New Zealand parrot, the Antipodes Island Parakeet, enters the burrows of nesting Grey-backed Storm-petrels and kills the incubating adults.[25] Some cockatoos and the Kākā will also excavate branches and wood to obtain grubs.

(As the exceprt states, the right diet depends on the species of parrot. What is the species of parrot you have?)

Here are some recipes;

http//:Parrot Food Recipes
 

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Todd- while you are correct in a sense that a varied seed diet is probably more biologically appropriate, its usually not suitable for a pet bird. Wild parrots spend majority of their time flying large distances to find food, therefore a diet thats high in fat is beneficial to them because they always burn off those calories. Most pet parrots unless they live in an aviary setting, lead a very sedentary lifestyle which means that the fat deposits in the body resulting in many health problems. So unless you know the precise nutrient analysis of each type of seed and the exact ammount that the bird is going to consume that required by the body, its very hard to control how much they eat and most importantly what they eat becausse most parrots will gorge on whatever they find palatable, not what is the healthiest.
 

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My grandmother owned lots of big exotic birds when I was growing up, Macaws I remember the best. I don't remember what she used to feed exactly, but I remember her feeding nothing but "raw" or natural diet for them because I loved to help her feed them! I would expect that it would be the best thing for them, just like a natural diet is the best thing for a dog or cat or human :biggrin:

I am considering owning some chickens in the near future, so I plan on doing some research about those! Don't know if that counts LOL :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Oh, and I forgot to say, her breeder told me she never recommended any seed diet because of the ill effects. She was really anti-seed because of Ethoxyquin and addiction.

Todd: I was told to steer clear of a seeded diet from a million different people.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Oh, and Echo (my parrot) is a 5 year old female African Grey. That helps too, I bet.


I am going to buy her some Harrison's right now! Thanks Unosmom! <3
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I LOVE Einstein.
She is awesome.

Echo isn't very picky when it comes to food, really, at least for a grey.

What do you think of the avian naturals stuff?
It is pricey, but she LOVES it.
 

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Looks pretty good, but you can probably get all those ingridients at health food stores in bulk and then blend them together, but would feed it as a side dish since with a lot of these blends the birds will pick and chose what they like or fling the food around which ends up being wasted.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah it's super expensive, but she loves it. I will have to dig around at the health food store.

I am lucky, she's remarkably neat for a parrot, she isn't a big flinger.
 

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Todd- while you are correct in a sense that a varied seed diet is probably more biologically appropriate, its usually not suitable for a pet bird. Wild parrots spend majority of their time flying large distances to find food, therefore a diet thats high in fat is beneficial to them because they always burn off those calories. Most pet parrots unless they live in an aviary setting, lead a very sedentary lifestyle which means that the fat deposits in the body resulting in many health problems. So unless you know the precise nutrient analysis of each type of seed and the exact ammount that the bird is going to consume that required by the body, its very hard to control how much they eat and most importantly what they eat becausse most parrots will gorge on whatever they find palatable, not what is the healthiest.
ok makes sense. I've never had a pet bird so I don't really know much about them. Interesting info. Maybe I should consider getting a bird or parrot. Are they pretty fun to care for?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
ok makes sense. I've never had a pet bird so I don't really know much about them. Interesting info. Maybe I should consider getting a bird or parrot. Are they pretty fun to care for?
They are about one million times harder to take care of than a dog, IMO.
They are very sensitive to a lot of things, like changes in the household, temperature, addition of people or pets (or even plants), food changes etc.
Things like Teflon (the nonstick coat stuff) can kill them if you burn food on it, you have to be extra vigilant about household cleaners and fumes, you never want to let anyone smoke around them...the list goes on and on.

They can also be messy and temperamental.
Echo is extremely well socialized and rather neat for a bird, and she still plucks her feathers out EVERY SINGLE TIME she molts, because she is a drama queen.
 

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Hey spooky,
I also have an African Grey. Lily is 11 years old and I've had her since last summer. She is only a moderately good eater- she loves mash, especially if it is warm but hates wet foods.

I also have a 9 year old Maximilian Pionus a 1 year old Yellow-sided green cheek conure and 8 budgies. Shew!

I'm going to link you to a tutorial for making birdie mash- I really think your grey would love it too, and it's fun to make. It's on a budgie forum but recipe is great for any parrot.
A (Picture) Guide to a Mash Diet - Talk Budgies Forums

This link also has lots of fun recipes:
Land of Vos - Carolyn's Recipes

Here is a video of Lily eating the sweet potato polenta:
YouTube - Lily's sweet potato polenta

One more thing! You should definitely join the Feeding Feathers group on yahoo. Tons of articles on species appropriate diets.

Interestingly, the people there recommend a seed diet for budgies since they are primarily seed eaters in australia, however they encourage you to buy seed from health food stores so you can choose which ones are provided to your bird. Most other parrots eat vegetation and flowers in addition to seed.

If you go with a pellet, Harrisons is the best. I used to feed it but buying Zupreem in bulk is more cost effective with so many birds. I make pellets available all day and feed fresh things in the evening so I can remove it after a couple of hours if they don't finish it.- usually not a problem though!

I think seed has a place in a parrot's diet, though its best to limit their intake and not make it the base of their diet. Also, soaking and/or sprouting can increase the nutritional value. I mostly rely on the mash to provide their seed needs. The budgies get more seed than my other birds since they are in a large indoor flight cage and actually get to fly more than the others in addition to being more naturally granivores.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
OK, I love Lily, just saying.

:D
 

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Wow, that mash recipe looks good enough for people to eat! lol, puts my own diet to shame, today I had a bowl of ravioli and some choc. cake for desert. We should start a threat called " our pets eat better then we do"..lol

Todd- parrots can be great pets, but they are very messy and loud (though this varies). I had 3 lovebirds that screamed all day long, they would literally start up at 5 a.m and would not be quiet until I put them back in the cage and put a cover over it. For a small bird, they have very high pitch, shrill voices, especially in a group. But again, it depends on the type of parrot you get, for example cockatiels are generally quiet birds, but they whistle instead.
Larger parrots tend to be a bit more social/animated, they love their humans and become very attached to them. But dont dismiss small birds, since they can be quite affectionate too. One of the lovebirds that I rescued would snuggle under my chin every night and fall asleep while I was on the couch watching tv. Whenever I would run my errands around the house, she'd just sit on my shoulder the whole time and nibble on my ear. Even birds like budgies (parakeets) can bond with their owner. Interesting story for you. When I was 13, one day I was inside a house cleaning the window, suddenly this bird flew in and frantically began flying around the room and crashing into everything. When finally he stopped, I approached and saw that it was a budgie. I decided to keep him after being unable to located the owner. He really bonded to me and would often sit on my shoulder and whisper in his little budgie voice in my ear. I found out that he knew several words and he soon picked up few more from listening to me talk.
Anyways, one day I left to go swimming with my friends and when I came back, my mom told me that he squeezed out of the cage and flew away, she chased after him and followed him couple blocks down but he dissapeared in the trees. Of course I was devestated and just sat there crying, at the time, maybe an hour has passed since he flew away, so I'm sitting there and I suddenly hear this chirp, I look up and there he is, sitting on a tree over me. My jaw just about dropped, I would never have thought that a bird would be able to come back after flying away so far. So I brought out a little mirror (he was obssesed with mirrors) and once he saw it, he landed on my shoulder and I brought him back inside.

So the moral of the story, never underestimate animals, no matter how small they are.
 

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thanks, I love her too :)
I couldn't have gotten luckier adopting an adult bird.

Unosmom, I've often thought the same thing... my pets eat so much better than I do!
I actually tried the sweet potato polenta and some of the other mixes. They aren't bad, though a little bland.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Is Lily a big talker/singer?

Echo has been singing Feliz Navidad for the past 4 weeks straight. :eek:

I am going to make her some of the sweet potato polenta this weekend, thank you!
I am also going to try making the corn meal flour with baby food mixed in for her.

This is fun!
:D
 

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She isn't a big singer her favorite word lately is "what?" she says it at random and after anyone speaks :p
She whistles along with tv commercials and beeps with the microwave. Says hello when the door is opened or a phone rings.
I've heard her say lots of other things, phrases from her previous homes (I'm her 3rd).
Oh, she likes telling the dogs to "Hush!" when they are whining too :)
Mostly it's just "what" whistles beeps and bodily noises, lol.

I knew she was a funny bird as I was bringing her home, from the carrier I hear buuuuuuurps and farts.

It was really funny getting used to hearing a man's voice coming from a cage in the corner of the room!


Oh- I think I just dumped a bunch of stuff into my polenta too- sprouted chickpeas and milled flax seed and oats. It's really fun stuff!
 
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