I believe in a well balanced diet. Honestly I do. When it comes to parrots it’s very difficult to pin point what exactly is a well balanced diet. Maybe in a ten years we’ll have a better understanding of what they eat in the wild and how to incorporate that in what we feed them in our homes. For now, we have to work with what we’ve got.
These days every magazine you open, every show you watch is screaming- “Eat healthier! Eat more fruits and vegetables”. I don’t know about you, but I always thought there’s a bit more to a healthy eating than going after a bowl of fruits like there’s no tomorrow.
My father is a chronic heart patient, he had a massive heart attack a decade ago. I was with him in the car when it happened. I was just kid. With that one blow, it left only 30% of his heart working. Soon after that, he was diagnosed with diabetes. Few years after the heart attack, I was with my mum talking to my dad’s cardiologist while my dad was being prepared for yet another heart stent surgery. That was his third and to knock on wood, his last to date. She was all teared up asking how is it possible his health just isn’t improving when though we are all eating healthy. She was right. We were eating more greens than your average rabbit, only ate hole grains, chicken and fish. I really don’t like fish. Never did. Never will. The doctor answered ” If only eating healthy would be enough to get healthier, I would be out of a job!” His answer did help her, she was no longer all teared up, she was confused. He said that we should eat things our body needs, more than just items labeled heathy. Not everyone has same deficiencies, not everyone has same needs. We do, how ever, all have to eat better and listen to our body while doing it.
I’ve always had those words of wisdom in the back of my head and the same principle can be used when feeding our birds. It’s not only about the food we give them, it’s also about enriching their lives. A balanced diet and enrichment are not two mutually exclusive terms, they go hand in hand, making our feathered companions healthy.
Different species of parrots = different habitats = different nutrition
Some parrot species in the wild eat seeds as a part of their diet. Indian Ringnecks are one of those types of parrots; along with flowers, fruits, nuts they also eat seeds and seeds should not taken away from their diet. Budgies and Cockatiels also eat seeds in the wild, along with many other “grass parakeets”. Now, when I say seed I do not mean your regular garden variety seed mix you get from your local pet store. These parrots eat grass seeds. I have read many studies that all suggest the same thing- grass seeds are very beneficial for health of our feathered friends. I will discuss this topic in detail in my next post.
I always try to feed my parrots a lot of fresh foods. This is why I love summer so much- a lot of fresh items, readily available, locally grown. No need for chopping or any other preparation. I love seeing them shred jalapeno peppers and carrots to little pieces. Very enriching for them. I’m also a big fan of the Chop movement and I applaud the work Patricia Sund has done and is doing, trying to teach parrot owners around the globe how to feed their parrots better, on daily basis. She has made wonderful how-to videos that are super easy to follow. Sharing information is vital to help other parrot owners provide the best care possible to their parrots. Knowledge you do not share is dead knowledge.
Fresh flowers, herbs and branches are a wonderful addition to parrots diet. I know not everyone has an opportunity to get fresh branches from bird safe trees, but many safe and healthy flowers you can grow on a balcony. Flowers and herbs have so many benefits, not only for their physical health, but they also provide a stimulating and enriching environment.
A balanced diet, in my book, first and foremost means trying to educate your self on what do your parrots eat in the wild. From there you can build up and create a wonderful pallet of healthy items, knowing in what direction to go. It really isn’t that difficult. Just take it one step at a time.