“Nutrition is the single most important aspect of bird care. Nutrition impacts the health, longevity, appearance and behavior of birds in captivity.”
- Clinical Avian Medicine
Here are the common options, followed by Harrison's Bird Foods - our recommended choice.
A diet of seeds (even if they are vitamin fortified) simply does not meet the bird's basic nutritional requirements. Commonly fed seeds are deficient in at least 32 essential nutrients. As early as 1923, scientists observed health deficiencies in caged parrots that were fed seed diets, yet these diets continue to be fed to this day. Birds that eat seeds may be difficult to convert to a healthier diet.
• Many seeds contain high levels of pesticides and preservatives
• Seed quality/freshness may be questionable
• Birds tend to selectively “sort” and eat only their favorite seed
• Seeds may be artificially colored • May stimulate aggression, featherpicking and chronic egg laying
SHOULD IT BE LEFT UP TO THE BIRD?
do not exhibit nutritional wisdom when selecting dietary ingredients;
they show a preference for high energy, lipid-rich seeds, high
carbohydrate seeds and fruits.” -Clinical Avian Medicine
FRUIT, VEGETABLE, TABLE FOOD & COOKING
Fruits and/or vegetables contribute little or nothing to the 32 missing essential components of a seed diet.
These items are not a balanced and wholesome food for pet birds as they consist mainly of water and celulose and have low content of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. They are highly perishable and often highly contaminated with pesticides and herbicides.
Diets that regularly include "people food" or leftovers are not just simply lacking in nutrition, they can be downright bad for birds. Birds should not be fed things like meat, chicken bones, potato chips, pizza, pasta or beans, which often have excessive fat, salt, caffeine, MSG, refined sugar or refined flour. Table foods may stimulate aggression, featherpicking and chronic egg laying.
“Presenting a bird with an array of fresh
produce, seeds and nuts does not necessarily provide a nutritionally
balanced diet. Commonly fed seeds are deficient in a number of
nutrients. Much of the (grocery) produce is sold in its immature state
of growth, and even when mature, it does not have the equivalent
nutrient profiles of wild food items. Thus such produce is unable to
improve the nutrient profile of the diet.”
Pellets and kibbles made from fine-milled, bleached flours, meals and byproducts may be uniform in appearance, however the nutritional value of these diets is questionable. Artificially coloring is a marketing tool that is incorporated solely to impress bird-owners.
an article published by the Wall Street Journal, Randall Brue, Kaytee's
Nutritional Biochemist and Head of Research, stated, "Birds don't care
much about color, flavor or the shape of their food ... but their owners