titled this page as Food rather then Diet since diet is still one
of the most controversial subjects in relation to our pet birds.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS PAGE IS MY FEEDING PRACTICES AND MY OPINIONS.
I AM NOT A VET, NOT A NUTRITIONIST. IT WORKS FOR ME!
Years ago, pet
birds were fed an all seed diet with some just being fed sunflower
seeds, not even a variety of seeds. This was often supplemented
with corn. While some birds did seem to live quite well on this
diet, many others had far too many medical problems. At this time,
a few interest groups, looked at how we had formulated diets for
dogs and cats and set to work coming up with one for our birds.
We call these inventions "pellets" While I see the progression
that pellets have made and will admit that pellets have to be more
nutritionally sound then an *all* seed diet, I'm still unsure if they are the total answer. We have so little information on what
most species eat in the wild, how do we come up with protein requirements,
fat requirements, vitamin requirements etc.? I also look at all the
different regions of the world our pet birds come from and wonder
how one diet can do any bird. There would have to be a difference
based on availability, climate needs etc.
I do use some
pellets, especially when weaning babies, but I doubt they make up
much more then 20% of total adult diet.
What I do feed.
I like to use more of home cooked foods. A very important part of
my birds diet is a cooked beans/rice/grains/veggie
mix. There is leeway with this allowing you to do changes, make
it a bit different every time. I will just tell you about my batch
today for some ideas. I started with a 10 bean soup mix (no spices
just beans and lentils) To this I added more Lima beans, Pinto beans,
Black Eyed beans. I cook these *al dente* but make sure they boil
for at least 30 minutes to ensure any bad enzymes in the beans have
been neutralized. Today I cooked the beans with several handfuls
of dried chili peppers. I rinse my bean mix after it is cooked even
at the risk of loosing a few nutrients as it makes the mix look
cleaner, crisper, brighter and more colorful, which my birds appear
to like. To this I added frozen mixed veggies (corn, carrots, peas,
beans) and more frozen corn. I then set about cooking some grains.
I cooked some wheat and some oats, and also some amaranth
and some quinoa.
I also cooked whole wheat macaroni and brown rice and added this
also. I then added some sliced almonds, some pine nuts, and some
sunflower seeds. Voila! That was today's mix. I make a rather large
amount and then divide it up and freeze it in individual day size
freezer bags. This mix may still get changed on different days even
with this base frozen. Some mornings I will add fresh broccoli to
the mix or more carrots or chopped spinach or some chopped up fruit.
A favorite of the birds is the days I add some scrambled egg to
the mix. Some days I will add sprouts other days I will add a handful
of pellets. You can easily vary this.
I use that I believe is very nutritious is sprouts. Sprouts are
called a living food. The sprout mix I use consists of Hulled/Unhulled
Sunflower, Mung beans, Triticale, wheat, Adzuki beans, Buckwheat,
Whole Oat, Safflower, Brown Rice, Garbanzo beans, Whole green peas,
Lentils, Alfalfa Seed, Pumpkin seed, Radish seed, Red Clover seed,
Fenugreek, Spelt, Kamut, Broccoli seed, Amaranth, Mustard seed,
Flax seed, Quinoa and Sesame seed. Because I am motivationally challenged,
I order this sprout mix from BlueSkyAviary
in Alberta. My birds get sprouts about every second day.
I also bake
a birdie bread which is used more as a snack material and they also
get boiled popcorn kernels. That all said, my birds also get some
seed. I feel that seed is important to their mental well being as
well as providing some needed fat.
If you are interested
in learning more about feeding your bird with whole foods I would
like to suggest the book "Feeding Your Pet Bird" by Petra
Burgmann (ISBN 0-8120-1521-5). This is just a small Barron's book
jam packed with good and interesting information explaining all
the nutrients required for health and their relationship with each
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