In the wild parrots are opportunistic feeders thus eating a wide variety of foods. In the home, a range of foods from each of these groups should be offered. Only 10% of parrot diet should be nuts and seeds.
- Fruit and vegetables – cooked or raw, often better accepted initially grated or chopped. Wash well first. Watercress, dandelions, lettuce, spinach, carrots, apples, pears, oranges, corn on the cob, chickweed, sprouting seeds (soak good quality seeds such as wheat, mustard, cress, bean sprouts and peas in water for 12 – 24 hours until they sprout).
- Fruit trees and berries – in general those that are safe for people to eat can be offered to birds. Branches and twigs from these plants also provide gnawing exercise.
- Seed – Sunflower, safflower, pine nuts and peanuts are all very high in fat and low in calcium and vitamin A and should only be fed in very limited quantities if at all. Millet, oats, hemp, maize and peppers can also be fed. Husks should be removed.
- Meat and dairy produce – cooked meat (especially bones), fish canned cat and dog food and cheese can all be fed in small doses.
- Other – Bread, toast, pasta and other table scraps also help add variety to the diet. Cuttlefish and oyster shell provide additional sources of nutrients.
- Supplements – All home-based diets should be supplemented with vitamin/mineral mixtures such as “Avimix” made by Vetark. Young birds should also receive extra calcium (we recommend “Nutrobal”). Birds that still have a high proportion of seeds in their diet should be supplemented with “ACE-high” which contains the extra vitamins required.
The main thing to remember if feeding a home-based diet is to provide plenty of variety – not only is this essential to provide different nutrients, but will also keep your bird entertained and reduce boredom.
Many birds which have been fed a seed diet all their lives become very suspicious of new food items – time and patience are required to convince them to eat a healthier diet.