It is true that some parrots are seed-eaters in their natural habitat, but these birds are able to balance their diet because of the large numbers of seeds variety they find. Seed-diets in captivity lead to malnutrition and weakening as it is not possible to offer the variety of food as in the wild. Therefore, they became deficient in some vitamins, minerals and amino-acids.
A formulated diet with additional vegetables, fruit and limited amount of seeds and nuts will improve the health and feather quality of your pet parrot, and additionally it can be used as part of the bird’s enrichment.
Once your avian vet ensures that your parrot is healthy enough for a conversion, there is a collection of useful tricks that might be helpful to make them eat the suggested healthy diet.
- You will need perseverance and patience as some birds might ignore the new food for days, weeks or months before finally giving it a try.
- If the food is not fresh enough for you, it is not fresh enough for your bird.
- Mix the old and the new food, and gradually over weeks decrease the amount of the old diet.
- Parrots are social eaters by nature. Allow the bird to see other cage mates or people at home eating the new diet. You can also try placing a mirror on the floor and scatter food over it.
- As they are naturally curious, be enthusiastic as you pick up a new food item, savour it and then quickly offer some to him.
- Your parrot will have a better appetite when his home environment is stress free. In the wild, the flock waits to eat until they are sure the environment is free of predators.
- Remove all perches except the one by the food.
- Try to use the new diet as a treat or enrich the cage making food fun by winding greens through the bars or leaf bathing with large, wet leaves on the top of the cage.
When all of this fails, maybe it is a good idea to keep him in the hospital to convert there. Birds will easily accept new food in a new environment.
Always remember it will be important that your veterinarian will need to check the parrot’s weight, droppings and health regularly during the conversion.
With thanks to Dr Lourdes Lavilla D.V.M, Modern Veterinary Clinic. Call 04-3953131 or visit www.vetdubai.com for more information.