Well lets look at seeds first. Seeds are an excellent source of calories, a great emergency food that can be stored without refrigeration, and a good source of many vital nutrients. But a bird can't live on seeds alone -- any more than humans can live only on bread or rice -- and have good health. Seeds are a small miracle of nature and do deserve our respect. Sunflower and safflower seeds are two high oil seeds -- about 55 percent fat. Fat is necessary to keep the skin soft and feathers shining. Good small seeds -- millet, canary and groats -- provide plenty of good calories for small birds.
Vitamin A is perhaps the most common vitamin deficiency in birds. A seed-only diet is low in Vitamin A. A lack of vitamin A can cause respiratory illness and other infections plus a gambit of other problems.
Now lets take on the pellet diet. If you want to try a pellet diet first make a checklist of what is important to you: type and quality of ingredients; freshness; the research behind the diet; can you get a free trial sample?. Most pellet manufacturers have an 800-number and will discuss their products with you. Pellets are formulated and manufactured diets that are steamed. Usually clay is used to hold together the ground-up ingredients. Pellets tend to contain less fat and pack fewer calories, but still have the vitamins and nutrients your bird needs.
I know people who have their birds on a pellet diet and they are doing great. Healthy happy birds. I tried to get my birds on pellets (all older, adopted birds) and they hated the pellets. I did everything for a year or more. I even ate the pellets myself, licking my lips and making yummy sounds! My birds would not have anything to do with the pellets no matter what I did to introduce the pellets into their diet. So my birds eat food I cook for them and seeds. I also give them vegetarian formula Missing Link. They are also Happy and Healthy birds.
There is no magic formula for converting birds onto pellets. Some birds accept new foods immediately while others can take weeks, months and even years (and sometimes never). If you want to go the pellet route be consistent and innovative. Birds, like humans, can be reluctant to adopt healthier eating habits.
Organic foods that
are free pesticides and chemicals are also beneficial for your bird's
health. Organic fruits and vegetables, grains, pastas and legumes are
great foods for your birds. You can cook a mix of these foods and freeze
it in small amounts. What is important is that your bird gets a well
balanced diet every day. Lots of fresh purified water and lots of love.
-- Rhubarb and avocado
Remember no single
diet will work for all birds. There are too many things you have to
consider: the species of bird, its age, its past eating habits (good
or bad) and its over all condition. By educating ourselves and trusting
our instincts about good foods, seeds and pellets we can do our best
to see that our birds eat well and wisely.
© 2001, Sandy Gaston. All rights reserved.
10/25/2002 11:44 AM
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