Feeding cage birds can be
frustrating. Numerous sources of information suggest various feeding strategies for
pet birds. It is often difficult to decipher what is best for your pets. Generally,
formulated diets meet most avian nutritional requirements. However, there does not
exist a pelleted diet nutritionally complete for all pet birds. Feeding a monomorphic
bland diet as the sole food is not recommended. Additionally, it is also irresponsible
to feed only seed. A variety of foods should be fed to pet birds. It is recommended
that birds are fed the following proportions of foods:
- 25% seed mix
- 25% pelleted diet
- 25% dry-foods such as cereals,
fat free crackers, etc
- 25% greens which include
leafy greens for smaller species and fruit and vegetables for the larger species
- All birds require a source
of calcium: mineral block, cuttlebone, oyster shell, powdered milk, calcium tablets,
calcium liquids, etc.
- Grain eating birds (pigeons,
poultry, finches) require grit to aid in food digestion. Parrots may be offered small
amounts (1/4-1 teaspoon) 3-4 times per year.
- Some species, Lories, Mynahs,
Fruit doves, Toucans, Birds of Paradise; must strictly be fed diets low in iron.
Pelleted diets that are recommended include: Scenic, Lafeberís, Mazuri, Pretty Bird,
Kaytee Exact, Zu Preem.
Dry foods and carbohydrates
Offer pasta, (cooked or uncooked), cooked rice and cereals such as Kix, Cheerios,
Chex and Grape Nuts, Carrís Table Water crackers, couscous, Kasha, etc.
Some seed mixes may include Volkmanís small hookbill super, Vitabird, Kaytee
Perch Mate and Kaytee Fiesta.
Offer dark leafy greens such as: kale, bok choy, endive, spinach, carrot tops, radish
tops, broccoli, collard greens, mustard greens and herbs. Suspend greens above the
birdís favorite perch with a clothespin or clip to encourage it to investigate the
Other items small hookbills will eat include: human foods low in fat, sugar and salt
are also acceptable. Vitamins such as Avicon, Avitron, or Super Preen may be offered.
A cuttlebone and/or mineral block should always be present.