The Exotic Vet

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For the Birds

One of my friends was talking to me today to see if there was a cheaper bird food that she could buy for her parrot. She said that she spends about $35.00 each month and is almost completely running out of food by the end. I told her that I had no idea why she was running out of food so fast and to take a picture of her food dishes when she got home and tell me how often she refills it. The text message I got later on showed a fairly large stainless steel food dish piled high with pellets and a caption saying that this was dumped out and replaced every single day. No wonder she was running out!

I commend my friend for feeding her parrot a pelleted diet instead of seeds but she was feeding entirely too much. There is some myth that you must never let your birds food bowl run dry otherwise they will starve because of their high metabolisms. Of course they do have very high metabolisms and cannot go for long without food but it is ok that the food bowl gets low by the end of the day. You should only be feeding your bird as much as it can eat in a single day and no more. Why? Well first of all this saves you money. You will not go through nearly as much food if you do this and it will reduce the amount of food that you have to buy. Second, many birds will not pick through crumbs and food to the bottom of the dish. You will fill the bowl up completely but the bird will not dig to the bottom to get to more of the food. While this is more of an issue with seeds which have hulls that tend to build up some birds only pick at their pellets and throw the rest back in the bowl. Finally only feeding your bird what it needs in a day will prevent it from getting overweight. So many parrots I see are chunky because they just sit in their cage and gorge all day.

Remember that pellets alone do not make a complete diet and you must include fresh vegetables in your parrot’s diet. But keeping your bowl far from filled to the top will help save you cash in the long run.