Good Eats for your Pet Bird

It can be hard to be a bird owner these days, because you have so many choices of food, and so much miss-information on what is the right types of foods for your bird. There are also not very many stores or outlets that carry a selection of birds or bird supplies. Don’t get us wrong, the internet can be a great tool but it can be over whelming, miss informing, and tough to purchase the correct bird items off. There is a ton of information out there, some of which is good, and some of which is going to lead you in the wrong direction. In order to really be a good bird owner, and to make sure that you have given yourself every chance to learn about good bird care, you really need to do your research when it comes to nutrition. Doing your research can be the single most important step to making sure that you are giving your bird the best life that you can possible give it.

When it comes to bird nutrition, the important thing to remember is that there are certain things birds CAN eat, and there are certain things that they CAN NOT eat. Getting your bird a basic bird seed is going to be generally okay for your bird, as long as you are getting the right type of seed. You need to be sure what kind of bird it is that you have, and that you make sure that the food is correct for the type of bird you have. To provide your bird with the best nutrition we at Sierra Fish & Pets recommend a diet made of only part seeds. Instead we recommend a diet that consists of a maintenance pellet that is more nutritionally balanced. We carry several types of maintenance diet form Harrisons and Zupreme. These foods are the best type of foods that you can give your bird. You must however work your bird towards a maintenance pellet. Very rarely will birds that leave a breeder or store be already eating a maintenance diet. You must wean you bird into a maintenance pellet. To do this we recommend offering both seed and maintenance at first and then gradually reducing the seed once you know that your bird is eating the maintenance diet. Some of the maintenance diets we carry can have some seeds already mixed into the bags, so these can be great transition foods. As mentions before make sure to match the foods and pellet size with the correct type of bird it is that you have.

You can also feed your bird other things as well. There are lots of choices that are good for birds, including millet sprays and food sticks that have been fortified with vitamins and minerals so you can make sure your bird is getting a more complex diet then just seed and the right nutrition levels. Another thing that you can do is make sure that you give your bird plenty of fresh things that they would normally find outside in tropical environment, grains, fruits, and certain vegetables are things that can be good for your particular species of bird. Remember anytime you are giving your bird something raw and natural, such as fruits or grains, you should research your type of bird and make sure what you are planning on giving is safe. You can contact us at Sierra Fish & Pets for suggestions or check out our article on what to avoid feeding birds. Most of the raw fruits you will buy are going to be great for birds, but you have to be sure that you know your particular bird first, as there are some birds that cannot handle certain things. When in doubt, or if you can not find a definite answer on whether or not what you’re giving your bird is save or not, don’t give it to your bird. That could be very dangerous.

Bird Basic Care

Supplies

The Right Cage

Ask us a recommendation as different birds need different cages. Here are some must-haves:

➣ The cage must be big enough for your bird to stretch his/her wings comfortably and fly in the case of smaller birds.

➣ The cage must be made from nontoxic (nonpoisonous) material.

➣ The cage base must be so hard that your bird can’t ruin it by chewing.

Cage Location

Make sure the cage can’t be knocked over or fall

➣ Put the cage in an area like a family room, so your pet can be around everyone – birds are very social.

➣ Avoid drafts and kitchens. Kitchen fumes like burnt Teflon from a cooking pan can kill a bird.

Bedding/Lining

➣ Use non-colored newspapers with soy ink, paper towels, or brown paper. Crusher Walnut and Kay cob can be used too

Perches

➣ Get both fat and thin perches – like manzanita branches. This helps birds exercise their feet and prevents pressure sores.

➣ Be Careful when use sandpaper perches, they can hurt your birds feet if not monitored.

➣ Large birds like Amazons or African Grey Birds need a freestanding perch outside the cage.

Food Dishes

➣ Must be attached, and durable so they can’t be tipped over or chewed

Toys

➣ Birds like mirrors and other toys. Make sure all toys are made from nontoxic material.  Interactive toys that are engaging with lots of colors and textures are ideal.  Even bells and chimes can be great too.

 

Chores

Daily

➣ Clean cage of any droppings

➣ Change water once or more if needed

➣ Provide fresh fruits and vegetables, and remove any un-eaten foods.  Replenish when needed.

➣ If your bird is hand-tamed, take him/her out to play for at least an hour each day

Monthly

➣ Breakdown and clean cage with water and a mild soap.  Make sure you rinse well.

➣ Clean off all perches with soap and water.

➣ Mild bleach the water and food cups rinse well

What to Feed Your Bird

Dos

➣ Birds need a balanced diet — with food from all the major food groups

➣ Birds are one type of pet that benefits from eating many “people foods” Make sure they are not seasoned or salted. Plain “people foods “are best.

➣ Birds must have fresh fruit and vegetables daily

Don’ts

➣ Never feed your bird a “seed-only” diet

➣ Never feed your bird houseplants, avocado, cherry pits, rhubarb, apple seeds or raw milk products

Poisons and Dangerous Fumes

➣ Many common household items can hurt or even kill your bird. These include:

➣ Overheated Teflon cookware

➣ Tobacco smoke

➣ Lead paints

➣ Scented candles or incense

➣ Chemical cleaners

➣ Insecticides

➣ Aerosol products

➣ Some houseplants

Trimming Your Bird’s Wings & Nails

Depending on the bird or many variables including diet you may want to bring your bird in about every 3-6 months to get wings and nails trimmed.

Foods for Birds to Avoid

Alcohol

Parrots metabolize alcohol poorly. Alcohol impairs the brain and as the concentration of alcohol increases in the body it can cause depression, respiratory, coma, and death.

Apple seeds

Apple seeds contain cyanide.

Avocado

Contains a toxic chemical, persin, that can cause edema of the throat and chest area, heart muscle failure, fluid-filled lungs and abdomen, and severe cellular damage to cardiac muscle cells and possibly the liver and kidneys.

Caffeine

Central nervous system stimulant. Similar effects as chocolate.

Chocolate

Contains a chemical, theobromine, that stimulates the central nervous system, cardiac and skeletal muscle, promotes diuresis and induces smooth muscle relaxation.

Fruit pits

Contain cyanogenic glycosides resulting in cyanide poisoning.

Junk food (fries, potato chips, doughnuts, fried foods)

A diet high in fat can cause the same problems as in humans: fatty liver disease and high cholesterol leading to cardiovascular disease.

Onions

Onions and garlic contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate. Onions are more of a danger. Birds affected by onion toxicity will develop haemolytic anaemia, where the bird’s red blood cells burst while circulating in its body.

Salt

Parrots cannot metabolize salt the way humans can.

Sugar

A diet high in refined sugar is not recommended for the same reasons as for humans. It may also contribute to an environment within the bird’s digestive tract that encourages the growth of yeast and bacteria.

Basic Bird Care Guide

The caring process on any type of birds starts on the very basic approach. They all need a bird cage with one or more perches and bird feeders to accommodate corresponding bird foods. These are the bird supplies and care information that Sierra Fish and Pets can provide to you by visiting our store:

  • Bird Habitat – this will be the place where the bird will rest and will serve as its daily environment. Bird habitats can be in many types depending on what you like. It can either be:

❖Bird cage
❖Aviary

  • Bird Supplies- these are categorized by the following:

❖ Bird feeders
❖Bird perches
❖Bird toys

  • Bird foods- this will be what your bird’s diets consist of on a daily basis  Diets should consist of about 25-30% seed and 65-70% maintenance diets, less then 5% treats 

Seed diets like standard millet, safflowers, and packaged brand foods like Volkman, or Kaytee

Maintenance Diets- Fruit blend or regular maintenance

Treats-millet spray, treat sticks, dried fruits, veggies etc.  

  • Bird exercise- this will serve as your birds’ daily routine to keep you company. This will also keep your bird healthy and active. Birds are playful in nature, so exercise is not hard to provide.

Climbing ladders
❖Bird toys
❖Playpen
❖Bird baths

 

 Bird Safety- pay attention to you bird’s safety to avoid and keep them away from hazards like:

❖Accidents
❖Physical Harm like plucking
❖Poison foods or air born poisons

Taking care of birds can be quite simple and entertaining as long as you understand what it takes to make your bird happy and healthy. Provide the right care that ensures a long and happy life. Provide the correct care and diet; plenty of new toys to keep your pet bird entertained are just a few of the basics. Get the latest and best information on supplies and care from Sierra Fish and Pets.

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