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By: Gary Nash
Cockatiel: Merlin


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Directly from the Cage:

Out of the Nest





A good balanced diet is the key to a happy healthy bird, and a long life.

       Part of the bird's diet, your pet should be provided with fresh seed daily. The company in which you buy your seed from doesn't matter. For budgies, white or proso millet is preferred, also known as parakeet seed, it is creamy white or light yellow mixed with canary seed. When picking out your parakeet seed, it is better to choose the package that comes with a variety of seed, not only parakeet and canary seed, but also bits of greens and reds are good.
      For Cockatiels, part of their seed not only consist of the parakeet and canary seed, but also bits of nuts and parrot seed.
      The seed cup should be cleaned out and provided with fresh seed daily. When picking out your seed, always make sure the seed are fresh, clean, and unopened.

Fruits & Veggies:
        Fruits and vegetables should also be provided in the diet. Many birds will gladly accept them and its good and essential for beautiful plumage.

  • Banana
  • Mango
  • Grapes
  • Apple


  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots

      Offer the foods and see what your bird likes. There are many more fruits and veggies that can be offered to the cockatiel and budgie, just experiment to see what your bird likes.

Spray Millet:
        Spray Millet is a favorite among cockatiels and budgies. The spray branch of millet, is sold in many pet shops.

Calcium Rich Foods:
        Your bird should also be provided with calcium rich foods for the bones and feathers. There are numerous ways you can provide calcium to your bird. Some are:

  • crushed egg shell
  • occasional bread and milk
  • cuttlebone (needed in the cage either way)

Vitamins & Water:
      Vitamins should also be provided to the bird, for normal body functions. Most vitamins can be applied to the water and others come from other sources such as the fruits, vegetables, and even the sun. Refer to the Diet Chart below for more vitamin information. Fresh water needs to be provided daily as well. Use Drinking Water.

Treats & Other foods:
        Treats should be fed to your bird ever so often. Some popular treats with tiels & keets are honey covered seeds. Don't over do it with the treats though as they are not very nutritious and fattening for the bird.
       There are other foods that can be fed on occasion as well. My mom likes to feed Merlin bread & milk sometimes, and Merlin Loves it! Other foods that can be nutritious and can be given weekly, such as a little egg yolk and cracker crumbs.

Feeding Schedules:
       Basically, fresh food and water should be available at all times to the bird. It should be given fresh foods daily, cuttlebone should be provided at all times, and treats should be fed ever so often.

Diet Charts:
       I hope these charts help you in understanding why these minerals and vitamins are needed, what role they play in the tiel/budgie body, and how you can supply it to your bird.


Mineral: Role/Importance: Source:
Calcium 90% of body calcium in feathers and bones Cuttlebone
Crushed egg shell
Proteins building body tissues & feathers (almost entirely protein) seeds, milk, egg yolk, and alfalfa leaf meal.
Carbohydrates no concern on availability in diet All seeds rich in carbohydrates either way
Fats utilized by budgies as it is used in all other animals Grain contains all needed fatty acids in abundance



Vitamin: Role/Importance: Source:
Vitamin A Necessary to avoid eye problems and sterility dark green leaves,carrot, milk,egg yolk, cod-liver oil
Vitamin C manufactured within the bird manufactured within the bird
Vitamin D bird feather growth enough natural sunlight outside, or cod-liver oil when kept indoors
Vitamin E for female fertile egg development, and avoid of mental derangement whole grains
Vitamin K lack of vitamin results in inability of the blood to clot green foods as excellent source for this vitamin

Vitamin D Note:
       This vitamin is manufactured within the bird when supplied with enough natural sunlight. Keep in mind that glass windows filter out the ultra violet rays from the sun, which is the source which gives the bird Vitamin D. If you can't provide the bird with natural sunlight or "airing" outside, cod-liver oil would be the supplement to use.

Other Vitamins & Minerals:
       There are many additional vitamins and minerals that the bird needs. If you provide a good diet with grains, fruit, greens, and fresh water, then these vitamins and minerals will be supplied.

Another Note:
       In order for your bird to get the best out of these foods, and get the needed vitamins and minerals, all foods MUST be fed Fresh. Any old or spoil foods will not give the birds the needed elements and instead can cause illness. So be sure to provide fresh foods daily, and fresh water as well.


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