Feeding Your Pet Grey

General Nutrition

Your pet birds diet is one of the most important considerations in its overall care. A first time pet bird owner may be overwhelmed by the vast assortment of seeds, seed treats and other items that are sold on the market as "Bird Food". The fact is birds need more than seed-type "Bird Food" to stay healthy. Although the specific nutritional requirements for all pet species have not been determined, it is known that birds require basically the same nutrients in their diet as other animals do. A wide variety of foods, including vegetables, animal or mature bean protein, whole grain products and a source of calcium should be offered. Following is a breakdown of the Four Basic Food Groups that are of particular value to pet birds:

  1. Grains - Breads and Cereal Group (for B Vitamins)
  2. Approximately 60% of the daily food consumption may be selections from this food group that includes seeds. Because many B vitamins are contained in the seed hulls (which the bird does not eat), other foods from this Group are also valuable to provide. They are : Whole wheat bread, Cooked brown rice, Commercial Monkey biscuit, Wheat Germ, and other whole grain products.

  3. Fresh Vegetables and Fruits Group (for vitamin A, C, minerals)
  4. Vegetables alone may account for approximately 10% of the dietary intake. They are: Broccoli, Endive, Carrots, Parsley, Pumpkin, Winter Squash, Collard Greens, Sweet potato, Corn, Peas, Beans, Kale, Lima Beans, Black Eye Peas. Fruits are offered in only very limited amounts and should make up approximately 5% of the daily intake. They are: Apples, Bananas, Grapes, Strawberries, Cherries, Oranges, Figs, Kiwi, Mango, Papaya, Peaches, Pears. DO NOT FEED AVOCADO. It is poisonous to parrots.

  5. Meat Group (for protein and fat)
  6. Protein should consist of 25% of your birds diet. Hard cooked or scrambled eggs, Peanuts or other mature legumes (navy beans, kidney beans), Beef, Chicken, Tuna or other fish.

  7. Dairy Group (for calcium and protein)
  8. Excessive consumption of milk products by birds is not advised, but the calcium needs must be provided (although birds do enjoy small amounts of yogurt, cottage cheese, and hard cheeses). The greater the consumption of seeds in the diet, the higher the need for supplementary calcium. This is most easily met by mineral supplements in the form of Cuttlebone and Mineral Block. If a bird refuses to eat the above items, calcium supplementation (crushed tablets, liquid or powder), may be mixed with other foods. It is also important to ALWAYS GIVE FRESH WATER DAILY. Pet birds may also benefit and enjoy a sip of fresh fruit or vegetable juice occasionally. DO NOT FEED YOUR BIRD "GRIT" (small pieces of rock or shell). It does more harm than good.

Pelleted Food

A complete diet for parrots has been developed which makes feeding your pet bird easier. Pellets are made by several manufacturers and come in many shapes and sizes. Pellet food is a complete balanced diet which does not require supplementation of other prepared foods or vitamins. Baby birds that are weaned onto pellets adapt to them immediately although older birds will most likely need a period of adjustment.

Here at Kim's Aviary, we use a pellet diet for our breeding birds and their babies. Our babies are handfed using a commercial handfeeding diet based on the same ingredients that is in the adult pellet food and they are weaned onto the adult pellet food when ready. Since we have had such good success using pellet food, we recommend it without reservation.

Kim's Aviary has tested several brands of pellet food and has found the following brands to be satisfactory. We feel that the brands listed below will provide your pet bird with a balanced and healthy diet. We recommend that you also offer your pet bird additional veggies, meats, and treats but try and limit these additional foods to not more than 25% of their daily intake. (The brands marked with an "*" indicate brands we use. These brands have high levels of calcium which we feel is better for African Greys.)

Zupreen * Dr. D's Plant-Pro *
Kaytee Exact L/M Perfect
Lafabers Roudybush
Pretty Bird Hagen Tropican

Check out our Commercial Site for our "Shopping Cart" where you can order a "Basic Bird Care Booklet" with information on Nutrition and other basic bird care!"

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Copyright 1997, Kim Thomas, Revised - May 97.. http://www.oocities.com/RainForest/6463/food.html