As you well know, poor nutrition and obesity continue to be a growing problem in our society today. What you may not be aware of is the fact that obesity among our pets has become the leading cause of medical problems for our pets. This tendency is just as alarming among pet birds. Owners of pet birds in Tulsa need to be aware of proper feeding and nutrition of our avian friends.
Knowing the dietary requirements of your pet bird is therefore essential. Most health problems with your pet bird can be traced to an improper diet. Not knowing these requirements is the biggest cause of health problems in pet birds. Within the parrot family of birds, most are known as a folivore. This just means that the food they eat is mostly plant-based. Birds in this classification have a variety of eating habits. Some eat nuts and grains, some eat seeds, others like to eat largely fruits, and there are those that eat insects along with the plant-based diet. There are birds that consume mostly nectar, the Lories and Lorikeets are two of this type of bird. The classification of each of these birds is determined by their dietary needs in the wild. By studying their dietary habits in the wild, the owner of a pet bird can get guidance on keeping a balanced and proper diet for their pet bird.
The owners of pet birds often make the mistake of feeding only seeds to their birds. Caged birds are often given too much food in the form of a full bowl of seeds. In general pet birds get little exercise when compared to their wild cousins. They have no need to forage for food or fly any distance to get their food. Also it should be note, that a lot of the seeds commonly fed to pet birds are limited in their nutrient content. If you watch your pet bird closely, you will notice that he is smart enough to choose the nuts and seed he finds delicious from the typical seed mix he has been given. These, most of the time are the peanuts and sunflower seeds, the high-fat offenders in the seed mix. Scattered around the cage bottom you will see the rest of the food that has been offered. This of course makes it difficult to determine what your pet bird has actually eaten.
A better option for your bird is a food source that has been specially formulated and made into a pellet form. These are often of a higher quality and provide a better nutritional balance. These formulated diets are available in several types. As a bird owner, you should choose carefully a dietary mix that has been specifically developed for your birds’ particular species. These diet mixes often contain additional vitamins and nutrients along with seeds and grains, vegetables, and fruits. Additional fresh foods should be supplemented to accommodate your birds’ specific dietary needs even if you are feeding your bird a formulated diet that has been nutritionally balanced. Depending on the species of bird you are feeding, vegetables, fruits, and seeds may be 20-35% of your bird’s diet.
We have all been told over and over that we need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Our pet bird needs to eat those same fruits and vegetables. We can provide added nutrition for our bird, through a large variety of fresh foods. As an added bonus many of these foods provide interest and activity for our birds. The varied colors, shapes, tastes and textures, help to stimulate your bird, helping to keep him mentally sharp. Picking at broccoli florets or biting into a juicy piece of citrus or melon is enjoyable for your pet bird. Munching on a sweet potato while holding it in it’s’ claw, is also enjoyed by your pet bird. Instead of just putting a bowl of seed in the bird’s cage, try hanging food or a foraging toy to give your bird more variety. Pet birds can be given most vegetables and fruit with a few exceptions. You should avoid giving your bird the following; avocado, onions, apple seeds, mushrooms, fruit pits, and persimmons.
As a pet bird owner, taking the time to educate yourself on your particular bird’s species dietary needs is beneficial to your birds’ over all health. Most of the habits that lead to a healthy lifestyle for humans will keep our pet birds healthy. Your Tulsa avian veterinarian or exotic veterinarian can help you choose the proper diet for your bird. Call us at All Creatures Veterinary Hospital in Tulsa at (918) 481-0440 or complete our online request form.
Pet Bird Health Links
Tulsa Avian Veterinarian – http://allcreaturesvettulsa.com/
Broken Arrow Avian Veterinarian – http://villagevetanimalclinic.com/
Website for Bird Lovers – http://www.birdchannel.com/bird-diet-and-health/
All Creatures Veterinary Hospital
8134 South Harvard
Tulsa, OK 74137