Parrots should be provided a parrot / bird mix (some quality options are listed on this page - they may be available in your local store), supplemented with various fruits, green foods, millet spray, and occasionally some mealworms is generally regarded as suitable.
I would look for preferably "organic" or at least "all-natural" dry bird mixes. "Fortified diets" are not necessarily good as often inferior, artificial additives are used, which may have no health benefit at all or indeed may even be harmful. It is far better to buy unfortified mixes and add a good quality bird supplement instead.
Dr. Harvey's Bird Food Mixes or Lafeber are convenient options that lack the harmful additives that are commonly found in commercial mixes and have a great variety of quality ingredients (including dried fruits, veggies, herbs / greens and even superfoods, such as bee pollen!) - in short: myriad nourishing ingredients that are not found in other commercially available bird mixes. However, our biggest grievance with their products is that they use sulphurated dried produce (a process which also requires chemicals), but it is very difficult to find mixes with unsulphurated fruits and veggies. You could just buy the seeds, nuts and grain mix and buy human-grade unsulphurated dried produce / greens as well as bee pollen and mix them in. Even organic trail mixes (WITHOUT CHOCOLATE!) work great. With a little creativity you can put a mix together that offers superior nutrition without the chemicals typically found in commercial brands.
You may also be so lucky to have a bird store near you that has alternative organic bird mixes. They are likely to be more expensive, but for the long-term health of your companion they are worth the investment. If you are considering other organic bird mixes, I would recommend checking the ingredients quite carefully. Stay away from anything that has artificial colorings or flavorings. If ingredients are listed that you can't pronounce or don't sound like "real" food -- that's already a bad sign. There are plenty of NATURAL preservatives out there -- there is no reason to add inferior toxic stuff to foods (other than cost savings).
If cost is an issue (as it is for many people - especially in multi-bird homes) -- I would recommend going over the ingredients of a quality mix and purchasing them separately. There is nothing wrong with mixing your own bird food. A little time can save you money over time. Fruits, vegetables and greens can easily be dehydrated at home, allowing you to preserve nutrition-dense produce that otherwise might spoil.
Vegetables, fruits and greens should be part of a parrot's daily diet. This includes apples, grapes, many garden vegetables such as spinach, watercress, field lettuce, poppy, chickweed, dandelions, carrots, corn on the cob, peas, endives and sweet potatoes.
- Convenient Sources of Fruits / Veggies:
- Baby Food: Human baby food with fruits & vegetables (i.e. Gerbers)
- Dry Fruits / Veggies: When fresh fruits and vegetables are not available, dehydrated fruits and vegetables work wonderfully. Many birds love their crunchiness, or they toss them into their water dish (creating a "soup" of some sorts) and then eat them once they are rehydrated. Be prepared to change the water more often throughout the day. Dried fruits & vegetables have the advantage that they don't go off. You could literally leave them in their cages for days (unless they get wet, of course). This surely comes in handy when traveling. Dried fruits & veggies also help convert "seed junkies" to a healthier diet. When you are at home, you can moisten the dried fruits & veggies with warm water to rehydrate them. Birds tend to LOVE warm fruits & veggies, maybe because it gives them flashbacks to the times when they were chicks and were fed warm regurgitated food by their bird parents.
- It is important to keep in mind that some companies add artificial coloring to their dried fruits and veggies to make them visually appealing.
- Only purchase naturally dried fruits without any sulfur dioxide, as this preservative is known to increase hyperactivity, aggressiveness, feather shredding or picking due to allergies.
- Sprouting is an excellent way to provide nutrient-dense foods to birds who are less cooperative in eating its daily portions of fresh foods.
- Sprouting is easy -- this webpage has step-by-step instructions.
- You can also germinate the sprouting mix - rather than going through the process of sprouting, which may be somewhat intimidating initially. Germinated seeds offer its own unique set of valuable nutrition and are quicker to obtain and less likely to spoil.
- Click here for information about sprouting and companies that sell quality sprouting mixes
Additional proteins should be offered such as cottage cheese, hardboiled eggs or monkey chow.
Peanuts are also a valuable source of protein -- however, peanuts are often contaminated with aflatoxin, a fungal toxin. Aflatoxin is carcinogenic and causes liver damage in birds and other animals. Roasting reduces aflatoxin but does not eliminate it entirely. North American peanut producers are currently working on eliminating contaminated peanuts from their products. Caution is advised when feeding peanuts. Some bird owners, opting to be on the safe side, are eliminating peanuts from their pets' diet.
A cuttlebone, mineral block, gravel and oyster shell can be provided to provide the necessary calcium & minerals
Fresh water should be provided daily. Treats only in moderation.
|Foods to Feed Only in Moderation:||
|Foods you may consider NOT feeding||*Peanuts are often contaminated with aflatoxin, a fungal toxin. Aflatoxin is carcinogenic and causes liver damage in birds and other animals. Roasting reduces aflatoxin but does not eliminate it entirely. North American peanut producers are currently working on eliminating contaminated peanuts from their products. Especially peanuts with dark spots on them should be considered suspect, but even those that look clean and perfect could possibly be contaminated.|
|Foods to NEVER Feed:||