Balanced Bird & Parrot Diets: Small Birds
Please also refer to:
Budgies / Parakeets ... Cockatiels / Lovebirds ... Finches / Canaries ... Softbill / Lory Food
My recommendations for a good diet for small birds are:
- Fresh foods: Fresh fruits, vegetables and "greens" -- ideas on feeding and valuable information on bird nutrition this web page
- A good quality formulated diet or seed mix. 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 many of 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.
- Vets often recommend Harrison's -- which is a good diet, but mostly available at vet's offices. No matter what you feed - variety is the key. Please scroll down to find out the food items that I am feeding. The higher up, the more I recommend it. The items further down on the website are products that are commonly available in pet stores, and are likely to contain preservatives and other potentially harmful chemicals that I personally would avoid.
- Sprouted or germinated seeds are usually more easily accepted by "seed addicts" than fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Sprouted seeds are healthier as the sprouting changes and enhances the nutritional quality and value of seeds and grains. Sprouted seeds are lower in fat, as the process of sprouting utilizes the fat in the seed to start the growing process - thus reducing the fat stored in the seeds.
- Sprouted seeds will help balance your bird’s diet by adding a nutritious supply of high in vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll.
- Soaked and germinated "oil" seeds, like niger and rape seeds, are rich in protein and carbohydrates; while "starch" seeds, such as canary and millets, are rich in carbohydrates, but lower in protein.
- It is an invaluable food at all times; however, it is especially important for breeding or molting birds.
- Don't want to go through the trouble of sprouting and would prefer an easier way to provide greens to your bird?
- 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.
- Never feed: caffeinated drinks, alcoholic beverages, chocolate, pits of most fruits, avocado ... More on "toxic foods"