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Seeking Advice on foods

Talk about bird illnesses and other bird health related issues. Seeds, pellets, fruits, vegetables and more. Discuss what to feed your birds and in what quantity. Share your recipe ideas.

Seeking Advice on foods

Postby JackCrens » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:58 pm

Hi, a newbie here. I gather you guys have debated feed issues before, but I have a new request for info.

We have two parrots, an African Grey (Sterling) and a Mollucan Cockatoo (Peaches). Both are flighted, but (sadly) spend 99.9% of their time in their cages (both males, they will fight). They're both about 20 years old.

I've been hooked on Kaytee since way back in my wild bird rehabbing days, so we've been feeding both parrots Kaytee. Sterling the Grey gets Kaytee Fiesta, which seems to have a lot of sunflower seeds and other stuff. Peaches the Cockatoo gets Kaytee Rainbow pellets, served in his water.

A couple of years ago, Kaytee changed the formula of the Rainbow pellets, adding some purple ones. Peaches _HATES_ those, and ends up leaving them in the bowl.

Lately we've noticed that he's losing weight (wonder why?). Reading this thread, I'm beginning to get the message that my attachment to Kaytee is a questionable choice.

I'd appreciate any advice y'all can give me as to alternatives. Also any ideas as to how to convince Peaches to eat dry food instead of drowned pellets.

Thanks
JackCrens
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 3
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Cockatoo, African Grey
Flight: Yes

Re: Seeking Advice on foods

Postby Pajarita » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:20 pm

:lol: Well, you are certainly not going to get any ideas of how to convince a cockatoo to eat dry food from me! The feeding of dry and dehydrated food to parrots is, I think, my biggest beef with a lot of parrot owners. See, the thing is that parrots never consume anything really dry in the wild. They all eat plant material that is fresh and that means a diet with a water content of 85 to 95% percent so feeding a food that has a max of 10% cannot possibly be good for them. I know that people say they have always water available (hopefully, in a bowl and not those awful bottles!) but the thing is that parrots, as prey animals, are crepuscular feeders so they are 'programmed' to eat and drink early in the morning and late in the afternoon and to derive mot of their hydration needs from their food. I have been observing my parrots for many years and I've not only always seen them drinking early in the am and not in the middle of the day but I can also tell you exactly how many sips/gulps they are going to take. I don't know if the number of them is programmed into their brains but it's constant and it goes by species. We learned from cats that when you are talking about an animal that nature evolved to mainly derive its hydration needs from its food, if you feed them a dry food, you end up with kidney issues - especially if you are feeding low quality ingredients!

I don't feed pellets and I don't free-feed seeds or nuts. I free-feed gloop and raw produce and, for dinner, I give them a measured portion (what their crop needs to be filled up and a little bit extra) of a seed/nut mix (the kind of seed and the ratio of nuts to seeds varies according to the species). I came up with my first gloop recipe many years ago after my first rescue was found to have high uric acid levels and, although I have tweaked that recipe -and will continue to do just that for as long as I live- to the point that hardly anything I used at the beginning is still there, I have found that, so far, it's remains the best dietary option for them.
1) It's very healthy (human grade organic ingredients and barely processed)
2) it's easy (I make a big batch and freeze daily portions)
3) they love it (I have transitioned over 400 birds and they all did!)
4) it's a great medium for adding supplements to their diet (and I need this because I have parrots with liver damage)
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 10620
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Seeking Advice on foods

Postby Bird woman » Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:48 pm

Fresh or frozen veggies and fresh fruit a couple small pieces daily with a good seed mixture or pellets is what I feed my flock daily. A few nuts for treats and some healthy table foods. Just curious about leaving them in there cages so much. Are you assuming they will fight or has it happened? I have a rather large flock that run around the same house all at the same time and the ones that don't get along have learned to stay out of each other's way. I let them work out there differences { supervised of course } and they have all learned to respect each other's boundaries , but it takes time . BW
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Bird woman
Amazon
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 681
Location: Southern , Oregon
Number of Birds Owned: 10
Types of Birds Owned: 2 mollucans, 2 LSC'S, 2 macaws, 1 bare-eye, 1 grey, 1 goffin and max the quaker
Flight: Yes

Re: Seeking Advice on foods

Postby Pajarita » Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:20 pm

Yes, their being in their cages all the time was also a big red flag for me. I recommend you find the way to let them out, at least, four hours a day for each, even if it means doing it separately because both species you have are VERY prone to plucking when left in a cage all day long... These are highly social and very intelligent animals and confinement drives them, literally, crazy.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 10620
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Seeking Advice on foods

Postby JackCrens » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:41 am

Many thanks to those who replied. I see that I've been doing a lot of things wrong. You're absolutely right: eating dry food is not a natural thing for a parrot.

FWIW, until these two, I've always dealt with either songbirds (rehabbing and releasing) -- hundreds of them -- or precocial birds (ducks, chickens, geese) -- again, hundreds. I ABHOR cages. All the birds sharing my house had the 'flight" of the house. I/we simply draped towels over the furniture where needed. Washing machines are wonderful things to have.

When we first wed, my wife was on board with this. She bought birds like lovebirds and cockatiels, but had no problem with them flying around the house. But we lost a few -- one cockatiel escaped the house, a couple died by getting trapped behind our window blinds, and a couple of canaries drowned in our enclosed pool. I guess that's when they got confined to cages.

When we first got the two parrots, they had perches, not cages. And yes, they peacefully coexisted. The cockatoo had a manzanita tree to hang out on, and the Amazon a perch with bowls nearby.

They both were a lot more gregarious with us, too. The grey, especially, would walk down and across the floor, climb up onto my loveseat, and sit on my shoulder or hang out on the seat back. Except for the fact that we never seemed to have a decent TV controller (he ate the buttons off), no problem.

Ah! Now I remember: we got and raised a baby opossum, and he also had the run of the house. Couldn't have the possum and the birds commingling. That just wouldn't do!

The possum is gone now, but the birds are still confined to their cages. The biggest problem nowadays is, when they do get out, they set out to eat the furniture.

As far as socializing, Sterling will no longer climb up to sit with me. He just walks around on the floor. The Cockatoo, like all Cockatoos, loves to sit with me and be petted (he also wants me to bear his young <!>), but he too wants to chew on the furniture.

In 2001 we moved across the country from FL to AZ, driving with two dogs, the parrots & cockatiels, and the possum 2300 miles in an RV. In 2008, we did the same trip back. I guess the parrots haven't been quite the same since.

About the fighting: Yes, they did fight ... once. I had them both out on the floor, and the Cockatoo attacked the Grey. No harm done, because I was there to break it up, but we haven't let them out together since.

Trust me: My wife is terribly upset that these birds are confined 24/7. She loved having the birds all over the house, too. She now realizes that getting them at all was a Bad Idea. But it's kinda hard to undo what's been done.

Looking back up at all I've written, I can see that our problem isn't about food at all. It's about behavioral issues, caused by the fact that these birds are caged all day.

Now, if I could only fix the problem. Any suggestions? Short of replacing all the wooden furniture with gingerbread?

Oh, one other problem: Peaches doesn't like my wife (even though she's the one who raised him from a nestling.) Whenever he's out, he will chase her around the room, shouting "C'mon, C'mon." If he gets within range, he'll bite her on the foot.

Sterl, OTOH, is an equal-opportunity biter.

Would it be safe to assume that these two birds are more than a little big pissed off at us?

Jack
JackCrens
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 3
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Cockatoo, African Grey
Flight: Yes

Re: Seeking Advice on foods

Postby Pajarita » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:46 pm

Not been there to observe them and the interactions it's difficult to say but, in my personal opinion and going merely by what you describe, I would say that they are not pissed at you but frustrated. Have you considered that they could be overly hormonal? Because an overly hormonal cockatoo (or any other species, actually) will bite, out of frustration, his chosen one if he feels he is not getting enough attention and, as I am sure you know, to a cockatoo, 'attention' means 'I have to be on your body and you have to be touching mine!' I just got a good bite on my foot yesterday from Linus (he also got me on an arm last week, first, and then a finger a couple of days later) a lesser sulfur that has not been here long enough for his endocrine system to be back on track 100%. He is VERY hormonal right now and acting completely different from the shy, never-make-a-peep parrot that plucked himself bald that came here. This bird never came down from his cage, never screamed and hardly ever talked and he is now all over the place chewing everything he can reach and running after me calling "HELLO? HELLO? HELLO?" and, if I don't squat down and give him scritches and tell him what a pretty bird and what a good boy he is, he bites me! But it's normal behavior for a bird that is uncomfortable or even in pain and can not get what he needs. So I just roll with the punches, try to avoid his bites and still do my chores in the birdroom and, eventually, in another season or two, he will calm down, his gonads will shrink and go dormant and we will take it from there.

My suggestion would be for you to re-evaluate their light (both quality and schedule) and their diet because they sound hormonal to me and, although this is the season for it, when a bird is under a good diet and a strict solar schedule and his endocrine system is in tune with the seasons, the quantity of sexual hormones they produce never gets them to a frustration (aggression) point.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 10620
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes


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