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Avoiding Pellet Dunking

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Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Michael » Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:51 pm

I've seen a lot of discussion about pellet dunking so I just wanted to provide two ways to prevent it.

1) Switch to water bottle. For all but the most obsessive dunkers this solves the problem. Just make sure your parrot is not shoving pellets into the bottle spout. One way to prevent this is by mounting the bottle as far from the food as possible.

2) If there is just no way you can switch to water bottle or your parrot shoves food into the bottle spout, the other solution is to take water away entirely during meals. However, this method requires great responsibility and remembering on your part. If you feed your parrot just twice a day (morning and evening), then you can provide food, wait for the parrot to eat, and then offer water in a cup (or better yet leave it in the cage all day). Then in the evening, take the water away entirely, let the parrot eat pellets, and then offer water again. By removing water during feeding times, dunking is entirely averted. Just don't forget to give water again afterward.

How long a parrot can go without water will depend on species but any parrot can wait 30 minutes to complete its meal before getting water instead of food. If you leave a parrot all day with food and water, it is just too likely that it will want to play with its food merely out of boredom. So by taking that opportunity away, the problem can be averted.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Nevermore » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:19 am

But...why is pellet dunking even a problem? It makes the water look dirty, but so long as there is no poo in it, and they still drink it....its just soup.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Chris&Akilah » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:58 am

I use one of those double-compartment feeders for water, I have two that came with the cage and rotate them to keep them clean. Akilah uses one side for dunking and the other for drinking. The occasional crumbs get into the 'clean' side but it never gets as messy as the dunking side. I think it's funny he does this, and figure that if he likes some of his pellets moist then by all means eat them moist, as long as he remains sanitary about it.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby pchela » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:55 pm

Nevermore wrote:But...why is pellet dunking even a problem? It makes the water look dirty, but so long as there is no poo in it, and they still drink it....its just soup.


Anything foreign in water will quickly create bacteria and make the water unsafe for drinking. This includes those vitamin supplements etc you can buy at pet stores and pellets!
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Ark » Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:04 pm

You can also try switching the pellets for a smaller version of the same brand, it may work for some birds but not for others. A friend of mine's Caiques used to dunk like crazy. The food was switched for mini sized pellets of the same brand and the dunking stopped, they'd just swallow the pellets instead of bringing them along for the ride if they went and got some water.

I personally would not remove water from a bird on a pellet-based diet (or any other diet for that matter). Eating a pelleted diet may be harder on the system then a more naturel/less refined diet, and might be one of the reasons the bird is up'ing its water intake in the first place. I know you only mentioned 30 minutes during a meal Michael, but some people can take stuff in a more extreme way, you never know, so just saying. Maybe some do it for fun, but maybe some do it because they feel they need more water while eating these pellets we feed to them. I have seen many more birds that dunk exclusively their pellets, then birds that dunk just about anything, be it many kinds of food or toys. I think that counts for a little something, and that it's not always just a game for some birds, but that's just me.

Unfortunately, we can't always be there to keep things sanitary, so we have to make sacrifices. Or better yet, they do. My Pois used to be on pellets and a bottle and my vet even suggested that I give them a chance to have some water in a bowl at least once or twice a day when I was home to keep it clean, just to make sure they are drinking enough, because some birds may not drink enough from a bottle even though they are drinking from it. I don't use bottles with my Greys though.
Last edited by Ark on Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Michael » Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:17 pm

Nevermore wrote:But...why is pellet dunking even a problem? It makes the water look dirty, but so long as there is no poo in it, and they still drink it....its just soup.


Well first of all this was meant more as a guide to how rather than why. There are loads of other discussions about why people are trying to avoid dunking. But in short pellets are no less food for bacteria as they are for pellets. When pellets remain dry in a bowl, they deteriorate slowly and can probably be left out for weeks. So a day or two is definitely fine with dry pellets. Water naturally has bacteria in it but it lacks the food for them to multiply excessively. Now add your parrots pellets to the mix. Those pellets are one of the most concentrated sources of nutrition and energy so when pellets meet water, bacteria will multiply rapidly and the water will go bad.

There is no reason for parrots not to learn to eat pellets dry. They are made to be eaten that way and once a parrot gets used to it, they love the crunchiness.

Finally, another major reason to employ the strategies I mentioned is for poop in water. Using a water bottle prevents the poop in water problem entirely. The other way is to offer water in the morning/evening (but only as long as it is acceptable for that species to drink sparingly) and take it away mid day. I do this when I take my birds away from home with me for any length of time.

I can't talk for all species, but my two pois definitely learned to eat a full meal of pellets first and then drink a lot to water it down after. Well Truman's actually the other way around, he prefers to drink first and then eat but the point is they don't go to the bottle more than twice a day.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Nevermore » Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:23 am

Hmm...I can understand the reasoning behind it, but I don't think its that big an issue. The water is tap water, which has been treated, and is chlorinated. And the pellets come from a sealed bag that you would hope has been sterilized in some way. The risk of some real nasty being present on either, and breeding prolifically is rather low. I think any bad bacteria being introduced to the water would come from poop, or the bird itself.

Also, in the wild these birds would drink water directly from streams, ponds, rivers, lakes, puddles etc....dirty, DIRTY water. A little soup, so long as they don't poop in it, and it is not left to linger for longer than the day...should be fine.

Personally I find his dunking habit useful. When I'm not home to keep an eye on him, it is a gauge to tell whether or not he has been eating. If his water bowl is clean; I worry.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Nevermore » Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:48 am

Although if I were on well water I would be more worried
Wild animals are called 'wild' for a reason. Keep them that way. Adopt your pets, or buy them from a certified breeder.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby CheekyandMalolo » Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:45 am

Our conures dunk their pellets, but not too badly. It never makes a 'soup', just some fluffy brown bits in the bottom of the dish, it doesn't bother me, as I just change it morning and night and it's all good.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby TheNzJessie » Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:40 pm

i think parrots could dunk them to make them softer to eat. if you are switching there water 2-3 times a day (which is mandatory with birds anyway) the bacteria doesn't have time to grow into anything harmfull. the otter at work dunks his pellets/cat bikkies) to soften them. also if you are feeding your birds in meals not food available all day you can just quickly change the water after they have finished eating. i dont see a huge problem in them dunking there pellets other than convenience. every persons lifestyle is different i guess

the water and pellets are going to be stored in your birds crop until needed
Last edited by TheNzJessie on Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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