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Avoiding Pellet Dunking

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.

Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Michael » Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:15 pm

Grey_Moon wrote:So for me dunking is them trying to correct a food that is too dry and dense that their bodies are not equipped to handle, not a quirk that must be prevented rather their diet corrected.


The solution is simple. Feed pellets twice a day. Offer no water in the cage while the parrot eats. When the bowl of pellets is empty and taken out, put the water in (whether bottle or dish). Repeat at each meal for a few weeks. Then offer water bottle and dunking is likely solved. My birds, even given the possibility to dunk, don't. It's a matter of habit. My guys are used to eating down all their pellets and then drinking water to moisten it in their crop. I think that's the way pellets are intended to be eaten.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Pricey_boy » Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:27 pm

i agree with grey_moon mybirds do it but only foods that dont already have juices in them because ive noticed that when some birds eat dry foods like that they make a sound with their mouth like there putting more effort into the dry foods.have you tested it with other foods because if its only happenig with pellets and its happening with alot of birds than they would be trying to moisten the food.

really we dont exactly know whas going on in a birds body or throat we just go by what we think is happening
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby friend2parrots » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:53 pm

Grey_Moon wrote:In my mind, pellet dunking/food dunking is a symptom of something the bird is trying to correct. No one can argue that pellets/grains/vegetables are NOT natural foods for parrots. Parrots evolved eating a ton of different fruits/berries with some herbs, grasses, bark, dirt, bugs etc. So for me dunking is them trying to correct a food that is too dry and dense that their bodies are not equipped to handle, not a quirk that must be prevented rather their diet corrected.


I find myself agreeing with Grey_moon here, esp after reading her other post, "Nutritional Update" in the Health section. in the end the issue of concern for me is not really HOW to manage the bird's behavior of dunking, but rather, WHY so many parrots do this to pellets? is it because it is a dry and dense food that they find difficult to deal with? so many birds seem to be trying to cope with the unnatural dryness of pellets by moistening it. this makes perfect sense because the foods that parrots naturally eat in the wild all have moisture in them. even seeds have moisture. but during manufacture, pellets are dessicated of moisture to discourage spoilage. with each day that passes, and with every new thing i read, i find myself trusting pellets less and less.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby marie83 » Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:09 pm

I don't know if it is entirely that pellets are dry, both my conures would dunk literally anything no matter how far away I put their water. My cockatiels, rosella and budgie never dunked a single thing despite the water being right next to their food dishes.
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Re: Avoiding Pellet Dunking

Postby Maria » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:55 pm

My parrot dunks his fruit blend pellet food sometimes simply to soften up the food only, so that he can eat it better. Only because at times he wants it a little softer. Other times, he eats this fruit blend pellet food without dunking it in the water at all, so he eats it hard. When he dunks it, he keeps the pellet in his mouth, softening it up with the water, so that he can then chew it, eat it, ingest it. His other maintenance pellets, the brown ones, he does not dunk into the water at all, because they seem a bit softer, and easier to break with his beak.

I don't see a problem with him dunking his pellets at all. I'm also very concsious about changing the water to fresh water daily, and sometimes twice a day, with washing the bowl thoroughly. General rule, if you wouldn't drink the water, don't make your parrot drink it. Keep it clean. Food particles in water is also just another thing aiding standing water to grow bacteria, when standing water by itself, grows bacteria anyway, thus why you have to change the water everyday anyway.

My parrot shop owner, an avian specialist, told me to avoid poop getting in the feeding or water bowls, tie a toy in the corner of the cage, above the bowls, blocking the bird from hanging out over them, giving them another perch to hang out on elsewhere in the cage, with a toy hung by this perch, making the bird a new hang out. Worked like a charm. No more poop in bowls. Problem solved. My parrot loved to hang on the cage bars, in the corners of the cages, which was right above & close to where the bowls are. I hung wooden block type toys in those corners, securing them with sisal rope tied around them even further, so they couldn't be moved by him, tying the knots on the outside of the cage. I put him a new little door perch (perch on inside of his door, with little toy(s) there), where he now loves to hang out. At first, he was climbing around those toys hung in the corners of the cage, trying to get use to this new idea, trying to get into the corners, realizing he couldn't anymore. Then he didn't even try anymore, and is content and happy with his added perch, on the door. He has other perches too, on different sides and in the back of the cage, which he's always gone to from time to time as well. The back corner is where the water bowl is, but he never hung out hanging in that corner on the bars, like he did the front two corners. The front two corners are where the other two food bowls are close to. Those front two corners are where he'd hang out, hanging on the bars alot; those are the two bowls, therefore, which were getting the poo, but never the water bowl in the back. This relates to him wanting to be on/around the front side of the cage alot, because it's the side which is closest to me - which is also why he's very happy and content with his door perch, and loves his new hang out there now. Once I put up the door perch, he started sleeping on it too, instead of the one in the back of the cage, because it's closest to me. The door perch is put at the same level as his sleeping perch in the back of the cage. Birds will go to the highest perch to sleep.

Outsmart them, be one step ahead of them, think about how your cage is set up, give them a new hang out, and it will solve the problem.

Water bottles still have to be cleaned & the water changed in them daily, as they also harbor bacteria.
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