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Where I stand on the Diet debate/Pellet reviews

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: Where I stand on the Diet debate/Pellet reviews

Postby Wolf » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:57 pm

While I was doing research on what to feed a parrot, when my first bird, Kiki, the Senegal, showed up, I read about pellets as part of the information that was available.

I learned that before pellets most people were feeding their parrots an all seed diet and the parrots all died well before they should have from heart attacks, fatty liver disease, kidney failure and even diabetes. This was attributed to the all seed diet that they were given. Then the feed manufactures got the wonderful idea of making pellets for the birds, their idea was that the root of the problem with an all seed diet was that the birds were picking out only the seeds that they liked and since these were the ones that were highest in protein and fat the way to remedy this problem was to grind up the seeds and make a pellet so they could not pick out their favorite seeds.

While this may have helped to some degree it also introduced a mild but chronic form of dehydration into the picture and still did little to prolong the lives of the birds and although the manufactures touted these pellets as a complete diet, it was still an all seed diet and the birds kept on dying from the same diseases.

There has been a lot of improvements over the years and there are many pelleted foods available that are not made from seeds alone and manufacturers still claim that their pellets are a complete diet for birds, but the science from sources other than the manufacturers says that these claims are simply not true. Except for some manufacturers, there is not reputable source that I am aware of that recommends feeding more than 30% of a birds daily diet as pellets.

The majority recommend fresh raw fruits and vegetables, some whole grains and some thoroughly cooked legumes and no more than 30% pelleted foods.
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Re: Where I stand on the Diet debate/Pellet reviews

Postby Vera » Tue Nov 08, 2016 1:28 am

I don't know what is the best diet. i have tried to feed my parrotlets a mostly fresh food diet, but they eat very little of it, and i am gone for work all day and i want them to have some food that doesn't spoil in the cage when i'm gone.
when i offer fresh foods and seeds at the same time they won't touch the veggies.
if i offer only a mash in the morning and leave it all day, they will eat it, but i'm scared it will spoil.

there is a lot of controverse about pellets, especially when it comes to feeding parrotlets mutations (wich i have). it has something to do with the dry pellet (dehydration) or vitamin overload. nobody is sure what causes the (possible) kidney problems.

i deciede to feed them TOP pellets, (no vitamin overload, no synthetic vitamins) and lots of sprouted seeds and pulses with some coconut- and/or palmoil, some nuts and some bee pollen.
when i am home in the afternoon i also offer some veggies mash, sometimes they will eat it, sometimes they don't touch it.
before bedtime i feed a organic seedmix with dried herbs and veggies in it.
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Re: Where I stand on the Diet debate/Pellet reviews

Postby Navre » Tue Nov 08, 2016 8:11 am

I'm wondering if I need vitamins wih the gloop/TOPS that my greencheek is getting, or the Gloop/Tropimix/TOPS mix that my TAG is getting.
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Re: Where I stand on the Diet debate/Pellet reviews

Postby Pajarita » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:54 pm

NJBirdMan wrote:I'm going to follow Pajarita on this one. Right now I have 2 Gouldian Finches, and hope to get a Senegal in the Spring/Summer. I have tried Roudybush crumbles with my FInches. No go. They refuse them. So I don't plan on introducing pellets to my Senegal either.....

I had the same argument regarding Dog Food ------ Who was the bright bulb that decided Dogs should eat "Kibble"? How reliable is that food for dogs ? How good of a diet is dry kibble for Dogs?
I still worry about that with my 2 Dogs.

So I really have to also question how good of a diet is Pellets for birds in captivity. I'm not going that route.


I am with you on the dog kibble! Mind you, I do feed it to the larger dogs but I only use the grain-free, real meat first ingredient ones and I add hot water and canned food to it so it's not a dry meal (which is my main concern when it comes to kibble as dogs are carnivores and meat is mostly water). The little ones eat only canned food for both meals while the larger ones eat canned food for breakfast but the mix for dinner, which is the bigger meal.

As to finches or any other bird that is a natural seed eater, it really makes no sense to feed them pellets because seeds ARE their natural diet. The only thing you need to take into consideration is that no matter how good the mix of seeds is, it will lack certain vitamins so you need to feed (greens and whatever veggie or fruit you can trick them into eating) or supplement (like Vit D3) for this.
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Re: Where I stand on the Diet debate/Pellet reviews

Postby Pajarita » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:58 pm

Navre wrote:I'm wondering if I need vitamins wih the gloop/TOPS that my greencheek is getting, or the Gloop/Tropimix/TOPS mix that my TAG is getting.


It would depend on the actual amount of pellets they are eating and what, exactly, are these pellets providing in terms of D3. To me, it's easier to do away with the pellets because, this way, I don't have to worry about constant checking into what or how much they ate of whatever so I know to supplement D3 and, if the hens lay, extra calcium and I know I am good.
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Re: Where I stand on the Diet debate/Pellet reviews

Postby DanaandPod » Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:04 pm

I know this is an old post but ill chime in. Dont most pellets label to only feed a certain percent daily??? Yet, you are speaking of them as an entire only diet. Well, i recently listed my parrots diet which nobody has commented on yet...and its been a week.
I hate roudy bush. They have a very hard outoutsideBeing an owner that chooses a pellet with a shelf life (and i know all too well that the regulars on this forum tend to write negative and judgemental responses to using this as reasoning... Regardless, it is my choice. ☺) And, ive chosen zupreem natural. Sure, theres some sugar, but at least no dyes. And, its their evening meal which knowing myself, my schedule...is one i CAN be consistent about. They r conveniently at petco. I personally like their texture and taste. (Ive tried them) And my birds do not scale. Infact, just today someone remarked how noticeably healthy looking my parrots are.
Sure ive gained a lot of info from these forums thankfully. Lighting, flock, cage size, fooding etc. But, for the longest time i battled in understanding and balancing some of the extreme scientific data posted, with that of my birds that would make their own choices i can not force! Lol! I could turn to scientific data and explanation for my human food consumption. Instead, i google and eat the top super foods. I dont consume alcohol and tobacco. However, its highly likely ill have a candy bar when ever i please. They say a half hour day of exercise is sufficient. I hope theyre including walking in the super market where i buy those candy bars! Because, i only do ten minutes exercise in the a.m. why!!!??? I factor in what i WILL stick with. My parrots arent eating gloop. And by the way, food is expensive, its hard though i do my best, versus others more at liberty. My birds will eat peas, fruit-berries...walnuts, almonds. Baby food carrots and sweet potatoes only if mixed with fruit. Occasional pasta and rice--- regardless... Popcorn for fun. I also believe that their mental state is linked to their health as well!!! Now they have each others company. Light stimulating music. Morning trick routine that includes ten flying back and forth laps. (Thats all theyll do). Do i make them work for food!!!??? Hell yea! (Only the crushed nuts) then they are free to eat their second half breakfbreakfas undesturbed. Because theyre motivated. And i have stuck with it for three years 7 days a week. Its stimulation, fun for me, bonding quality that they expect. In the end, something is better than nothing. But i believe i do better than just something. I dont live in a house unfortunately but ive sacrificed for their captive unfairness. Rough world. Rougher for them! Therefore, so what...if theyre consuming soy and sugar?
Hell, i just found out my summer swimming hole growing up, is now on the toxic superfund list. This isnt a pretty world! Still, i like to think...they feel my love and care!
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Re: Where I stand on the Diet debate/Pellet reviews

Postby Navre » Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:13 am

It sounds good, Dana. I didn't comment on the diet because I am guessing like everyone else is. :)

I feed a gloop mixture of grains, vegetables, and beans. I add in fresh fruit daily, and I feed pellets. The greencheek eats TOPS, and the grey is getting Tropimix. I will try to switch the grey to tops now that the weather will be getting better and the days longer. I didn't want to try to switch him in the middle of the winter.

We had a bunch of Zupreem natural donated to the rescue, so we mixed it in with our usual pellets. Most birds ate it, but some don't touch it. When the pellets are a mix of many different things, they just choose what they like best.

We feed a measured amount of pellets every afternoon. In the morning they get a fresh chop mixture of a bunch of fruits and vegetables. It's different every day. It depends on what we have in the garden, what it donated, and who makes the chop. Usually kale is most of the greens, lots of fruits and veggies are in there. We serve corn separately, because we have a Macaw who can't eat it. The birds often get a slice of corn on the cob. Most love it. Some won't touch it. Another favorite it banana slices. We have a hotel (I think) who gives us the bananas that have just started to turn brown. They won't put bananas out in the buffet unless they are all yellow, so we get the rejects. The birds love bananas.
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Re: Where I stand on the Diet debate/Pellet reviews

Postby Pajarita » Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:20 pm

The problem with feeding a pellet with sugar or soy is that birds did not evolve to eat either - they are not natural to them. I mean, soy is a plant so it's 'natural' but birds don't eat soybeans because they are poisonous and sugar, as in processed sucrose, is also not found in nature in this form. One could argue that parrots did not evolve to eat sweet potatoes but they did evolve to eat plant material that has the same basic elements that sweet potatoes have while edible soy and sugar are products of human processing. Birds in the wild consume a fair amount of fructose but its hugely diluted in the large amount of water vegetal matter always has (and which pellets don't). I personally know of four birds with diabetes (a disease that no wild bird has ever had and which is hugely difficult to treat with any success in birds) and, of the four, three of them ate pellets with sugar for years (the fourth's prior diet is unknown). In humans, when you eat an excess of sugar for years and years, the body becomes resistant to insulin, especially when there isn't enough hydration so, although there are no avian studies about this (and there will never be because it would mean a study that takes over 20 years), I am convinced that feeding pellets with sugar is likely the reason why some parrots in captivity develop diabetes. Now, I don't know if this is so or not but one of my mottos with birds is 'when in doubt, don't!'
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