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Great nutrition for Birds

August 07, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

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Birds love and need to eat a varied diet so don’t just rely on seeds!

In order for a bird to stay healthy, you need to provide him with a proper herbivorous diet. Out in the wild, he would nibble on leaves, seeds, berries, fruits and barks. It’s important for his feather production, his claws, his digestive system, his bones, his bright eyes and his entertainment, too.  A diet of bird seeds alone is deficient in many nutrients, especially all the vitamins and minerals he would get from green leafy vegetables, orange squash and carrots, and corn as well as a range of juicy citrus fruits, apples and bananas.  Plus raw fruits and vegetables contain digestive enzymes birds need. Here are some ways to provide great nutrition for birds, including vitamins and minerals that are also fun; after all, foraging for food is an important part of their day.

  • Calcium & B vitamins: Use a wet, large piece of romaine lettuce stuck in between the rungs of his cage near a perch. Small birds love to fly at it and roll around on it while they peck at the leaf and get lots of important vitamins. Calcium is an important mineral that leafy greens provide since birds lack the digestive enzymes necessary to eat dairy.
  • Fiber:  Make your bird a seeded corn muffin or seeded oatmeal cookie treat.  Just reduce the amount of sugar to almost none and add seeds to the corn muffin or oat meal cookie batter for a great homemade bird treat that provides lots of healthy carbs.
  • Vitamin A, C, and E plus potassium: Create a lovely fruit and vegetable salad including romaine lettuce, zucchini, cantaloupe melon, banana and apple. Dice or shred it all up and put it in a separate food dish a few times a week. Make it a large dish so he (or other birds) can perch around it easily.  Be sure to remove fresh foods after a few hours as they can gain harmful bacteria out in the open.
  • Protein: Scrambled eggs are a great breakfast for birds. They love to nibble at it plus it’s a great source of protein for them!
  • Always keep seeds in a separate dish for all-day access as even the smallest birds love to crack them and they contribute necessary fibers.
  • Clean fresh water must be available every day: A bird’s water dish must be washed out every day as it gets contaminated easily. Also, never put water bowls under perches and provide a separate, bigger water dish for bathing and playing.
  • Vitamin C: Provide slices of citrus placed near perches in between the rungs of the bird cage to provide a sweet, juicy treat.
  • Carbohydrates: Corn on the cob. Cut a 1-inch round slice of the cob (fresh or cooked) and poke a hole through the middle. Tie a string you can use to hang the corn from the cage. Birds can fly to it, perch on it and nibble it.
  • Throw some cooked peas on top of his seed bowl or mixed into his salad: Birds love to pierce the skin and get the pea pulp inside!
  • Cut some long green beans in half and stick them in the rungs of the cage: Birds love to search for the seed inside and nibble the fibrous surface.
  • Throw some grapes on top of the food dish. Birds love to pierce the skin to get to the juicy pulp.

Start this food fun when you first bring your bird home to begin a lifelong love of different foods, otherwise birds can become finicky, only accepting one kind of seed all the time. If you notice any sudden feeding changes or a decrease in appetite, consult your vet immediately. Birds are the one type of animal that do not show physical signs of disease or injury until it’s almost too late.

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