Over the last few decades, a new trend popped up regarding pet nutrition, regardless of the type of pet involved. This trend focused on giving your pet the food that they would hypothetically eat in the wild if they were still feral. The supporters of this method argument it with the fact that eating raw, natural food keeps your pet healthy and lively, whereas stuffing him with commercial nutrients can cause some serious problems. At the same extent, supporters of the traditional diet methods say that the natural food diets don’t work, for the simple reason that the pet doesn’t get the amount of exercise, freedom and harshness he gets in his potential “wild” state, thus the natural diet has no effect. Parrots make no exception from the rule, as there have been many parrot nutrition disputes over the last few years, regarding the two types of diets.
So how should a parrot owner go about this problem? Should you only feed him natural stuff such as weeds, leaf buds, seeds and fruit parts? Should you try a commercial parrot food pack that boasts with having “all the nutrients your parrot needs”? Or should you try a combination of the two? Although it’s a matter of personal preference, one could conclude that a combination between natural and commercial food is the best, since it offers everything a parrot needs: tasty natural food and his daily requirement of vitamins from the commercial supplements.
When it comes to food, parrots are not picky at all. Although they might not enjoy everything you give them at first, they’ll usually get used to that food type in a short while. Still, you should note that not all food types are healthy for your parrot (although they’ll still eat them). Food holding large amounts of salt can be extremely unhealthy for your parrot, since he won’t be able to excrete all the salt. So avoid giving him any mashed chips, dinner leftovers and basically anything that you’ve salted beforehand.
Also, make sure your parrot doesn’t get a single type of food on his daily diet. Eating seeds may be tasty for him, but note that seeds are not that healthy and they definitely don’t contain the required amount of nutrients a parrot needs on a daily basis. Some pet dietitians compare seeds with junk food, since they will be eagerly eaten by your parrot, but they’re not the healthiest of options. Still, seeds have a very practical use. If your parrot got used to a specific type of diet and you want to switch to a healthier one (but usually less tasty) that he simply will refuse to eat at first, it’s a good idea to “sprinkle” the new food with some tasty seeds in order to tempt your parrot to eat. Once they get the taste of the seeds, they will dig right in to the new food type and eventually get used to it.
The amount and type of food your parrot requires is also heavily dependent on his species and his size. Make sure you try different diets for him and notice which one works, since the correctness of the diet is directly proportional with your parrot’s life span. A good, healthy diet can give him as much as an extra decade of life, so if you care about your pet it’s a good idea to make sure he gets what he needs from his food.
(c) Chris Bloor
Chris Bloor loves parrots and writes more about parrot food and parrot care at http://www.AcmeBirdCages.com