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Pellets

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InTheAir
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Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:25 am

So, being the worrying parront I am, I have a worry about pellets.

We feed roudybush, as our avian vet recommends them and I can't find an organic alternative. The pack says that they are a complete diet and it is not recommended to feed anything else except some healthy treats.
I have a couple problems with this, first and foremost, his birdiness likes A pellet meal. He then gets bored of them and would rather have his perch for dinner, if he had pellets for breakfast. Since he has always been offered fresh foods regularly, I am aware he likes variety and his favourite food is only a favourite for a week at the most.

We offer him a variety of vegetables and a small amount of fruit or berries every day.
We usually give him a breakfast of cooked oats, rice, barley and sometimes quinoa with vegetables and maybe a berry or sprouts or a cooked bean/chickpea. Foraging toys usually have pellets in them and dinner is usually vegetables and pellets. He only gets seeds and nuts for really good tricks when he is training, it's mostly oat groats and another brand of pellets though.
Can anyone advise whether this is an ok diet?

His weight is pretty stable, though he is .5 of a gram up today, we only weigh him about one a week.

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Skyes_crew
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Re: Pellets

Post by Skyes_crew » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:01 am

This past Sunday at our bird club meeting we had a guest speaker. He was one of the top avian vets on the island here. He happens to be from the clinic where I take my birds. Anyway, we all asked him about weight and diets. He advised us to not focus so much on one particular weight that we take and more on the bigger picture. Take the weight every three days and after thirty days add those numbers together and divide by 10. If over 6 months his average is staying within 1-4 grams his weight is good. He also said to feel his keel bone daily. That could be a parront owners first line of defense against illness in our birds. I received a ton of handouts on bird illness, diet, and food shopping lists. Anyone that wants the info please pm me your private email address and I will scan and email the documents to you. I'm leaving on holiday tomorrow and won't return until Tuesday. So I will wait until then to gather everyone's names and will do one mass email.

Your diet sounds fine for Nele (or is it Nila lol) my AV said with pellets, they are a great invention, but by no means ever a complete diet no matter what the bag says. On days he won't eat his fresh or pellets, you can make some fun mash balls for him. Something like cooked zucchini, carrots, and sweet potatoes mashed together with a 1/4 cup of millet. Roll into 1" balls and then roll in whole oats. I imagine for birds they get bored with there food just like a human. Who would want to eat the same thing every single day for the rest of their lives lol. Just try not to over think it. Nele will eat when he's hungry. A health bird will never starve themselves :D
I am owned by my birds...and I wouldn't have it any other way :D

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InTheAir
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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:08 pm

Thanks.
We do a similar pellet porridge some times too, for pellet variety. I'll try the balls too.
Our freezer is full of ready cooked bird meals lol so we just defrost them for breky. There's more bird food then human food in there lol.
I've tried pellets and they are really bland. I can see why his birdiness gets bored of them so quickly! I don't like to eat the same thing everyday either.
He never refuses all the food offered, he just goes off anything that is given every day, even if it was his fav a few days before.

I think it's Nila now, spelling is not really my thing.
Thanks for the info, I'll pm u my email.
Have a lovely holiday!

Claire

MissK
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Re: Pellets

Post by MissK » Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:12 am

Hi Claire,

My two cents: I'm really suspicious of sweeping statements like "our food and fresh veg is all your pet needs". (Being a veteran of reading dog and cat food labels will do that to you!) Read the label and think about it. Obviously your bird is thriving on what you give him. Variety is great; keep it up. Of course you want to do what's best, but consider that there may be no single "best" solution.

Our vet feels pellets (and Nutriberries) are best since the bird cannot pick and choose just the favourites and thus get shorted on nutrition. She also feels they have beneficial supplements that "ordinary" food doesn't have. I can certainly agree that these products contain supplements! There is a good bit of disparity between the products, however, and they all say they are great (of course). In addition, should the bird be getting the bulk of his nutrition from a short list of actual foods and a long list of chemicals?

I am quite cynical, however, and suspicious as noted above. Knowing how the pet food industry began (as a way to turn waste from the human food industry into profit) and knowing how readily companies will take advantage of our dedication to our pets doesn't help. I'm concerned that the vets may be getting their information from the food companies, and just passing on the advertisement to us. I also am not convinced that pellets aren't simply the easy choice for those who are not willing to do the work necessary to feed their birds well.

Lifted from the internet, food for thought:

Harrison's lifetime maint: *Ground Yellow Corn, *Ground Hull-less Barley, *Ground Soybeans, *Ground Shelled Peanuts, *Ground Shelled Sunflower Seeds, *Ground Lentils, *Ground Green Peas, *Ground Toasted Oat Groats, *Ground Rice, *Ground Alfalfa,

Roudybush maint: Ground Corn, Ground Wheat, Peanut Meal, Soy Oil,Soy Meal,

Higgins in tune maint: Ground Yellow Corn, Brown Rice, Soybean Meal, Ground Wheat, Oatmeal, Cane Sugar, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols - a source of Vitamin E), Dicalcium Phosphate, Dried Egg Product, Flaxseed, Calcium Carbonate, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Sea Salt, Cranberries, Apples, Blueberries, Celery, Beets, Parsley, Lettuce, Spinach, Watercress, Brewer's Dried Yeast,

Zupreem natural maint: Ground corn, Soybean meal, Ground wheat, Vegetable oil, Wheat germ meal, Sucrose, Dicalcium phosphate, Calcium carbonate, Ground vegetables (carrots, celery, beets, watercress and spinach)

It isn't easy, and that's for sure!

-MissK
-MissK

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Skyes_crew
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Re: Pellets

Post by Skyes_crew » Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:46 am

I'm leaving soon but I saw MissK's comment and I had to agree real quick lol. For a baseline I have just Mack on nutriberries, avicakes, zupreem fruits, and the kaytee naturals forage diet. That doesn't include his veggie chop, his fruits, his meat, and his other high fat high high protein foods he needs. Feeding a cockatoo is a science project lol. My point is, those pellets if you read the back, sometimes have to be combined with others just to reach a proper baseline because they all lack something. But at the end of the day when I'm cleaning bowls, I'm not looking at how much of his store bought dry food he's eaten, just the fresh :D I too learned from reading dog food labels...never trust a food where the first ingredient is corn :wink:
I am owned by my birds...and I wouldn't have it any other way :D

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clawnz
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Re: Pellets

Post by clawnz » Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:30 am

My two cents worth.
And well I am going to get off side with some here I am still going to say this.
When you find your bird is suffering from malnutrition and you are feeding a high percentage of any pellets, you may start to realise that man made supplements do not do the same as natural ones.
Most pellets are a base of ground corn, with the goodness thrown away when it is ground up.
This can be up to 80% of the product.
Pellets do not allow for changing seasons and they do not exist in the wild.
Kidney problems can be enhanced by a pellet diet. Due to the dry diet. So the body has to pull moisture from its self.
It is already showing in Cockatiels and Budgies that a high percentage diet can lead to health problems.

And as for Avian Vets. You will find very few who have done any work on bird nutrition. They push pellets as they do not trust you to feed your bird well. And if they push pellets are they likely to diagnose any health trouble as being pellets.
I can give you a few cases were a bird has been sick, and when pellets were stopped and another diet sorted the bird has recovered.
Read up on Toe Tapping in some mutations, (not Ringecks) and how this has been connected to a pellet diet.

If you still feel the need to feed any pellets, please consider keeping them to 25% or under of the diet.
And as for Roudybush don't they claim on the packet that this is all you need to feed your birds?

If you care for your bird/birds and want them to live a long and healthy life. Research as decent diet and give them regular flight time.
There is no excuse with Ringnecks and my Alex in feeding them very well with NO Pellets at all.

Sorry if this offends anybody. But I do care for my birds and will always hold them up as an example of how great a condition they are in.Image

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InTheAir
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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:08 pm

Thanks for the replies guys

My main worry is that with all the extra stuff added to the pellets that he's getting too much vitamin supplements etc.

Also I shop around to prevent supporting the ge industry for a number of reasons in my diet, so I get very frustrated by not being able to do the same for my bird friend. I am also not a fan of soy, which is a staple of most pellets.

I'm not confident that I can provide the perfect balanced diet from home cooking though, that's why he has pellets available.

MissK
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Re: Pellets

Post by MissK » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:33 pm

Claire, I think you would do well to relax on the idea of "Perfect" and cosy up to the idea of "Excellent" instead. Speaking as a recovering Perfectionist, with 12 years of "exactly just so and perfect" dog handling under my belt, I would really love to save you from that burden. Really, it's a heavy load you need not bear.

We can see clearly that you offer Nele a great variety, and he, himself, will make sure he gets everything in moderation by refusing to get pigeon-holed into a single food for long. You already know he needs seeds, grains, vegetation, fruits, and some protein. I'm sure you're aware he needs to "eat his colours", and that he needs less fruit than veggies, less seed than grain, AND you are able and willing to provide them. You are not the person for whom pellets were invented.

The concern of over-supplementing the bird is a valid one, although I think the risk is in no way as strong as if you were supplementing with a food additive, as opposed to regular food. Remember that every mouthful he takes of real food takes the place of a mouthful of pellets. Each bite is either one or the other, not both. I suggest as a compromise that you can try giving him a day of pellets as the label instructs two or three days a week. Then you can satisfy your own need to feed him pellets, without the fear of overdosing him, and he can also get the natural foods he was meant to eat on the other days.

I say these things more from a practical and philosophical standpoint than one of avian nutritional expertise. I have never seen a far-reaching study on avian nutrition. I do know that from nutrients in the dog food to compounds in man-made human vitamin supplements, the natural compounds are the ones that are more bioavailable. I cannot believe bird pellets have somehow managed to break from this mold, being as they are, *relative* newcomers.

I hope you can tolerate my opinions on this matter!
-MissK
-MissK

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InTheAir
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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:35 am

Thanks for being the voice of reason once again, miss k. Perfectionism is a hard hobby to give up. :mrgreen:

I'd rather not feed pellets, but I don't know enough about his dietary needs to go against the vets advice. I haven't really found enough comprehensive information to be confident about it...

MissK
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Re: Pellets

Post by MissK » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:05 am

Have you considered talking to the vet and saying "Hey, I appreciate what you're saying about the pellets, but I'm just not comfortable with them. I would like to feed my bird naturally, on actual whole foods. I realize it will take a good bit of work and dedication, but I feel strongly about it and I really want to give it a try. Can you help me understand what the bird needs and how to provide it? Can you help me outline a sample week's meals to satisfy his needs?" You should be prepared to make an appointment and compensate the vet for her time.

Your vet is likely to react in a limited number of ways. She might decline to enter into this dialogue. She might be unable, through inadequate knowledge on her part, to advise you. She might enter it with misgivings due to her staunch support of pellets. She might refer you to more knowledgeable resources. She might embrace the opportunity to work with you on your project. You won't know until you approach it directly.

Personally, I feel if the vet refused to help, I would seek another vet. If she were literally not prepared to address it (after consulting her resources), I would question her competence as a nutrition advisor. If she referred you to a more knowledgeable source, I would be satisfied and follow that source. But if you explain your need in a rational and persuasive way, I don't see any reason your vet would not be willing to help you. At the end of the day, you employ that vet, and she has a certain interest in helping you get what you want. Being a human being of free will, she has the right to refuse that employment, but seeing that you have your bird's best interest in view, I doubt she would choose to.

Keep us posted!
-MissK
-MissK

clawnz
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Re: Pellets

Post by clawnz » Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:18 pm

I will elaborate on why I claim your bird can suffer from Malnutrition while on a high pellet diet.
Where you want to believe or understand this.
A birds body may need to try and rid it's self of some things it is getting a overdose of in the pellets. and to do this it will be using body resources to do this.

A: you do not need to cook for your bird.
But Birdy Bread, Birdy Mash, or making your own nuggets, is simple and a great way to get things into them they may not eat if given separate. And you can boost things and even add meds to these.
As I said above not very many Avian Vets know that much about your individual birds diet needs.
Here is a link to Scott Echols Facebook group on animal nutrition. Post any question you have there are someone will help you.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1393577 ... omments=35

B: A decent natural diet is so very easy for Ringnecks and if you do this you will not have to worry or stress about adding man made supplements.

C: a bird needs a varied diet as the seasons change.
I.E. When they are molting they may need a little bit more protein.

I firmly believe if given the chance most birds will decide what they need as the seasons change. Or at least I can confirm that my birds will do this and never gorge on just one seed or food.
But I do change things out and try to give different foods all the time.
I still come back to sprouting. Mung Beans are as super food cost a fraction of pellets and will do your birds a lot more good with a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements.
http://www.landofvos.com/articles/sprouts.html

I hope this helps you rethink? You can do this and it is not very hard, Ok so it is not as simple as throwing a lot of pellets in the food bowl and walking away.

MissK
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Re: Pellets

Post by MissK » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:39 pm

Hi clawnz!

I can certainly see why you say a bird may become malnourished on a diet of solely pellets. Some of them are extraordinarily limited. You're preaching to the choir, here, at least for me. :D

Because you have experience feeding your birds naturally, I am wondering if you would help this discussion with some concrete examples of how you think Claire (or anyone, really) might be advised to feed the Ringneck for a week? I mean literally, what would you suggest goes in the feed bowl each day, to provide the variety needed?

I, personally, feel confident giving my bird a variety of fresh foods, multiple colours/phytonutrients represented, along with a high quality seed mix and a human multigrain mix as well. He does eat some pellets or Nutriberries, though not much, and not every day. Many people, however, are not so comfortable with my somewhat laissez-faire approach. They seek some definite instruction, and, perhaps, a more scientific approach. It would be a boon if you could help with that.

Would you be in the mood to give some instruction?

-MissK
-MissK

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InTheAir
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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:28 pm

I second miss ks motion.

We will be making an appointment for a check up at the vet soonish, so I will bring a list of nutrition qu stions. The vet is quite far away and only open on week days, it's a little challenging to get there (though if Nila was unwell it would not seem so difficult).

Clawnz. I'd like to point out our bird does get a variety of vegetables (both cooked and raw), cooked grains and sprouts, as well as the option to eat pellets when he chooses. I gave an approximate example of his daily feeding schedule in my original post. Neither my boyfriend nor I ever chuck a bowl of pellets in and walk away.
We spend ages creating foraging opportunities with the pellets, and when we give him a pellet meal it is laden with fresh vegetables. We are not including pellets in our birds diet because we are too lazy to look after him, it's because we want to ensure he has the best possible nutrition.

MissK
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Re: Pellets

Post by MissK » Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:06 pm

I give Rocky pellets because.....

1) We have pellets. They're food. Food is dear.
2) I want him to own the skill of eating pellets, in case any emergency should arise where he would need that skill.
3) I think pellets are far from ideal, but I'm not so arrogant as to believe they have nothing to offer.
4) Variety is the spice of life.

-MissK
-MissK

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Skyes_crew
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Re: Pellets

Post by Skyes_crew » Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:21 pm

I'm on holiday...I've been keeping up though, I'll admit. I just had to finally say something otherwise it would have plagued me all day. Claire has never...NEVER...been lazy about the feeding or care of Nila. It seems to me that if some people would read through all the posts in a thread before making a judgement call, then intentions wouldnt be misconstrued. :) cheers
I am owned by my birds...and I wouldn't have it any other way :D

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Redzone
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Re: Pellets

Post by Redzone » Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:17 pm

InTheAir wrote: We offer him a variety of vegetables and a small amount of fruit or berries every day.
We usually give him a breakfast of cooked oats, rice, barley and sometimes quinoa with vegetables and maybe a berry or sprouts or a cooked bean/chickpea. Foraging toys usually have pellets in them and dinner is usually vegetables and pellets. He only gets seeds and nuts for really good tricks when he is training, it's mostly oat groats and another brand of pellets though.
Clawnz, here is the relevant part of Claire's first post outlining what we feed Nila every day. As you can see, Nila only gets maybe 25% of his daily meals as pellets.

Your posts seemed condescending, whilst you obviously have a good deal of knowledge in regards to avian dietary requirements, no need to talk down to people who are obviously already on the right track & are just asking WHY pellet bags have written on them that they are suitable as a 100% diet for parrots...

clawnz
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Re: Pellets

Post by clawnz » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:58 pm

Redzone wrote:
InTheAir wrote: We offer him a variety of vegetables and a small amount of fruit or berries every day.
We usually give him a breakfast of cooked oats, rice, barley and sometimes quinoa with vegetables and maybe a berry or sprouts or a cooked bean/chickpea. Foraging toys usually have pellets in them and dinner is usually vegetables and pellets. He only gets seeds and nuts for really good tricks when he is training, it's mostly oat groats and another brand of pellets though.
Clawnz, here is the relevant part of Claire's first post outlining what we feed Nila every day. As you can see, Nila only gets maybe 25% of his daily meals as pellets.

Your posts seemed condescending, whilst you obviously have a good deal of knowledge in regards to avian dietary requirements, no need to talk down to people who are obviously already on the right track & are just asking WHY pellet bags have written on them that they are suitable as a 100% diet for parrots...
Sorry if I seem rude! For this I am sorry I know I am blunt at times.
That was not aimed at Claire. I am just saying that I have heard people say I do not have time to sort food so pellets save me work.
No this was not a member here that I know of.
And you are right Roydybush does claim on their packets this is all you need to feed your birds. It is a very bold claim, but do they really care that your bird is going to be eating this for over 40yrs? I would guess not. They are more worried about making money.

I show you two photos of Ricky (Eastern Rosella) First when he was at the rescue. And the second and third are after being with me for a few months.
Image

Image

Image

My own vet used to preach pellets to me.
He does not do this any more as he knows my birds are in great shape. When I took Dexter in they were all going on about how good he looked and his bright colours. I have just taken in a SC2 that is being rehomed, and the first thing I did was to take him in for a full check up including blood works. Conclusion he is not bad, with not much wrong. We discussed what he needed and Berends comments were to get his diet sorted. And he thinks I can do this and did not even mention pellets.


Clair: You are doing just fine with the way you are going.
I am not a specialist in bird nutrition. I just work hard to see them right. Mind you I have taken stick from other forums because of what I do.
The sprouts will replace most of what the pellets are doing, but in a much better form and you would be hard pushed to over dose with them.
Warning they are at their best when the tails are no longer than 1/2in long, do not put them in the fridge and do not buy the ones in the shops. Fresh is by far better. From the point of germination to 1/2in long then throw them away.
If you are feeding pellets at all do not add calcium and no citrus.
A simple test with just one Artificial Vitamin A. Sorry this needs correcting! I should of said Vitamin C not A. It will not cure scurvy, while oranges will. It is that simple why I make my claim about pellets.

Natural woods and tree tops from safe trees are very good for them and can contain trace elements that are good for their condition. Manuka, Kanuka, Banksia, Bottle Brush Paperbark Gum all eucalyptus trees Agonis, Pohutakawa. To name a few. These can be used as foraging items. And even better when in flower.
Even flowering Cherry is ok, but only the flowers (No chewing of the stems).
Weeds Grasses in seed, Dandelion, Sow Thistle, Milk Thistle.
Veges Silver beet, Chards, Dark leaf greens, sweetcorn, peas. I am working on other things here.
Yams, carrots ( these do need to be cooked to release Vit A and betacaratain sweet potato will do the same job without cooking.
Fruit, My Alex go for apples, oranges, grapes. They will sometimes eat pear, kiwi fruit. And I will try them on anything I can find in the fruit section. I buy a big box of what is considered over ripe or damaged fruit for $2 use this for a day or two then throw out for the wild birds.

My Alex get into the Cockatiel seed mix this is the only seed mix I keep here. (Always check to see how good the seed mix is, as it can be stale or old) (Try germinating some if only a few germinate throw away) And Millet is always put out for them But I do have and use. Hulled oats, Wheat, Pumpkin seeds, Barley, Dates, dried Apricots. Sultanas, Rasins, Chopped nuts. And others. Most of this I put into my Nuggets I make for them now and then.
I do not feed these very often, but if I am thinking I need to get some goodies into them. As I can use eggs and shells, grind in cuttle bone.

Some nuts, But I do not know much about these as my guys were never taught to eat nuts, so what I have tried them with so far has been very much a flop.

Throw in Cuttle bone, Mineral blocks, and I do buy these Mineral crumbles from Aussy called Calcium Crumble.
The only other reason I can give for having happy healthy Fids is the fact that they are allowed to live a cage free life with-in the house. Flight is another very important part of their well being. In America I would be looking at having the Manu Salt lick blocks for birds available, as I feel salt is a very important part of any diet. I am not saying any added salt, but we are saline based and this same as PH needs to be in balance.
Gram stains are very good for telling a few things about our birds general health.
Mixing things up and keep it varied, is my thinking. They never know what I am going to bring home next.

Sorry forgot a little bit of good human foods. Be careful with bread. The SC2 I have in has yeast issues, not bad, but there is active yeast. And this we point at the daily slice of Vogels he used to get. Not anymore.
A little bit of Cheese and Yogurt are ok. bear in mind they are no Lactose tolerant, but a little will not hurt them and I also dose with pro biotic yogurt after anti biotic to quickly bring up the good gut bacteria.
Flax or Linseed to boost omega 3, this does take time to work as the body needs to metabolise this. I have used pure Salmon oil. (3drops per day for five days) to boost Henry when he was suffering from what we are sure was Arthritis. Then I moved him to a holistic treatment, which seems to have worked as he has been pain free as far as I know for over a year now. If I had stayed with my Av he would of been getting Metacam
I hope this may help.

Please remember I am not an expert and do discuss things with people before I try anything. Research and watch your birds condition is magic.

I find when I take in a new bird it will go into a molt with-in a few weeks. I put this down to sorting out their diet.
Last edited by clawnz on Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Skyes_crew
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Re: Pellets

Post by Skyes_crew » Tue Jul 23, 2013 6:05 pm

Clawnz wrote:
A little bit of Cheese and Yogurt are ok. bear in mind they are no Lactose tolerant, but a little will not hurt them and I also dose with pro biotic yogurt after anti biotic to quickly bring up the good gut bacteria.

The process used to make yoghurt leaves no trace of lactose behind. It can be fed safely to birds with sugar free being the better option. Yoghurt has natural probiotics present already so there is no need to add additional probiotics. The digestive system of a bird is too quick for most of it to take root so it really is just a waste. It does help with the flora production during antibiotic administration but it has to be timed specific so an AV has to make a case by case specific call on that one.
I am owned by my birds...and I wouldn't have it any other way :D

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clawnz
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Re: Pellets

Post by clawnz » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:37 pm

Sorry I should of said Milk and soft cheese do contain Lactose while yogurt and hard cheese is clear of most lactose.

Now on the subject of pellets and why why I feel they are not a good option regardless of what some will tell you. I have permission to post this from Alicia McWatters Ph.D. And I thought it better to post this, instead of the the link
http://www.africangreys.com/articles/nu ... ellets.htm

Quote:
"Why Food Is Better Than Pellets
By Alicia McWatters, Ph.D.
"PROVIDE COMPLETE, BALANCED NUTRITION TO ALL OF YOUR FEATHERED FRIENDS BY SERVING A PELLETED BIRD FEED" This is what many of the advertisements are saying. We are told that all the essential nutrients our birds will ever need are to be found in a bag or canister, and by simply pouring these crunchy morsels into our birds’ feed bowls, we’ve done our jobs as good bird owners. And many of us are happy because we think we’re providing our pet birds with 100% nutrition. But we have been deceived.

All of the known vitamins and minerals might be there in the pelleted diets, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re doing our birds much good. Commercial feed makers would like you to believe that our birds’ bodies can’t tell the difference between synthetic nutrients and nutrients in food. The reasoning goes something like this, "Synthetic vitamins are manufactured to produce the same chemicals that a vitamin is made of, so our birds’ bodies can’t tell the difference." We’re also told: "Don’t feed too many fresh foods like fruits and vegetables: they are not nearly as healthy as a perfectly balanced pelleted feed and may upset its delicate balance." With my busy schedule, I wish this were true. Let me tell you I say this:

NUTRIENTS, SYNTHETIC VERSUS REAL
Synthetic nutrients are not the same as those from foods, and our birds’ bodies CAN tell the difference. An example: Vitamin C is known as a chemical called ascorbic acid. But, when Dr. Svent Gyorgyi first isolated ascorbic acid as a cure for scurvy, an interesting thing occurred: isolated ascorbic acid did not completely cure scurvy, but only lessened its effect. Later when vitamin C in the crude (raw) form from peppers was used, it cured scurvy completely. What was the difference? The difference was that ascorbic acid in food is always found with a class of compounds called bioflavonoids, which scientists have confirmed are necessary to completely cure scurvy.

Bioflavonoids do more than just prevent scurvy. They are a phytochemical that has important biological functions. They are antioxidant compounds that protect our birds from free radical damage and cancer. These natural substances also have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties that may help arthritic conditions, as well as boost immunity.

There are also needed trace element-containing enzymes found in vitamin C in food. One of these is ascorbate oxidase, a copper containing enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of ascorbic acid at a physiological pH that makes ascorbic acid effective in the body as an antioxidant. Another important enzyme is tyrosinase, which supplies organic copper needed in the body for lymphocyte function and other purposes. There are other co-nutrients found with vitamin C and some we don’t even know about yet.

These co-nutrients are required to make vitamin C an effective protective agent against disease. Ascorbic acid alone has limited value in the body. Ascorbic acid is just one compound out of a number of nutrients that are found together in food and are known collectively as vitamin C. They work together synergistically.

What applies to vitamin C applies to ALL vitamins. Vitamins in nature are never isolated in pure crystalline states. They are always found in combination with proteins, trace element-containing enzymes, and other substances in a complex of nutrients.

Nature put all of those nutrients together in food for a very good reason– they are ALL needed to work together to protect us from disease. There is a biological difference between natural and synthetic sources of vitamins.

BIRDS AND VITAMIN C
Since birds are known to synthesize vitamin C in sufficient amounts, many feel it is not necessary in their diets. We have noticed that in times of stress, and that includes at breeding times, our birds consume larger amounts of foods containing this vitamin; thus, we feel it to be especially useful at these times. Also, a bird may have a dysfunction of the enzyme that produces vitamin C; therefore, individual requirements may vary. Vitamin C is known to prevent C. Albicans, viral and various bacterial infections. Some factors which deplete vitamin from the body are: stress, air pollution, cortisone, antihistamines and tetracyclines. A deficiency may cause anemia, poor digestion, decreased resistance to infections, stress, bone and joint disorders, and dry skin and feathers. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, berries, green leafy vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and most fresh uncooked fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin C therapy may help with allergies, high cholesterol, sinusitis, diabetes, gout, heart disease, cataracts, cancer prevention and kidney disorders. Vitamin C is a natural anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, antioxidant and anti-stress nutrient. It assists in collagen production, iron absorption, red blood cell formation, proper function of the adrenal glands, burn and wound healing, and it boosts immune system function. The absorption of iron and calcium are increased by adequate intake of vitamin C. Foods high in vitamin C work as antioxidants which help free the body of the daily toxins (unavoidable in some cases) which are in our air, water, some foods, radiation, toxic metals, stress and other harmful environmental conditions (known as "free radicals") which can cause damage to our birds’ health.

BIOFLAVONOIDS
Bioflavonoids are nutrients which are not synthesized by the body and must be obtained in the diet. There are many different bioflavonoids, including hesperidin, quercetin, rutin, and they are sometimes referred to as vitamin P. Bioflavonoids possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic capabilities, and they often occur with vitamin C in fruits and vegetables, as they work in conjunction with vitamin C to enhance its absorption. Bioflavonoids are found in the pulp and white grind just beneath the peel of citrus fruits, along with cherries, blackberries, blueberries, apricots, grapes, peppers, soybeans, garlic and buckwheat. Bioflavonoids may be helpful for reducing pain, healing bruises and protecting the structure of the capillaries. They have been known to possess antibacterial properties, as well as to aid in the prevention of cataracts and cancer.

In the case of vitamin E (tocopherol), the dextro form occurs in nature in foods, such as nuts, seeds, grains, legumes and vegetables— and is the form that is highly usable and biologically active in the body. Synthetic vitamin E is found in the levo form of tocopherol (listed as dl-tocopherol), and it is only partially usable in the body, meaning that the unusable portion is eliminated.

ADVERSE REACTIONS
An interesting phenomenon is sometimes seen in clinical work. Treatments with high doses of synthetic vitamins, such as synthetic ascorbic acid and B-1 (thiamine), will cause adverse reactions, while naturally derived vitamins at the same dosage cause no harm. The body’s biological response to synthetic vitamins can be very different from its response to the natural vitamin containing all the synergies. That is because vitamins in the chemically isolated form often don’t function as vitamins, but more like drugs. It is the abnormally high levels that can induce toxicity similar to the way a drug can.

One of the biggest myths today concerning food is that we can make food healthy by enriching or fortifying it with synthetic vitamins, minerals, amino acids and so forth after the natural nutrients have been removed. Grains lose an average of 75% or more of their vitamin and mineral content after the germ and bran are removed in the processing and refining procedures. Grains also lose their vitamin B6, vitamin E, magnesium, copper, zinc, manganese and chromium during processing. The germ and bran content are the most nutritious parts of grains, and they are thrown away. Of the thirty known nutrients removed, usually only around four are added back in synthetically. These synthetic nutrients are NOT the same as the nutrients nature produces and, in some cases, they may be virtually useless to our birds’ bodies. We are left with a fractional feed, an inferior product.

The way our birds are supposed to get their nutrients is in the form that nature provides...whole fruits, vegetables, grains, and so forth. Living food provides minerals in organic form, biologically combined with special proteins (enzymes and amino acids) that allow the body to utilize them properly.

Beyond proper utilization, many trace minerals are toxic, if our birds eat them in inorganic form. Zinc can be toxic as an inorganic chemical, such as from zinc-coated toy parts, galvanized hardware cloth, or supplemented zinc (ie..zinc oxide), but it is a necessary and very important nutrient in food. Elemental copper is considered a heavy metal; but if a bird absorbs too much, it can be poisoned. Iodine can be poisonous in its elemental form, but is also essential in food.

It is quite remarkable how nature converts something that’s toxic to our birds in an inorganic form–to a safe organic form–nutrients in food. Your Grey can never be harmed from the trace minerals in food because nature balances the elements out and gives them to our birds in the form their bodies can safely use.

In the case of selenium, the organic form is selenoamino acids, such as L-selenomethionine. In this form, it is assimilated into the tissues readily and is useful as an antioxidant and is easily tolerated at levels where inorganic forms would show toxicity. Inorganic selenium compounds, such as sodium selenite, while much better than elemental selenium, become toxic in much smaller amounts than with selenoamino acids and are assimilated into the tissues poorly.

The same holds true for other inorganic compounds of minerals. They include calcium carbonate as a calcium source and ferrous sulfate as an iron source. They are much easier to make than organic forms and cost less. None of the inorganic forms have the biological activity of the organic forms found in food. There is a major difference between organic minerals found in living plants and the inorganic minerals found in rocks.

SUPPLEMENTS
I think of pellets as a supplement, rather than a food, similar to taking a multi-vitamin/mineral pill. Multi-supplements always omit nutrients that are known to be essential and nutrients which are not yet known. Look at the form in which the nutrients in pellets occur. Most use inorganic minerals and synthetic vitamins that have limited value in the body. Also, many of these nutrients don’t break down in a period of time that enables our Greys to absorb the vitamins and minerals they are consuming in these diets. So they pass right through the system unabsorbed and as a result, a deficiency may occur. Because these diets are concentrated, it’s very easy to get far more of certain nutrients than is actually required by the body. And as with any supplement, you never know how much your bird really needs as each Grey is biologically and genetically unique; therefore, dietary requirements will vary.

Finally, how do you know your bird is getting what it says on the label of a fabricated feed? The nutrients in these products are subject to the same losses as they are in food. If vitamins have been sitting around at room temperature for a while since manufacture, they can decompose into unusable and even toxic forms.

THE END RESULT
The end result to all of this is that your bird’s body may have a big job of eliminating the vitamins and minerals it doesn’t need, because it’s getting either excessive amounts or amounts in a form it can’t utilize, and this elimination involves enzymes. While it is true that vitamins and minerals are coenzymes, they are not the enzyme itself, and the enzymes will be helped very little by the excess or unusable forms of vitamins and minerals. The excess or unusable forms of vitamins and minerals act in the body like drugs and have to be expelled continuously. This constant use of the body’s enzymes for the elimination of unneeded or unusable nutrients taxes the body’s enzyme system. Anything that depletes your body of enzymes is detrimental to good health.

It’s one thing if one chooses to feed a pelleted diet because they simply don’t want to take the time to feed a well-balanced fresh food diet and acknowledges that it is inferior to a fresh diet. But is quite another issue when one feeds a pelleted diet because they think it is superior to a varied fresh diet. IT IS NOT!!!

It is my belief that feeding a daily ration of a fabricated feed does not support optimum health for our birds. If you feed a manufactured diet, just remember that it is NO substitute for the whole natural foods.

All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any means, without permission of the author.

This article was first published in the Fall 1997 issue of The Grey Play Round Table Magazine.

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Melika
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Re: Pellets

Post by Melika » Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:37 am

InTheAir wrote:We feed roudybush, as our avian vet recommends them and I can't find an organic alternative.
Is this available in your area? http://totallyorganics.com/ So far this has been the pellet I like the most. Hane used to love Roudybush, but he has since gotten over his infatuation and prefers these instead. They also smell better. And I like the ingredients better. Win win. Even Persephone likes them (the whole point of having pellets again was having something better than seed for that picky 'tiel! One day she will eat veggies. One day.). Win again. This time I ordered some of the soak seed mix also to try.


clawnz, I am not sure why you think that we might dislike a post saying pellets are not good as a complete diet- in fact most posts in this forum highlight the goodness of real foods over pellets! The option is there for those who want to feed them. As was mentioned before, it can be useful to have a bird that will eat them, just in case. Just like in the article you posted, most of the members here view "pellets as a supplement, rather than a food, similar to taking a multi-vitamin/mineral pill." :)
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Re: Pellets

Post by clawnz » Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:41 pm

clawnz, I am not sure why you think that we might dislike a post saying pellets are not good as a complete diet- in fact most posts in this forum highlight the goodness of real foods over pellets! The option is there for those who want to feed them. As was mentioned before, it can be useful to have a bird that will eat them, just in case. Just like in the article you posted, most of the members here view "pellets as a supplement, rather than a food, similar to taking a multi-vitamin/mineral pill." :)[/quote]


I feel I am sometimes picked out for my comments. And have no wish to get off side with those who go out of their way to see their birds right and well cared for.
This year I have been labeled a TROLL for some of my comments on bird nutrition and welfare.
I know I am outspoken about diet and flight. But this is because I feel they go hand in hand, for a healthy bird.

I think a point that could be made about any birds diet we have not talked about is!
If we do know our birds body language and condition, we will see when they are in good health. I.E. Their feather condition and colour.
I have had two examples in the last few weeks that tell me I am on the right track with my Alex. Both of these people have not seen Dexter for awhile and both have said How their colours are bright and shiny, and look so much better than when I got them.
Dexters heat almost glows in sunlight.

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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:27 pm

Melika: That was my first choice for pellets, but can't source them locally! There is an organic brand being developed in Australia at the moment that seems similar, hopefully it will be on the market soon and more accessible.

Clawnz: If you would like some genuine feedback on communication I would be happy to pm you. I would really like this topic to remain about pellets, pros and cons.

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Re: Pellets

Post by Melika » Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:06 pm

InTheAir wrote:Melika: That was my first choice for pellets, but can't source them locally! There is an organic brand being developed in Australia at the moment that seems similar, hopefully it will be on the market soon and more accessible.
Aww. Even here they're waaaay expensive for me to have shipped to my house. But I don't go through it too quickly (and I try to recycle whatever Hane grounds into powder back into birdie bread for him HA!) since he eats a lot of other foods.

I think I've been on the positive and negative side of pellets, both with Hane and watching friend's parrots. My first experience with Harrison's in person was a caique owned by the director of the animal shelter I worked at. He ate Harrison's exclusively and never looked fantastic, not as bright as I expected. When the director then got an african grey, I shared all the knowledge I had with her on hand-feeding and diet and my mash recipe, which she also began feeding to the caique. Not everyone has the time to prepare fresh food every day, and it was a great option for her that she was actually willing to do. Skeeter was given one cube a day. A half year later I was lucky enough to be at the shelter when her vet stopped by to look at one of the shelter dogs and he saw the caique and exclaimed at his feather condition, best he had ever seen on that bird. So much brighter and he even had a healthier weight (was on the skinny side until adding real food to his diet). I was very proud of the mash. XD

Harrison's was the last pellet I tried before going back to Totally Organics, as I was trying to find something as good for the price. Hane ended up having a regurgitation problem within a month of eating Harrison's. I thought perhaps it was just a hormonal thing at first with spring/summer coming on, so this went on for some time. Then I decided to remove the Harrison's and see what happened- lo' and behold, he stopped regurgitating. I don't know exactly why or what was going on with his system- was it influencing his hormones, was it too dry, was it an allergy, etc.? I don't think I'll ever know, all I know is it didn't work well with his system. But it didn't bother the 'tiel one bit! It was the first pellet I ever got her to eat, actually which was what I really wanted anyway (she was seed only and stubborn as a mule about it).

So I've tried Exact, Zupreem, Roudybush, Harrison's, and Totally Organics and have to say the last is my favourite followed by Zupreem and Roudybush.

There's a very reputable breeder here in FL who breeds african species of parrots, and she feeds no veggies- and had better results and healthier parrots/chicks because of it in the long run. http://www.africanqueenaviaries.com/noveggies.htm

I really do think it will depend on the species of parrot and your individual bird. Some species, particularly eclectus, really shouldn't have pellets, as anecdotal evidence shows it gives them too much of a good thing. One reason I don't have a male Vos ekkie (second on my dream bird list) is because of the time/effort required for optimal diet. http://www.landofvos.com/articles/#toetap

Hane has become a feather picker, though I am not exactly sure how it began. Was it because I was in school and he wasn't getting enough attention? Was it because he ate mostly pellets during that time? Was it because of both those reasons? Was it genetic (his mother picks)? Don't know. But I do know that the more variety of foods, the more he is distracted from picking. The pellet question always sits in the back of my mind, because of what I know of ekkie diets. So I did take him off pellets for almost a year to see if his condition would improve. I can't say it did. Actually, it improves on Totally Organics, but I think that's because grinding the pellets into powder takes a while- which is fine by me!
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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:14 am

Thanks for the info, Melika.

That African Grey link was interesting. I wonder if more attention and testing went into grey diets when pellets are being developed. ..

Since irns appear to be thriving in the wild in agricultural areas, I guess the added cultivated diet might be suiting them.
I certainly couldn't imagine feeding no vegetables to a house pet. I think he'd go mental at us if he didn't get his plate of yummy vegetables while we are eating.

I attended a talk recently by Pamela Clarke. She mentioned that feather plucking seems to be started by a combination of factors, rather than just one thing.
Out of curiosity, is Hanes mother an aviary bird or house pet?

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Re: Pellets

Post by Melika » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:11 pm

I would add that it isn't only greys that Jean breeds. It's most of the Poicephalus species- Brown-necked and Grey-headed, Meyers, Jardines, Red-bellied- as well as the Timneh and Congo greys. I think I remember reading an article once about the Ruppell's Parrot as well from her, trying to help conservation of that species. Anyway, she got her first pair in 1994 so has been dealing with these birds a long time- and she doesn't feed pellets exclusively and she has added in other articles that the African species tend to do well with seed added to their diet. She mentions she feeds Roudybush to her birds in that article, but you can see that she sends home Pretty Bird pellets with new chicks. This was just her personal experience as a breeder of these birds. Not to mention the focus was on chick/parent health and pellets made it easier for the parents to raise healthy chicks- which is quite different from our goals as pet owners. As to pellet research and greys, there has been extra research done on them and it was concluded they need a bit more calcium, thus the specialty african grey pellets available today.

I don't believe Hane does well without veggies either, and the Asiatic parrots aren't primarily grain eaters. They seem to like more 'wet' in their diet. A bird eating out of agricultural fields is still getting more of a natural diet than eating pellets (processed, dried food) and is likely also eating bugs, as most birds do.

Hane's mother was an aviary type bird. She was never tame. The owners had the very tame male and decided to get a companion for him and that was the end of having a tame bird for them. She didn't pluck until Hane was a few years old- Hane began plucking about 3 years ago.
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Re: Pellets

Post by jmlw7 » Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:03 am

I dont know what kind of response Im going to get from posting this.. but a while back when we first got Remy, I wanted to take her off of seeds and onto pellets not knowing much about them other than Ive heard people saying their avian vets recommend pellets. I never did feed her pellets.. and dont really plan on it anytime soon.

The observation I made was when Remy was going through her molt and I feared feather plucking. I was so obsessed with all of the feather plucking stories that every day I would research more to ensure we werent doing anything that was causing Remy to pluck. She never plucked but her huge molt scared me, and I bawled like a baby when i saw photos of naked birds. Anyway, something that may be a coincidence, but an observation of mine nonetheless, is every story I read about is of birds that eat pellets. Some as their main staple diet, some only occasionally, all stories vary, but they all had the pellets thing in common. I owned a parakeet years ago before the internet who lived 10 years off of only seed. Definitely not anything nutritious and I didnt know better.. if I did he probably would have lived much longer. But with all the nutrition deficiencies he must have had and being a lone parakeet, I never even knew plucking existed as he never did it. Not saying its a given that he should, but many stories Ive read of birds only on pellets for years, begin to pluck.

Like I said, could be a coincidence, and we are still newbie parronts so what do we really know? But something I believe today (I say today because we are always learning), is that if I wont eat it, I wont give it to Remy. The only thing I will give her once a week that I wont eat are nutriberries and some simple budgie seed because that's what she ate before she came to us. But everything else she eats needs to be something that we would eat ourselves

Not to mention, Im on a diet where I am trying to avoid eating anything processed - in a box, bag or can. Even better something with less than 3 ingredients. So Remy's foods will have to be somewhat similar to my own for the time being. Summary is that I'm afraid of pellets. :?

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Re: Pellets

Post by Skyes_crew » Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:50 am

You make a good observation Josie. But the problem with pellets isn't the pellets per se. It's that when pellets came onto the market they were advertised as the complete parrot diet. Birds were taken off of fresh and seed and whatever else they were on for the ease of a complete diet in the form of a pellet. But what wasn't advertised was that the method used to create the pellets destroyed most of the natural vitamins and minerals in the pellets so they had to have artificial ones infused into them. So these birds bodies were stressed from the sudden reduction in natural vitamins and minerals and the sudden introduction to the first ever "processed" food for parrots. The problem with internet stories like those is that based on which side of the coin the author is, the story can be a bit biased. Pellets are not all bad though. For anyone who's ever owned a picky eater they have been a blessing. When you look at the facts that a plucker was known to have been eating pellets, multiple pluckers have been known to have been eating pellets it's still not enough information to come to the conclusion that you have. And for several reasons. First, were the birds being offered fresh fruits and veggies also? Were the birds being offered natural unobstructed daylight for at least 15 minutes daily? Was the pellet brand of a high quality? Was the bird being handled and trained daily? These are all questions that could help to determine an alternate answer to why the bird was plucking. But on the Internet when someone is trying to make a case against something, in this case pelleted food for birds, they tend to only give partial facts and obscure the whole truth. Unless its coming from an actual veterinarian study or college study, I don't really hold that much regard for those articles. They're interesting to read other people's points of view though :D if you're feeding Remy a balanced fresh diet (which we know you are) then pellets or seeds are really not even necessary.
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Re: Pellets

Post by jmlw7 » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:44 am

I know it really isnt a good case to hint at pellets perhaps leading to plucking in some way...not at all... and these authors werent blaming anything on pellets either. They were simply stating their distress of how they dont know why their birds are plucking. Of course, they have varying factors. I'm sure some of the birds were lonely or neglected or not getting enough sleep or sunlight or whatever that probably had to do with the plucking mostly. But I've read enough stories to feel scared. If there is any one factor all of these stories share, it's just the simple observation I've made of all these little fids eating pellets. That really is the only reason I avoid them. And I'm probably being super silly and paranoid.... but if I dont need them on Remy's diet, I probably wont introduce them unless I need to. Those photos all over google images really traumatized me :( :( :(

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Re: Pellets

Post by Skyes_crew » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:57 am

I know...those birds are so sad to look at. But it's just plumage. They still need love too :D unfortunately some birds are also prone to plucking. Take my cockatoo for instance. I don't know how this bird hasn't become a plucker or a biter. I'm his third home. For 5 years he was used as a guinea pig bird in a vet office for vet techs to learn procedures for exotic birds on. Horrible situation in my opinion. He's healthy though. No bad habits. On the flip side though, you get a bird that has always been offered love and affection, a stable home and great diet, and they still become pluckers. Nobody's really sure what triggers it most of the time. We can worry ourselves sick with our birds diet and environment and mental stimulation and still wind up with a plucker. But if you want a calm bird, you have to remain calm yourself. You're a great bird mommy. Remy has a great life. Stop worrying so much lol :D
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Re: Pellets

Post by sanjays mummi » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:38 pm

Just a thought, if corn can give dogs dry itchy skin, maybe its at the root of some self harming. the pics on here are just fabulous!

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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:06 pm

I don't think we can attribute plucking cases to having some pellets in a diet, as melika mentioned her bird plucks less on tops. Here's an interesting article ://www.parrothouse.com/pamelaclark/featherpluck.html

Parakeets are not prone to develop feather plucking habits, from what I have read and seen.

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Re: Pellets

Post by Melika » Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:23 am

Right, we cannot say that pellets cause plucking. Hane's mother never even looked at a pellet in her entire life and still has not. She actually has a seed/fruit/veggie diet. It was once thought that only pet birds pluck, but aviary birds have plucked as well (Hane's mother being one).

Thank you for that link, it happily summarizes everything I ever learned about plucking. A lot of behavioral plucking is supposition. It could even be supposed that pellet only feeders would also spend less time with their birds- if they don't have time to make food for the bird, is it possible they don't have enough time to spend with the bird itself. But how many cases would that actually be true? It's so very hard to pinpoint the real trigger(s).

TOPS removed corn from the pellets formula back in 2009 because of concern expressed about possible allergen from corn. http://www.topschatter.com/category/org ... t-pellets/

Roudybush has a rice pellet diet used to expose possible allergens as well.
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Re: Pellets

Post by Skyes_crew » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:30 pm

A story from my friend, a breeder, and lover of birds for 40+ years;

He told me that back when the bird trade industry consisted of mainly smuggling, these smugglers had no clue how to keep these birds alive. The only food on the market at that time for pet birds was either parakeet seed or cockatiel seed. And these imported birds had no idea how to eat it. They had never seen seed before. These smugglers weren't concerned with giving the birds time to adjust to new diets or even doing research into what their natural diets consisted of. The only thing that mattered to them was making money. They were force feeding the birds soaked seeds through tubes just to keep them alive long enough to be sold. The ones that survived the initial transport were then sold off to pet shops and brokers. These birds were taught to eat seed over time. But their life expectancy was extremely low. Back then the average life of a parakeet even was only 4 years. The birds began to pluck. They were dying of FLD. They wouldn't breed in captivity. Over time people began to question the diet as the culprit and started trying to feed birds a more natural diet. But the exotic birds were from all over and they were picking one species and then feeding all the birds the same diet. The same things were happening to the birds. Fast forward to the 90's when pellets were introduced on to the market. At that time they were being branded the cure all for parrot care. Breeders were cautious, but owners were curious enough to try them. They found that they extended their feathered friends lives and gave them a healthier alternative. Common sicknesses in birds started to drop. But at the same time, veterinary medicine was on the rise. And the DVM's suddenly found themselves supporting the manufacturers claims. Well if the DVM supports it, it must be good. So pellets became the modern day caviar for birds. But there were still some skeptics. AVM was not a common specialty in veterinary medicine, but big schools like Oxford and NYU had enough resources to fund research. More studies were released in the 10 years following the release of pellets on to the market that both supported and debunked these manufacturers claims. Now the bird world was split. And to this day it still is.

In recent years a lot of research has gone into allergies in dogs as Sanjay had mentioned. Corn is a high allergen. At the top of this thread I stated that I never buy my animals anything where corn is listed as the first ingredient. I guess for some birds it can't be anywhere in the ingredients. Birds have allergies too. Years ago I was having an allergic reaction to something I was eating and my doctors couldn't figure out what it was. I was taken off of everything for three days and ate nothing but white rice and lamb. Two foods with no known allergy reactions. Then I was slowly introduced to the big basics one at a time. It turned out to be gluten for me. My one dog is an American bulldog with extremely short hair. She had such itchy skin that she was losing hair in patches everywhere. We found out her allergy is corn. She's on fish and sweet potato now. Maybe some feather plucking is not related to habit at all, but a reaction to an allergy like with dogs. But how do you allergy test a bird???
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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:44 pm

Pamela Clark talked about a plucking bird she was seeing that they did end up doing an exclusion diet with and found some foods that it was sensitive to. Not something you could try at home, for sure.

That's worrying about corn and dogs, but corn is so far away from a natural dog food it's not entirely surprising.

I read an article about soy many years ago, but it was sourced from magazine that is generally a few spaceships short of reality. It was about some bird breeders in nz who changed to a soy based hand rearing formula and subsequently had endless problems with the birds raised on this. Including maturing early. I believe their children were fed soy formula as infants and they found some parallels between the children's problems and the birds.
Now soy infant formula for humans is no longer sold in Australia or nz, but I can't find any information from a credible source referring to problems with soy for birds.
Besides, my political distaste of genetically modified organisms being released into the environment and the way companies like Monsanto behave, I'm still wary of the amount of soy in the pellets I can source. Soy doesn't appear to agree with me in my food, I know I'm not a bird, but still.....

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Re: Pellets

Post by Skyes_crew » Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:51 pm

If you think about it, it makes more sense that an animal wouldn't maul itself out of boredom but more so out of being in pain or uncomfortable or itchy or sick. And how does the majority of the AVM world treat it??? With Haladol. Like the bird is clinically insane. Well if you couldn't talk and tell someone what was bothering you and had to live day after day with a miserable condition wouldn't you go insane!!!!

Soy IMO is a sorry replacement for any diet. Vegetarians have some if the worst health problems related to soy intake. Not saying a vegetarian diet is bad lol. Only that soy is troublesome. Soy is shown to have natural chemicals closely linked to sexual hormones. It's used as filler in processed foods as a cheap alternative. It causes stomach and intestinal upset and a host of other problems. Natural diets are best all around.

Sorry this got so off topic. My basic point was that pellets are not all bad IMO. It's like dog food, some work for your animal and some don't. You have to work out what's best for your feathered friend. :D
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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:59 pm

Just to get even more off topic.... we watched a doco last night called "the town that caught tourettes" it was so disturbing!

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Re: Pellets

Post by Skyes_crew » Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:21 pm

Oh man...what did they attribute that to???
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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:49 pm

Mass hysteria, basically. We couldn't believe it. Apparently it is possible for the body to manifest some hardcore physical symptoms in response to stress.
But on the plucking thing, I have met a few people who cut themselves when they are feeling stressed out or depressed, which isn't that far different from plucking. ... though plucking does seem to become a habit.
Considering lifestyle changes can be very effectively used to change the behaviour it does appear that there can be complex psychological factors involved in some cases.

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Re: Pellets

Post by Skyes_crew » Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:30 pm

Oh I know...I'm not saying they're all due to diet. Sorry...I didn't explain myself too good. I was saying that they use a blanket cure all for plucking cases instead of getting to the root of the problem. Stress can definitely be a factor. But in the same area, couldn't it be considered stressful to be itchy or in pain or uncomfortable all the time? I think it may be a double edged sword. Do you treat the plucking or the cause of the plucking and in what order.

It's amazing how complex the human brain is...and I'm starting to wonder if we've underestimated the complexity of a birds brain. We always knew they were smart. Some more than others. But I wonder if their cortex is a complicated mass of highway connections like the human brain. Can they feel emotions. Do they understand anger, love, happiness, sadness??? Do they understand the concept of time? Do they have the ability to "miss" us? Too bad they can't hook a bird up to one of those neuropathy machines to see what kind of brainwave activity there is under certain situations. Now I'm waaaaaaay off topic lol :D
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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:18 am

I would love an answer to all those questions too!
It's hard enough to even answer ones about the human mind, even though we all have one.

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Re: Pellets

Post by moosepug » Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:12 pm

I have a 5 month old IRN who came to me still partly on formula....I cannot get her for the life of me to eat any pellets...She only eats seed, corn, cooked carrots, peas, greenbeans, she will pick at kale, scrambled eggs, spinach. I am a total new bird owner and would love some advise on getting her to eat better!!

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Re: Pellets

Post by sanjays mummi » Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:36 pm

In The Air, yes, plucking can be self harming, I visited a parrot rescue centre, where the majority of birds were wearing Elizabethan collars, also on anti depressants. neglected or bereaved, Psychologists have tried getting self harming people to work with these birds, when they become worried about the birds, they are told that this is how Their self harming affects people who care about Them, apparently, it is quite successful therapy.

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Re: Pellets

Post by MissK » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:54 pm

Hi moosepug,

The foods you mentioned are all fine foods. I would not want your bird to stop eating them. You could add pellets, though they don't seem to be everything they were supposed to be when they were invented. Do a lot of research on both sides of the opinion fence. Also research seeds and grains.

I just got home (middle of the night) and discovered I left a light on all day and night. So my bird was easily awakened when I opened the door. We just shared the sweetest little midnight snack - we had banana, sweet potato, and Tilapia. I also had red currants, but he wasn't so sure about them. Earlier today he enjoyed kale, a cherry, and watermelon. It was a fruit-heavy day, but that's what's in the house. Tomorrow he will be having Brussels sprouts, red pepper, Napa cabbage, seeds, and frozen mixed berries (thawed) if he will eat them. Rocky's fresh diet is a little haphazard, but the kale and sprouts turn up most of the time, as well as the pepper.

Here's a link for your consideration: http://www.avesint.com/diet.html

-MissK
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Re: Pellets

Post by Skyes_crew » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:45 pm

Sanjay...was that the self image therapy study? I'm happy to here it was successful for the humans. Not so much for those poor birds though :( I know there are certain species that are more prone to plucking, but what if it goes deeper within the species to include genetic coding that makes it hereditary. For example, out of a pair of cockatoos one is a plucker and one isn't. Those two birds have offspring. Out of a clutch of 3, one becomes a plucker and two don't. Out of the two that aren't pluckers, one of them pairs with another non plucker. They have a clutch of 2 and one becomes a plucker and one doesn't. It would be somewhere along the lines of mental illness inheritance. Both dominant and recessive. Just a thought. But to prove it, one would have to trace the family tree over many generations to prove inheritance rate. And I'm done rambling now lol. Sorry, sometimes my brain doesn't shut off :)
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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:38 pm

sanjays mum: wow.

So, Im still reading about diet. I just found this and thought it might interest you guys too:
"In India, Rose-ringed Parakeets primarily consumed Guava Psidium guajava seeds from January to March, Mulberry Morus sp. seeds during April and May, a variety of seeds during June, Guava seeds during July and August, and a variety of cereal seeds (including pearl millet Pennisetum glaucum, sorghum Sorghum bicolour, and maize) from August to December (Saini et al. 1994)." http://www.biology.uco.edu/PersonalPage ... thesis.pdf, page 100, if anyone is interested in some light reading...
it's actually about the population of wild ringnecks in the uk, but they always discuss the subjects diet a little in these kind of things.

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Re: Pellets

Post by Skyes_crew » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:43 pm

Explains why my fids love the guavas right off the tree. Does it give any insight into the adapted diet of the ringnecks in the UK?
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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:51 pm

Very little, but I haven't read much further. There's a wee bit on page 100.

I have to buy some guava trees!

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Re: Pellets

Post by MissK » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:45 am

Am I hearing "these birds mainly live on seeds until the fall when they switch to grains"?

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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:52 pm

MissK wrote:Am I hearing "these birds mainly live on seeds until the fall when they switch to grains"?

-MissK
It sounds like that, but with the word fresh in there too.
I wonder about the flocks that don't live near agricultural areas.

If anyone wants to sponsor me to go spend a year in India observing wild ringnecks eating, I'll make a thorough report on this thread.

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Re: Pellets

Post by MissK » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:48 pm

Nice try, Claire!

:lol:

I think Subodh had some things to say about their wild diet. Will see if I can scrounge it up...... I found two threads but did not reread them.

-MissK

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=16541&p=90641#p90641
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=16450&p=90231#p90231
-MissK

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Re: Pellets

Post by Skyes_crew » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:20 pm

Ill sponsor your year in India if you sponsor my year in Australia :D
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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:56 am

Mel: sweet, so you can stay at my place for a year and look after his birdiness, I can go to India, now all we need is someone who wants to spend a year in Hawaii looking after your birds!

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Re: Pellets

Post by Skyes_crew » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:59 am

The birdy exchange program :lol:
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Re: Pellets

Post by Wakizashi21 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:15 pm

Hi MissK,

Just needed to know in terms of sweet mash potatoes....would the baby food be okay? i know mine does like food when its shredded down or mashed.

Is something like this okay to feed a IRN? http://shelflifetastetest.com/?p=2252 (its just an example)

I want to be able to feed it fresh food often and keep him in good shape. although he doesnt try much of the kettle fish bone and the mineral blocks so i do offer some in his water which he drinks perfectly fine.

Also, i seeen a very cool Video on Youtube thought id share with all. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61ZBiAmMvZA

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Re: Pellets

Post by MissK » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:50 pm

Hi Wakizashi,

Did you get a chance to read over the pellet discussion?

My initial feeling on baby food is "Why bother?", but I realize not everybody can get to the store often for fresh produce....... I guess if there were no, and I mean NO things in it other than the foods (no salt, sugar, colour, etc) then maybe it would be OK, but I think a lot of the nutrition is likely damaged by the canning process. Also, the jar holds more than the bird will eat in a meal or two, and there is the question of spoilage to address. And those little jars ain't cheap. I would not, personally, select baby food for my bird unless there were some outstanding situation I can't really imagine right now.

Most of the fresh foods your bird will be eating don't need to be cooked, anyway. If you need the texture changed to a mush, try a blender or one cup size food processor. I don't want to be the one to suggest you risk shorting out a coffee grinder, but they do a great job on small amounts of coffee beans.... Dry stuff would probably work there. For cooking to mush, the microwave is very convenient. For sweet potato, specifically, I put one through the microwave until it's soft almost every day. I love sweet potato, and with all the birds and dogs in the house, none goes to waste. If you cook it all the way, no need to mash, or if you want, it's so easy, just smoosh it. Now, strictly speaking, wild Ringnecks would have little access to sweet potatoes. But, on account of their nutrients and popularity, I serve them anyway.

Thanks for the video link. Maybe the flock will enjoy it tomorrow.

-MIssK
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Re: Pellets

Post by Skyes_crew » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:59 pm

If you're just looking to make a sweet potato mash treat, try the mash ball recipe. Boil sweet potatoes carrots and zucchini and mash all together. Mix in 1/4 cup of millet. Roll into balls and roll balls in whole oats. Refrigerate to firm up. That will feed one or two a day for a week. :)
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Re: Pellets

Post by Wakizashi21 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:03 am

Ahhhh niceeee!!! thanks for the advice guys. yeah did manage to read all the information in this post and even though im trying to get my IRN used the taste of fresh food (by giving it everyday fresh - it adores apple) i feed only little bit of pellets. However, as missK said, im sure the main benefits arise from giving them fresh food just the way us humans would prefer ours.

I love that ball recipe. Ill be shopping for it today! lol! i think its just easier to give them the proper food so he eats with the whole family.

Even though my IRN makes soo much noise when im downstairs, (hes upstairs right next to my work desk), it be amazing to see him eat with the family and open up to everyone around him. patience is key right now :)

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Re: Pellets

Post by MissK » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:39 pm

Bring him into the area where people are eating now. Just in the same room, where he can watch people eating is good enough. It will help him feel part of the group and also may prompt him to eat things he otherwise would not try.

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Re: Pellets

Post by Donovan » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:13 am

Dandelions.

I keep hearing how good they are for birds..

are these the same dandelions growing in my backyard... the ones that make the fuzzballs that little kids like to blow into the air?

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Re: Pellets

Post by Melika » Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:47 pm

Donovan wrote:Dandelions.

I keep hearing how good they are for birds..

are these the same dandelions growing in my backyard... the ones that make the fuzzballs that little kids like to blow into the air?
How did this question end up in this topic? Anyway- yes. Dandelion greens are very edible by both you and your bird, but you don't want anything that grew beside a road or is in an area that was treated with pesticides because of pollution/toxicity.
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Re: Pellets

Post by Donovan » Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:59 pm

It came up because i did a search on dandelions and they were mentioned in this thread and I was trying to keep from creating a new thread where possible ... i should have used a quote

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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:49 am

I've seen wild galahs eating them on our front lawn. Our bird doesn't like them though
Donovan wrote:Dandelions.

I keep hearing how good they are for birds..

are these the same dandelions growing in my backyard... the ones that make the fuzzballs that little kids like to blow into the air?

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Re: Pellets

Post by InTheAir » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:59 am

We have had an interesting development on the pellets front. Since Nila hasn't really touched roudybush for a few months I decided to buy vetafarm maintenance when the pellets were getting low. I mixed both brands together in the dish, for about a week and he pigged out on the vetafarm. They have become the pellets on offer now. After a few days ago I mixed some of the last roudybush in there and guess what Nilas favourite food is now? Yep, it's roudybush! The same roudybush he used to turn his nose up at, for a while I thought I was only paying for pellets to inspire him to eat the vegetables he dislikes! Give him a leaf of kale and he'd look at you distainfully, give him kale and a top up of roudybush at the same time and the kale would be devoured. ... Little monster!

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Re: Pellets

Post by Wakizashi21 » Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:42 am

Haha to be honest some of the answers are overwhelming. But even though i do try and feed my Cheeko some veggies and fruit, it is still difficult to make him eat it. Hes a big fan of Apples and Bananas (i know too much fruit isnt too too good) but its still better then just giving seeds i suppose. i do try different things....and hes reluctant sometimes to try them....but i do try....does get alittle frustrating....but he loves his monkey nuts lol

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Re: Pellets

Post by MissK » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:13 am

I don't know what a monkey nut is. Would somebody please post me a link to it so I can see?

Wakizashi, if you can get your bird interested in at least one of the dark green leaf vegetables, it would be good. Spinach is not the one to choose, since it contains a compound you don't want to overdo. My birds all like kale, for some reason. Dandelion leaves are an old, old standby, from the generation before mine, or maybe even older. Kale is a stiff leaf, and Dandelion is kind of softer. For what it's worth, my birds like the stiffer leaves, and don't even want kale if it has gone wilted in the fridge.

Another thing you'll want to encourage with your bird is fruits and vegetables that are orange in colour. I find my birds all like Bell Peppers, though they don't want the skin. Recently I gave my IRN persimmon and he thought it was the best right away.

Good Luck!
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Re: Pellets

Post by Wakizashi21 » Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:17 am

Ah monkey nuts, http://www.valupets.com/pets/assorted-s ... 22031.html

THESE are mega expensive. But in the UK they are much better quality and cheaper too. Yeah i do try and feed him as much as i can. I will try Kale, I think my IRN would prefer something to chew on as food. I sometimes do give him some baby food. Like carrot and mash patato....is that okayish? its probably twice a month or so.

Im going to give Cheeko some oranges later on tomorrow. I hope he likes them. Gave him a shower after a while, so hes comfortably resting in his cage right now.

I do try my best to get him used to greens. its just mega hard sometimes. iv had him for nearly 9 months now, and i still feel hes alittle scared even now, but hes adjusting in slowly.

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Re: Pellets

Post by MissK » Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:25 am

When I have trouble being patient, I just try to remind myself that the bird is, though born in captivity, a wild animal. And he's just a little birdie, at that. So, have patience. It's the only way to go.

Thanks for the link. (That's so funny - peanuts have nothing to do with monkeys OR nuts...) I expect an orange will be a big win. Personally, I would rather put regular food through a grinder than buy baby food for my bird. Try hanging the food or lashing it to the cage bars, for a more interesting approach.

Best wishes!
-MissK

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Re: Pellets

Post by Little Buttercup » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:01 pm

MissK wrote:I don't know what a monkey nut is. Would somebody please post me a link to it so I can see?

Wakizashi, if you can get your bird interested in at least one of the dark green leaf vegetables, it would be good. Spinach is not the one to choose, since it contains a compound you don't want to overdo. My birds all like kale, for some reason. Dandelion leaves are an old, old standby, from the generation before mine, or maybe even older. Kale is a stiff leaf, and Dandelion is kind of softer. For what it's worth, my birds like the stiffer leaves, and don't even want kale if it has gone wilted in the fridge.

Another thing you'll want to encourage with your bird is fruits and vegetables that are orange in colour. I find my birds all like Bell Peppers, though they don't want the skin. Recently I gave my IRN persimmon and he thought it was the best right away.

Good Luck!
Missk, :lol: :lol: I thought every person in the world knows that monkey nuts are peanuts! I think its called monkey nuts because monkeys love it.

Wakizashi, How about trying grass, just plain old normal grass. My birds love it and go crazy when I peg a bunch of long grass onto the the cage bars. Yesterday I left a bunch ontop of the cage while they were inside and they acted as if I gave them something new to chew and play with, pulling the strands through the bars. Just make sure your grass is pesticide free. I stuff grass in vine balls and hide treats inside then they spend plenty time pulling it out and looking for the treats. Here is a link for ideas:

http://www.birdtricks.com/blog/an-easy- ... pet-birds/

Ash

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Re: Pellets

Post by MissK » Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:35 pm

I gave Rocky grass one time. I made a grass curtain I thought he would love and feel all jungly, maybe like to hide in it. Total Dud. But that was a long time ago, when he was still new here and not sure how to be a bird. Maybe I should try again.
-MissK

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Re: Pellets

Post by Little Buttercup » Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:43 pm

Yes, try again. When I put a bunch of grass on the top of the cage, Kiwi will be very busy until each and every strand has been pulled down, chewed and then dropped to the cage floor. Coco likes his bunch pegged on to the side of the cage next to a perch.

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Re: Pellets

Post by AJPeter » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:13 pm

It is a bit late in the day to renew this thread but l thought l would add that when l told the vet that l bought a bag of Harrion's pellets and Billie would not touch them for the 6 weeks l tried. The Vet said that it could take 9 months to get them onto pellets, it reminded me of the time l worked in a pet shop and we sold dog biscuit called Binzo once a dog was on it they would eat nothing else! So l was wondering whether vets get paid for recomending pellets. There was a dog food called Pedigree Chums and they gave free cans to every dog breeder in order to say if a dog won a competition that Chums had the winning formula!
I found the whole thread to be very interesting.

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Re: Pellets

Post by AJPeter » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:19 pm

Missk, :lol: :lol: I thought every person in the world knows that monkey nuts are peanuts! I think its called monkey nuts because monkeys love it.

What about Tiger nuts?

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