What Can My Pet Bird Eat? A Diet and Nutrition Guide

What Can My Pet Bird Eat? A Diet and Nutrition Guide

Choosing the right diet for your pet bird is important due to the many medical problems they can encounter. Each species of bird will have its own nutritional requirements to ensure it can live a happy and healthy life. It is up to the bird owner to guarantee these dietary needs are satisfied.

In this blog post, I will discuss the best foods to feed your pet birds, how each food should make up their diet, and what foods to avoid.

Dr Bobby Ortiz, small and exotic pet vet, posing with a bunny patient

Dr. Bobby Ortiz, M.V.B.

Dr Bobby Ortiz, aka 'Dogtor Bob', is a small animal and exotic veterinarian based in Dublin. He has a strong interest in Small Mammal (rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets) and Reptile medicine and surgery.

He grew up in a family of avid animal lovers, which led him to work as an Aquarist at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific in California. It was there he decided he wanted to become a vet, and specialise in exotic animals, that needed the same care and medical attention that dogs and cats are given.

He lives with his wife and Brittany Spaniel Bodhi, and has dreams to build a new tropical marine fish tank in the near future!

What Should My Pet Bird Eat?

When feeding our pet birds, it is important to understand that each type of bird will have different dietary needs. All are herbivores, with most granivores or florivores.

If your bird is a florivore, this means that the majority of his diet is plant based; many psittacines (members of the parrot family) follow this diet. Apart of the florivores are nectarivores, who eat mostly nectar.

Birds that feed on grain and /or seeds are known as granivores (this also includes nuts). Frugivores are birds with diets consisting of fruits.

In general, most pet birds will eat fruit, seeds, nuts, flowers, berries, and nectar.

Feeding Your Pet Bird

Seed based mixes should consist of less than 10% of your pet birds’ diet. Formulated mixes should consist of more than 50% of their diet; be sure to source high quality feeds with accurate nutritional content. A member of the Petmania team in-store will be able to assist you in sourcing the best type of feeds for your avian friend.

Around 40% of their diet can be supplemented with fruit and vegetables. Suitable vegetables include carrot, sweet corn, red peppers and courgettes. Suitable fruits include banana, apple, grape, orange, pear, tomatoes, mango, and kiwi.

Dark-pigmented vegetables are nutritionally superior to fruits.

It is important to note that when choosing a food, it is important to follow the recommended feeding guidelines as some seed blends do not offer a complete diet and will need to be supplemented with additional fruit and vegetables. If your bird only eats seeds, they can develop serious liver and metabolic issues later in life.

Each type of bird will require a slightly varying diet; for more, check out our Bird Care Advice Centre to understand the dietary and nutritional needs of your pet bird.

Blue and yellow Macaw eating banana

Foods to Avoid Feeding Pet Birds

  1. Avocado

The leaves of an avocado can cause heart damage, respiratory difficulty, weakness, and even sudden death due to the presence of the substance persin. Avoid foods containing avocado like guacamole, too.

  1. Chocolate

Just like most pets, chocolate should not be consumed by your pet bird. Chocolate contains both theobromine which can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea, increased heart rate, hyperactivity, seizures or tremors, and could potentially be fatal.

  1. Onions and Garlic

Most pets can’t consume onions and garlic and your pet bird is no exception. They can be very toxic for birds and can cause ulcers in their mouths, which can induce rupture of red blood cells resulting in anaemia.

  1. Fruit Pits and Apple Seeds

While most fruit is safe and quite healthy for birds to enjoy in limited amounts, certain fruits containing seeds like apples and pears should not be offered to your pet bird without removing the seeds first. Likewise for fruits with puts such as cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums, which should all be removed before your pet bird goes near them.

  1. Salt

Even just a small bit of salt can cause excessive thirst, dehydration, kidney failure, and death in your bird.

Any More Questions?

If you have any concerns regarding your pet birds’ health, I recommend you consult with your local veterinarian. For more on feeding and caring for your pet bird, speak to a member of the Petmania team in store today.

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