Bulletin Board

We will be closed on Christmas!

Converting Birds To Pelleted Diet

<p><strong>Converting your birds diet to pellets</strong></p> <p>Most birds are creatures of habit and will choose foods that look familiar to them.  Converting your bird to pellets is mainly a matter of convincing your bird that it is food. There are several methods that can be used; choose the one that is most appropriate for your bird.  The most important factor in switching our bird to pellets is your determination that it will eat a nutritious, balanced diet.  Your bird may initially act as if it does not like pellets, but imagine a child that you are trying to convert from a diet of snack foods, candy, and ice cream to a lower, fat healthy diet; it is a similar situation.  Once your bird makes the transition you will find that it enthusiastically eats pellets.</p> <p><strong>1.Instinctual</strong> :The instinctual method can be used with a healthy bird that you can only monitor irregularly.  It takes advantage of your parrot’s instinct to eat at the highest location possible.  It allows your bird access to its normal food while providing you the opportunity to know exactly what food it is eating.  Place the bird’s familiar dish in a low part of its cage.  Put your bird’s old food in this dish.  Fill a similar dish with pellets, place it in a higher part of the cage, and be sure to place all water sources near this dish.  Since the bird prefers eating from the higher dish, it will try the new food and start eating it.  Eventually, pellets will be the main food eaten by your bird.  When the amount of food disappearing from the bottom dish is reduced to less than 10% of the food disappearing from the higher dish, try removing the lower dish from the cage.  After removal of the lower dish, monitor your bird to be sure it is eating in number 2.</p> <p><strong>2. Controlled; </strong>     This method should be used with a very finicky difficult to switch bird that is starting out at a good weight.  It is generally the quickest and easiest method for switching most birds.  Do not use this method on a thin bird, sick bird, or a bird you cannot monitor.  Remove the old food and replace it with pellets.  Clean the cage at the time of the switch and line it with paper.  Do not use corncob or other litter because you won’t be able to monitor the droppings well.  Watch your bird’s droppings or weigh your bird daily.  When a bird is not eating, the droppings will be very small and the green part will be very dark green, almost black.  Or you may see a lot of urine (liquid) but almost no green part, which means your bird is filling up with water and not eating much. </p> <p>Give nothing but pellets and water for two full days for small species or three days for larger species. If at the end of this period your bird’s droppings indicate it isn’t eating put your bird back on its old diet for 7 days, and then repeat the switching process.  Most birds will convert the first time, and those that won’t switch the first time usually switch the second time.  If you can weigh your bird, keep your bird on pellets unless it loses more than 3% of its starting body weight.  At that point, put your bird back on the old diet for one week then repeat the switch process, weighing your bird at the start of the switch.  Disappearance of food from the  food dish is not a reliable way of determining if your bird is eating. Most birds will spill the new food out of the dish, looking for familiar foods.</p> <p><strong>3. Gradual Introduction</strong> :    This method is best for a bird that is likely to try new foods or a bird that cannot be monitored carefully.  Mix the pellets into your bird’s normal diet, ¼ pellets mixed with ¾ old diet.  Gradually increase the proportion of pellets over a 3-4 week period.  When you have reached the point where more than ¾ of the diet is pellets, clean your bird’s cage and line it with paper.  Watch the droppings to make sure your bird is eating.  Small, very dark droppings indicate that your bird is not eating.  If that is the case, add back more of your bird’s old diet until the droppings return to normal.  Continue increasing the proportion of pellets more slowly, watching the droppings.</p> <p><strong>4. Handfeed as a treat.</strong>   Some birds will eat almost anything they think you are eating.  Act as if you are eating the pellets then offer some to your bird.  This can be sufficient to teach your bird that pellets are food.  The old food can be replaced with pellets.  Again, watch the droppings when you make the complete switch.</p> <p><strong>5. Soak the pellets in juice.</strong>    Some birds like moist foods and like certain fruits or fruit juices.  Putting a bowl of pellets soaked in orange juice, apple juice, or fruit nectars may entice such a bird to eat the pellets.  If this method is used, make sure you only leave the soaked pellets in the cage for an hour or so to prevent spoilage.  Once the bird is eating the soaked pellets, gradually decrease the amount of juice. </p> <p> <div></div> </p>