Parrot Food: Pellet Food

Ruisenor, my cockatiel, eating Harrison's.
Ruisenor, my cockatiel, eating Harrison's. | Source

There are quite a few bird food companies that create pellet food for birds. Pelleted food is often better than a simple seed diet because the food is comprised of more than just seeds, and nutrient balanced for your bird. However, just as a bird should not be given only seeds in their diet, they also should not be given only pellets. The best diet for a bird consists of a variety they can pick through. The being said, while pelleted food can be great for you bird, they are not all created equal.

Colored Pellet Food

We've all seen the colored pellet food in pet stores. They are yellow and blue and red, and sometimes in the shapes of fruits and vegetables. What fun! Except that often the nutrient value of this food is drowned out in food dye and chemical preservatives. Not to mention eating too much of red dye 40 can make your bird's droppings appear discolored and bloody. As bird droppings are good indicators of how healthy they are, it's better not to muddy everything in food dye that your bird can't process anyways. Avoid colored pellet food if you can.

Non-colored Pellet Food

While this is better than the pelleted version, its still a problem for a birds sensitive system. Commercial pelleted foods are processed, laced with preservatives and pesticides. Pesticides have a dangerous impact on wild birds in the field who eat the insects the pesticides are intended for. Most insecticides are a nerve toxin that effects an insects nervous system, thus scrambling their little insect computer brains and resulting in their untimely death. When birds ingest these insects, they also ingest these nerve toxins. What's more, the insects that survive have a genetic immunity to the toxins used against them thus making them stronger against the poisons used against them. Which means birds, which reproduce slower and have sensitive systems, are getting higher and higher doses of chemicals with each spraying. Some chemical sprays have been known to leave trails of dead birds in their wake. Imagine that in your pet birds food.

Processed bird food is comparable to eating tuna as a human. You're ingesting the trace amounts of mercury, despite having the health benefits of tuna. It accumulates in the body over time. Chemicals used in the growing and processing of your birds food is still in their food overtime.

That being said, it's probably still a better choice if supplemented with fruits, veggies, and grains than not having pellets or just using commercial seed diet. Zupreem is not a bad choice if you have to get a store brand.

Natural or Organic Pellet food

There are two pretty well known brands in the care of pet birds that are known to be good foods: Harrisons and Roudybush. I personally use Harrisons parrot food, but Roudybush is also among the best parrot food, and probably easier to come by when it comes to bird food. You can order pet food online, or you can check with your local bird veterinarian about what food is best to give your bird. I like Harrison's and have easy access to it via my veterinarian. It's organic and uses natural preservatives. Roudybush is used at the shelter I work at. While it's not organic, it's natural parrot food, which is a step up from most of the store brands.

Always remember that if you're switching your bird to a pellet diet from an all seed diet, to slowly convert the food over to the new food. And remember, you can't just switch seeds with pellets as your birds only food source. Fruits, grains, and vegetables should be added as well.

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