What to Feed a Budgie?
Feeding Your Pet Budgie
When you become a happy owner of a budgie - this little charming feathery miracle - , one of the first questions that comes to your mind is what to feed this little "bundle of happiness". Proper feeding of budgies plays an important role, and even some minor, at first glance, omissions in the diet may lead to unfavorable outcome.
Feeding a budgie is simple and hard at the same time. They can survive a long time eating nothing but millet. But the food should vary to provide your pet with good health and long life. Besides, different budgies have different tastes, and you can't argue about this with your beloved pet. So let's see what can be included into your bird's diet.
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Your Budgie's Diet - What Should It Include?
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In their homeland, in Australia, budgies eat the seeds of herbs and cereals, young twigs and buds of trees and are not squeamish about catching careless insects. They raid orchards and fields of wheat and other cultivated cereals, eat fruit and berries. But their main diet consists mainly of seeds of different maturity. But living in a cell they are easy to get used to other kinds of food. But none of the foods, taken separately, has the whole set of the nutrients needed for normal growth and development of your budgie. So your feathery friend's diet should consist of various components. Let's see what they are:
A mixture of various kinds of grain is staple food for budgies. The basis of this food is different kinds of millet, oats and canary seeds. Also grain mixture can include flax seeds, seeds of nougat Abyssinian, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, the seeds of prairie grasses, sunflower seeds, etc.
The normal amount of grain food for a budgie is about two teaspoons a day. If you give more, your budgie can begin to choose some components of the grain mixture (usually smaller seeds) and leave the big ones that require effort to be shelled and eaten. My mistake was to give my boy (a beautiful white budgie) too much mixture at a time and he quickly figured out that he can choose what he likes best and put bigger seeds aside. So now I buy mixtures of 5 kinds of millet. There is a great variety of different grain foods for budgies in pet stores and Internet shops and you can try different ones to see which one your friend prefers more.
- in NO case you can use roasted sunflower seeds - they can be deadly for your budgie;
- you must strictly monitor the quality of grain food - if you opened the packet and saw the mold, dirt or felt unpleasant smell - the only place for such a food is a trash bin;
- do not overuse the various extra mixtures and treats - remember that millet, as the main nutrient, should make at least half of your budgie's diet.
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You know that vegetables contain many nutrients and vitamins. But make sure that all vegetables, that you give to your budgie, are fresh, carefully washed and don't contain any chemicals that are used for their cultivation. I use vegetables and fruit from my own garden.
All vegetables should be either cut into slices or grated.
You can give:
- Carrots - a very useful product, containing a lot of carotene and other nutrients. Use only raw and mix with other components (boiled egg, bread crumbs).
- Pumpkin and melon (raw) - a storehouse of vitamins, minerals and sugars. Pumpkin seeds contain vitamins A, D, E, K, and many trace elements, crush them before giving to your budgie.
- Zucchini and scallop squash - are useful as a source of dietary fiber and sugars.
- Cucumber - contains vitamin E and minerals, improves metabolism.
- Tomato - a good product for budgies, that contains carotene, vitamin C, B vitamins and organic acids. Tomato seeds are rich in vegetable oil - up to 25%. Choose only fresh ripe tomatoes, as green ones contain poisonous alkaloid solanine. Budgies eat both tomato pulp and seeds.
- Beets - contain a lot of sugar, fiber, vitamins and trace elements.
- Corn - it is superior to some other grain foods for protein content, it also contains a lot of starch and vitamin B. Use when seeds are still soft and sweet.
- Peas, beans contain many sugars and vitamins. Use before hardening in small amounts.
- Cabbage - very good food, rich in nutrients and vitamins. Give small pieces of leaves to your budgie.
- Spinach and salad - very useful for budgies, contain a lot of trace elements. Use in small amounts, since overfeeding can cause slight indigestion, especially if you give spinach and lettuce after a long break.
- Sweet bell pepper - very rich in nutrients, including vitamins A, E, C, B vitamins, P vitamins, a lot of minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, sodium, manganese, iodine, copper, fluoride, zinc, silicon), carbohydrates and acids. Can be given with the seeds.
- Turnips - only blanched.
- Celery - contains calcium. Give only green parts.
You can not give:
- Onions and garlic - have a spicy taste and contain essential oils.
- Eggplant - contains dangerous solanine.
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Juicy and Delicious!
Fruits, like vegetables, should be given fresh and well washed. Some fruits should be peeled: citrus fruits, bananas, kiwi, etc., as they may contain toxic chemicals that are used when processing from pests.
You can give:
Apples - a source of iron, vitamins and minerals. Your budgie's diet should include apples all year round.
Pears - contain a lot of fiber and almost no fat. The content of vitamins and minerals is almost the same as in apples. Use in small amounts.
Citrus fruits - contain vitamin C, tangerines are particularly useful.
Plum - an indispensable source of potassium and phosphorus.
Grapes - a powerful antioxidant, removes toxins from the body, contains a lot of vitamins and minerals.
Banana - a source of sugars and starches, give in small pieces.
Peaches and apricots - contain many trace elements and vitamins.
Cherries - contain vitamins and fructose.
Berries - raspberries, currants of all kinds, sea-buckthorn, ashberry, chokeberry, rosehips, strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, cranberries, honeysuckle - contain many nutrients, can be dried to be used in winter.
Kiwi - skinless.
Pineapple - in small quantities (only fresh and ripe).
Pomegranate - very useful, contains vitamins, sugars and minerals.
You can not give:
Mango, avocado, papaya, persimmons - all contain certain substances, harmful to budgies, and can cause poisoning and intoxication of your bird.
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So Good and Fresh!
Give greens to your budgie as often as possible. It should be a part of a daily diet of your bird. The herbs should be well washed and fresh. Watch out for poisonous plants! Do not use the grass and leaves of the trees growing in the city, as they accumulate a lot of harmful substances emitted by motor transport and industrial buildings.
You can give:
Woodlice, clover, burdock, knot-grass, vines, prairie grass, lettuce, scalded nettle leaves, carrot and beet tops, orach and spinach (small amounts), plantain leaves, oats, wheat and other cereals' leaves. You can also give the leaves of willow in spring and summer (do not forget that by the fall leaves accumulate a lot of harmful toxic substances).
You can not give:
Spicy and fragrant herbs - parsley, dill, hyssop, cilantro, sorrel and other spices.
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Branches of Trees and Shrubs
Let Them Nibble!
All parrots love to nibble something: wallpaper, plaster, ceiling tiles, moldings and other inedible but, as it seems, very "tasty" things are very popular among budgies. To draw the little bird's attention away from the forbidden objects, put fresh branches of trees in the cage.
Of course, you can't take the branches of the trees that grow near the hazardous industries, garbage dumps and roads. Choose ones away from the road or on the outskirts of the city. After you bring the brunches home, do not just stick them in the cage. First, you should keep them in cold water for 5-6 hours, wash thoroughly with hot water, then scald them with boiling water to get rid of the parasites, such as mites (do not forget that wild birds could sit on these branches). Also, do not use surface-active substances such as household cleaning and dishwashing means or soap. Surfactants can easily penetrate into the bark of the branches and cause the bird's poisoning.
You can give:
Branches of birch, aspen, linden, maple, willow, chestnut tree, alder, mountain ash, plum tree, cherry tree(make sure there is no pitch), apple tree, pear tree, citrus trees, currantof different kinds, ash, beech, hornbeam, hawthorn, viburnum, chokeberry, raspberry, hazel.
You can not give:
Branches of conifers (because of the pitch content); bird cherry and oak (they contain large quantities of tannins); lilac (buds and bark contain a bitter-tasting glycoside siringin); elder; poplar (absorbs toxic substances from the atmosphere); acacia (most species are poisonous).
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Mineral and Vitamin Supplements
For normal living you budgie always needs the presence of mineral components in the cage. Food can not fully meet the needs of the bird's organism for some macro-and micronutrients. For example, the need for mineral salts during molting and breeding grows by 2-3 times. That's why you should artificially add mineral supplements to your pet budgie's diet.
- Sand - The parrots' digestive system has one peculiarity: the digestive tract itself can not digest food and a parrot needs sand and small stones for its normal functioning. If there is no sand in the cell, very soon you will see undigested grains of millet and other components of the grain mixture in the bird's droppings. It is recommended to buy sand for the birds in a sealed plastic package in pet stores, because ordinary river or see sand can be a source of diseases and parasites.
- Chalk - contains about 37% of calcium, which is good for strengthening the bones, and the formation of eggs during the breeding season. Use only special chalk for birds, but never chalk for rodents and construction chalk - the latter may have contaminants, and chalk for rodents contains salt, which is a poison for a budgie.
- Sepia - clamshell. It contains about 37% calcium. Sepia is well digested by birds and is a first-class source of calcium.
- Eggshell - a very good source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and sulfur. Egg shells should be boiled, dried and powdered. You can add it to the sand or put in a separate feeder.
- Bone meal - a source of calcium and phosphorus. Bone meal can be added to different wet food mixtures or in the sand. It can be also bought in a usual pet store.
- Calcium gluconate and calcium glycerophosphate - are available in the form of pills, which should be powdered and given to the budgie every other day, mixed with food or the sand.
- Charcoal - contains phosphorus, calcium, potassium, iron, sulfur, boron and other trace elements. Charcoal has the ability to absorb and excrete harmful gases, toxins and heavy metals. It should be pulverized and given to the bird together with sand and egg shells.
Budgies need vitamin supplements just as much as mineral ones. Especially the need for vitamins increases during the fall-winter period, when there's not enough greens and fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, vitamins are needed during illness or moulting of birds. Currently pet stores have a wide choice of vitamins, so to speak, for all occasions.
The following products can be also used as Vitamin Supplements:
- Lemon juice - has a rich mineral composition, which strengthens the smallest blood vessels, and is actively involved in redox processes in the body. Add 2-3 drops in a water bottle.
- Apple cider vinegar - is used as a source of vitamins. Add to a water bottle once a week (1 ml of apple cider vinegar (5%) per 100 ml of water).
- Honey - is a good source of vitamins and helps with bowel obstruction, acting as a laxative. Add 3-5 drops per 100 ml of water.
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Another good and nutritious kind of food are germinated seeds of cereal crops. Germinated seeds have a lot of vitamins and has a good effect on the budgie's organism as a whole: this is a product of high biological value. Germinated foods improve the immune system, regulate and restore the vital processes in the body and provide a normal metabolism.
Before you begin germination, you must first choose the grain. To test the suitability of the grain, put it in a bowl and add some cold water - "dead seeds" will float to the surface, where they should be immediately removed.
What crops can be germinated?:
- Barley, etc.
Remember, that the germinated seeds can be stored no longer than 48 hours in a refrigerator.
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Another very important type of food for budgies is the food of animal origin. But keep in mind that it is used only as an addition to the main foods and should be given only 2-3 times a month (except the period of molting and preparing for nesting and fledging, when protein food should be given daily).
You can give:
- Hen's egg - a very good nutritious food for budgies. It contains vitamins and important micro and macro elements. The egg should be hard-boiled and grated on a fine grater. You can mix it with grated carrot or beetroot and white breadcrumbs or semolina.
- Cod-liver oil - contains high amounts of vitamins A and D, iodine and phosphorus. It should be kept in a refrigerator for just a few days.
- Cottage cheese - is an excellent source of protein and contains vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and iron, as well as lactic acid. Cottage cheese should be skimmed, fresh and crumbly (if it sticks together, add semolina).
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It's Easy to Make
Cooked cereal is a good additional food for your budgie. When cooking cereals for your bird, you can not add milk, salt, sugar, butter or seasoning. It is best to cook several types of cereals separately and then mix them, so that the bird has a varied diet. If you undercook your cereals a little bit, the grains will not stick together and will be easily eaten by your budgie without sticking to the beak. You can mix the cooked cereals with chopped vegetables or fruit, dried nettle leaves or other greens, etc.
You can use the following crops: peas, soybeans, beans, lentils, buckwheat, rice, corn grits, pearl barley, barley groats, wheat, oat groats, etc.
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And one more thing: do not give your pet the food from your own table - it is the key to your budgie's wellness and health for many years.