Converting to Pellets

Pellets are so much better for your birds

Here are 10 tips for help to switch your bird to pellets, since you know they are so much better for your birds, and will live healthier and longer:

1    Give the bird the usual ration of seeds and soft foods in the morning; remove the soft foods and seeds in the early afternoon. The primary pellet and very small quantities of several of the samples mixed together should be available in the cage at all times. If the bird hasn't eaten any of the pellets by evening, give him another bowl of soft foods.

2    If the bird isn't eating soft foods, two portions of seeds will have to be offered daily until he is eating the pellets and/or the soft foods. Some birds will starve themselves rather than eat pellets or soft foods instead of seeds. If he is eating soft foods, the transition will be much easier because he can be offered soft foods twice daily and you can be assured he is getting sufficient healthy nourishment.

3    Healthy soft foods such as a birdie bread, a beans/grains mix, sprouts, cooked sweet potatoes, cooked winter squash, fresh fruits and veggies high in Vitamin A should be offered during this transition - and as a permanent part of the diet. Variety in a diet is the best so actually a 100% pellet diet isn't always the best method. Germinated seeds or sprouts are a good transition food as they resemble the dry seeds enough that the bird will usually eat them readily.  The bird may prefer one pellet over another. Even if he chooses only one, continue to add a very small amount of the other samples. It is important for the bird to see a variety of shapes, colors and sizes in his bowl.

4    We have found that Goldenfeast is a really good choice for adding to your birds diet, especially if you don't make up fresh veggies and fruit each day.  And is doesn't go bad with whatever is left in the bowl (unless it has gotten wet).

5    It can sometimes take many months to make the switch. Be patient and continue to offer the pellets. Eventually the bird will nibble on them - from curiosity or hunger while waiting for his next portion of seeds or soft foods.  In the wild, seasons will change a birds diet, so be patient and your bird might find a seasonal change for his diet and accept it easier.

6    A cold turkey switch is not recommended. This is much too stressful and can cause behavior problems in companion birds brought on by hunger, anxiety, frustration and deprivation.

7    The brand of pellet the bird chooses at this point isn't especially important. There are some questions in the minds of some bird keepers whether artificial preservatives and dyes are healthy for birds. Although tests have shown that they are save and use very little food save dyes in order to make this color. Seeds are such a nutritionally deficient diet that almost any pellet is better. With patience and persistence, the bird can be gradually switched over to a "healthier" pellet -one containing no preservative or dyes. While most preservatives and dyes in most pellets are human quality, even some humans are sensitive to them. One supposes, this may be true for birds too.

8    Weigh your companion bird daily during the switch from seeds to pellets if possible. Watch the feces carefully. It should not be scanty or black. Check the waste tray to see if there are pellet crumbs or the eaten remains of any of the soft foods. Check the water bowl to see if there are pellet crumbs. You can also feel your birds breast bone and this will help you see any changes in weight if you are unable to weigh your bird.

9    Although the food coloring in the pellets is minimal, 1% per ton, some prefer to choose a base pellet for the initial conversion which doesn't contain chemical preservatives or artificial coloring such as Roudybush, Zupreem Natural, Scenic (and others) . Very small quantities of a variety of pellets is also a good idea.  Try calling the pellet manufacturers and ask for samples or purchase a small amount of a variety of pellets. Personally I have found that small samples that a manufacture might provide, are not enough to convert a bird, so purchasing a small package of several types is a much better idea.

10    Put pellets in a toy that holds food.  Your bird will have fun removing the pieces from the toy and might decide to chew them up with the toy. 

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