Seeing is Believing
Converting to Pellets
Feeding Your Birds
Quaker Parakeets

A Common Sense Approach to Feeding Your Bird Pellets

Much has been written on the benefits of feeding your birds a pelleted or extruded diet. By feeding the pellets you are giving your pet a balanced diet which supplies everything needed to stay healthy. It is also recommended that with the pellets you should also feed 20% of their diet with fresh food. There are many that would never feed their bird a diet of just pellets. This is about how to convert your bird from a seed only diet to one that is primarily pellets. Sometimes someone reads, 'Your Bird Must Eat Pellets or it is not healthy'. They run out and buy a bag of pellets, empty out the seed dish and fill it with pellets. This is less healthy than eating seed. Ask yourself, if someone took your favorite food away and said 'Here eat these brown nuggets and nothing else', what would you do.

A couple warnings before you start. If you think your bird has any problems don't switch until those are solved. Changing their food could make it worse. Also be aware of your birds weight. If you feel it seems lighter or you notice a change in droppings, stop. The goal is to feed your pet a well balanced diet and teach it to like the diet, not to make it sick by starving itself. If you’re unsure you can always ask your vet. Most vets will recommend a phased approach. They may say all pellets should be the end result but, you have to decide what you are comfortable with when feeding your pet.

Before you start you need pellets. There are a lot of good products on the market. The main difference is colored or not. If you choose colored pellets be sure it is natural coloring and not food coloring. Start by buying a pound or two until you know that your bird likes them. You may find that no matter how hard you try they don’t eat the pellets. Don’t give up. Try another brand or type until you find one that works. You should give it at least a month before switching.

Here we go. First obtain equal amounts of your current seed mix and the pellets you plan to use. Get a covered container that holds at least 2 cups and measuring cups. The final diet mix will be 80% pellets and 20% seed. The transition will take a month or two so don’t rush it. This is going to be a 3-step process. Use the following measurements for each step. If your bird is bigger than double up on the amounts. You want to create a container that has about a 1-2 weeks of food.





1 Cup







1 Cup

Mix your first batch of seeds and pellets in your container. You will use this until it is done. Now it is time to start. Give your bird half a seed dish of the mix. You want to give your bird enough food for one day and no more. The most important step is to NOT change their food until they have eaten everything in the dish. By overfilling the dish that will never happen. There are articles that say feed a fixed amount twice a day. For most people that isn’t going to happen, but everyone should be feeding once per day with a water change. You will find that the seed gets eaten first and you see pellets in the dish. The first impulse is to empty the dish and give them more, Don’t. Go another half a day and see if they eat the pellets. Granted they may empty them out of the dish and end up at the bottom of the cage, but that’s ok at the start. They’re handling them and getting used to this new food. From here it’s just feeding them the same way every day. Be sure the eat their pellets.

After the first container is empty it is time to mix step 2 and continue then off to step 3. Once you reach step 3 you will need to be sure they are eating the pellets. If they are not at that point you will either want to try a switch pellets or mix another batch of Pellets and Seed. You are trying to help your bird but you don’t want to starve them in the process. Up until now I haven’t mentioned fresh food. If you have been doing this don’t stop. If you haven’t been feeding fresh food now is a good as time as any.

So, it’s a month later and your bird still doesn’t eat pellets. It is probably time to try it different type or brand. Don’t give up your pet will thank for it.

Copyright 1999 CNC Aviary


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