There are two ways to achieve a balanced diet in seed-eating birds:
- Offer seed for 10-20 minutes twice a day or overnight then take it away and leave fresh vegetables (carrot, broccoli, silverbeet and spinach) and fruits (apple, pawpaw) and native nutrients.
- Feed commercially prepared pellets or diets, which are fully balanced in nutrients
- If birds absolutely refuse to eat new foods, at least ensure that a daily Vitamin supplement is given if on a seed only diet
Several factors to consider:
- Birds often fail to recognize new foods as something they can eat. Texture, shape and size of foods are more important to a bird than smell or taste (unlike cats and dogs). So new foods need to be introduced gradually, and at a place where the bird expects food to be
- Birds have different food requirements for breeding, moulting, growing and feeding young
- The main diet problem seen in seedeaters is Vitamin A deficiency, from having an all seed diet. This leads to many diseases commonly seen in pet birds
- Calcium is a very important mineral to birds and should always be available in some form e.g. cuttlefish, liquid drops in drinking water or calcium blocks
- Grit and water must be available at all times but only for quail, doves, finches and canaries
With a good diet and a clean cage, at least 50% of bird diseases seen by seed use can be prevented.