Contrary to popular belief, birds do not live on seeds alone! Birds have a habit of picking out the kinds of seed they like and ignoring the rest, so they can't get a balanced diet from even the best seed mix. That's why researchers have developed a number of "pellet" foods (available at most pet stores), which contain balanced nutrients in every bite. There are a few bird species that pellets should NOT be given to; namely Parrotlets (See this page).
Many birds look at pellet foods suspiciously at first, so don't try to "convert" them from a seed diet to a pellet diet all at once. Follow the conversion instructions on the package carefully, and don't give up! The right food can add years to your bird's life...and improve its overall health and appearance. Generally speaking, if your bird is on a pellet diet as the primary source of nutrition you should never add vitamin supplements to the food or water. This is because the bird can overdose or become toxic because of high levels of some vitamins and minerals.
In addition to pellet food, offer your bird a variety of fruits, vegetables, cooked beans and rice, raw leafy vegetables such as collard greens and kale, whole grain, dry, sugar-free cereals. These foods should be placed in a separate bowl (not the pellet bowl) and removed within two hours so they don't spoil. Depending on how it was raised, your bird may not accept these foods immediately, but keep trying. Some birds refuse to eat these foods out of a bowl but will accept them if they're hung from the side or top of the cage. (You can buy special clips and skewers made for this purpose at your pet store.)
Birds that were hand-fed often take nutritious foods from a spoon or their owner's fingers. In fact, sharing safe treats with your pet is a great way to strengthen your friendship.
Do not feed your bird even small amounts of avocado, chocolate, rhubarb or alcohol -- these foods are highly toxic to birds. All sugary or salty foods are also harmful to birds.
Every bird should have a cuttlebone and a mineral block at all times. If you have a budgie (parakeet), make sure its mineral block contains iodine, which is essential to their health.
Remember to give your bird fresh water every day. After you wash and thoroughly rinse its water bowl, let the cold water tap run for two or three minutes. This cleans out bacteria and some of the lead that accumulates in older water pipes overnight.
Certain species, such as lories and lorikeets, have very specific dietary requirements. Consult your veterinarian for nutritional advice specific to your pet.
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