Originally Posted By: skipperdog
Our female bird has taken to rummaging about in my hair and chewing it.
ROFL -- guess you need preening? smile

Thanks, C-Mom, for all your work on this thread.

Originally Posted By: KT 157
what is pellets? I haven't seen these yet. Should I buy these?

How do I know if she is eating too much seed?... I don't want her to get a tumor.. also I don't know how to watch her protein intake.

Pellets are compacted little bits of lots of avian foods, kind of like dog chow. The main brands that I know of are Harrison's (sold only through vets and places with a vet connection, like Windy City Parrot), Roudybush, Lafeber, and ZuPreem (the last two are sold at Petsmart and Petco).

The basic idea is that they're a complete source of nutrition, but need to be supplemented with fresh veggies and seeds. As C-Mom said above, there's lots of debate about what proportion of seeds to pellets is best. I'll put links for further reading at the bottom of this post...

As for protein intake, I would say just go with what the pellet manufacturer recommends, or if you're worried, feed the bird a higher percentage of seeds than even the pellet co. recommends. The problem with an only-seed diet is that it's like a human eating only carbohydrates -- not complete protein, amino acids, etc.

Telling whether your budgie is pudgy is a tough issue! There are avian scales on the market (that come with a T-shaped perch), and some people use food scales that measures in grams (not ounces!). This is helpful, but your budgie has to be tame enough to step on the perch or in the bowl...

An avian vet can tell by feeling your bird, too (they feel for fatty deposits), and you can get a rough idea by feeling for your bird's keel bone --- gently run your finger down her front; you'll feel a slight vertical bone between her chest and leg area.