Lisa Shea

To help newbies (and some "old"bies too)

Posted By: Anonymous

To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 05/10/09 04:59 AM

There are a lot of questions lately about getting your budgie to eat veggies and/or pellets. I thought if I started this thread, others who have also gotten a successful conversion could add to my thoughts and maybe we can put together one good post that can be bumped over the years when it is needed again.

I know that the whole %of pellets/seeds/veggies varies no matter who you talk to. One Avian SPECIALIST will tell you all pellets, the next will tell you mostly pellets and yet again many more will tell you always seeds and pellets a few times a week. I am not starting this thread to debate that issue. Just help the new people convert and they can worry about the ratios in another thread or with their vet.

That said, here is something I have posted on a few threads over the past months. Please feel free to add any additional ideas success/failures you have experienced. *anything I post here is my understanding after talking to my vet and doing independent research. It is in NO WAY to be taken as FACT!*

(this is long-sorry)

Conversion to veggie/pellets can be trying with some keets.

The thing about pellets is that in the wild they get some stuff that they just don't get from the veggies that we can get them here. The pellets are made to cover ALL of their dietary needs. Also, it has been found that too much seeds cause tumors.

The change to veggies is pretty much the same as pellets and this can pertain to both. They are both important to your budgie.

There are so many ways to introduce and change over to new foods.

My boys did the conversion to veggies with first using organic baby foods. I would sprinkle seeds on top and gently push it down in, that way, even when they are just picking the seeds off of the top, they still get the taste of the veggies while hulling them. While you are offering this (maybe 2 hours or so) you can remove any other food because you do have some familiar seed on the top so you shouldn't have to worry about starvation or anything.

Once they got to where they were eating some of the baby food on purpose, I started adding very finally chopped veggies. After a while they would eat the veggies with out the baby food or seed (though they still love a dish of baby food w/seed mixed in.)

Once they were eating the veggies good chopped up, I slowly started putting some bigger pieces in there. Some veggies they will eat whole (corn, broccoli flowers, romaine lettuce) and some I still need to chop.

Pellets you can start sprinkling them on the baby food too. Crush them fine and add them in. When you buy them, be sure they are small. Most brands, you will want to get the canary/finch size. If you get Harrison's, go with super fine.

As far as what is "right", I went through the same frustrations. What my vet said was that even at the aviary seminars he has been to, he can go to one "expert" and they will say one thing, cross the hall to another and they say something totally different.

I feed mine pellets 24/7-some will say that is not good. I feed veggies all through out the day and seeds intermittently throughout. Mostly the seeds are sprinkled on something or in a foraging toy. The foraging toy they always have access to when they are out of the cage-most of the day.

Too much protein is not good - can cause gout. Pellets have mostly about 14 grams of protein in a "serving". This is where the controversy arises as to if they should be offered 24/7 or not. I have yet to find anything that says how much protein is TOO MUCH. One of the top avian scientists worked on formulating the Harrison's pellets to most closely resemble what they would get in the wild so I have a hard time believing that the 14 gr. of protein / oz is TOO MUCH. That's me
Posted By: tealcandtina

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 05/10/09 05:35 AM

A great idea to help us all. We have not used pellet only food yet. The Kaytee food we use has some pellet in it so they get a very small amount. On the Kaytee food debate, we looked at other brands suggested here and compared, I had to take my reading glasses! We went to their website and other sites and decided it is as good as any other brand.
We also offer them molting and conditioning food mixed in small amounts. Also honey treat sticks.
Millet not everyday,they won't eat anything else if there is millet!
We give them a paper plate full of what ever veggies we have,beet tops, celery chopped fine, broccoli, either whole or chopped they will eat, different lettuces, bell pepper cores with the seeds! They eat all the seeds off.
They won't eat off the paper plate on the floor of their cage, so
I put the paper plate in a natural uncoated basket with low sides and hang it from one of the branch perches! They seem to like it up high.
I tried rice, they didn't like it. Dry toast they do like. That's as far as we have progressed. I will say if we don't get their veggies before our first cup of coffee we get no peace!
Posted By: Dixie&Miss' Mama

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 05/10/09 11:24 AM

We use the Kaytee food as well. I use a seed mix - Fiesta Mix.

We also get them egg-perch-stick.
And honey-sticks that for the keets.

The egg-stick is called a perch but it isn't.
But the honey-sticks are. They have a slide-thingy on them so you can attach them to the cage on the side. Let me tell you, if Dixie and Missy never had that honey-seed they would go crazy!
About in January me and my work friend came home and tried red peppers and tried them in different ways.

Sliced them and fed them it.
Cut it up and put it in their seed bowl.
Attached it on the cage door and side area.

Still didn't work. So I have no knowing of what to do. If you could post me a picture of what you feed them (veggie wise) & how you feed them it, Caribbean Mom, that would help. Thanks.
Posted By: skipperdog

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 05/10/09 02:54 PM

This is a good topic. I have found that keets learn to eat new things from each other. My first keet wouldn't eat any veggies. Then I got her a playmate, and they both developed the confidence to try new foods. My newest boy ate the veggies on his first day with us, I think because he saw the older birds do it. My keet's favorites are:

chopped broccoli florets
flat leaf parsley stems and leaves
grated carrot
whole strawberries (they like to pick off the seeds)
any kind of lettuce/spinach
shredded wheat biscuits (no sugar or salt added)
quartered hard boiled eggs

To get them to eat the pellets, I put them on their veggie dish and they eat them readily. I think they associate the veggie dish with good food, so they try whatever I put on it.

Posted By: Anonymous

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 05/10/09 04:30 PM

I use different veggies differnt days. DO NOT feed (and I should have thought of this in the first post)
-apple seeds or the area right around it (toxic)
-avocado
-chocolate
-anything with sodium (this includes almost all canned veggies and a few frozen-read the labels)
-alcohol
-sugar

When feeding Strawberries they MUST MUST MUST be organic!! Because of the nature of the fruit it is highly sprayed with pesticides etc and it goes into the whole fruit-you can't just wash it off.

Organic is always the best way to go but I know for me, it is hard to find organic and sometimes I just have to do a lot of washing/soaking before I feed them.

Organic baby food is easier to come by so I use that a lot.

Dixie&Miss' Mama just try each method mentioned in the first post and as I said, stick to ONE method for AT LEAST a week before moving on to the next. Some birds are more reluctant to try new foods.

If you do the "remove all other foods from the cage" thing be sure to sprinkle a small amount of seed on the veggie and don't go over 2 hours. Budgies can starve themselves to death!!!
Posted By: KentuckyChicken

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 05/11/09 07:15 PM

Ok got the organic baby food and pushed some seeds into it, interested to see who goes and looks at it. took out their other foods for a few hours.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 05/11/09 07:23 PM

Let us know how it goes and remember, it may take several days of trying but don't give up,
Posted By: KentuckyChicken

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 05/11/09 07:51 PM

Well so far Tucky went over, poked her head in and left it lol.
Posted By: KentuckyChicken

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 05/11/09 08:27 PM

Well I had to take it out, Tucky got xxxxxx about about dumped it on the bottom of the cage! haha. I'll try again tomorrow. smile
Posted By: Dixie&Miss' Mama

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 05/11/09 09:27 PM

LOL! I agree with Caribbean Mom. Keep, keep on trying. smile I hope all goes well.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 05/11/09 09:47 PM

Originally Posted By: KentuckyChicken
Well I had to take it out, Tucky got xxxxxx about about dumped it on the bottom of the cage! haha. I'll try again tomorrow. smile
Yeah, just keep trying each day for about 2 hours. Are you putting it in their normal seed dish? It helps if you do because, not only does it have familiar seed on the top, but it is also in the dish they KNOW contains food.
Posted By: KT 157

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/16/09 11:53 PM

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS THREAD!! I do have a bunch of questions if anyone can help.. please! Boo Boo is getting comfy with me and I feel its ok to try to get her to eat better! She LOVES LOVES LOVES the seed. She eats it and only it all day. Today.. (it's been a week since I've gotten her) she had a couple bites of millet. I use the Kaytee fiesta mix seed as well. I mix with seed ecotrition variety blend fruit and seed.I also bought kaylor or colorado sweet harvest fruit mix, looks like dried fruit. Since I've read that budgies only eat fruit like two weeks a year so I don't know if she will eat or if she should...

I was wondering.. what is pellets? I haven't seen these yet. Should I buy these?

I will try the baby food way first. sounds pretty solid to me.

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.

SO what I need is Baby food (organic), veggies (organic), pellets (which brand?)..

Should I try on the bottom of the cage first, or up high?

Sorry for all the questions. Thank you for all the help really!!! smile
Posted By: Love My Budgies

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/17/09 12:18 AM

Good topic! I had wasted so much time & money on veggies when trying to get my girl to eat them. I'd spend hours trying to puree, chop, dice-I tried almost everything. What worked for me is giving her choices. She likes to have a variety so she gets pellets, veggies, and herbs (dried & fresh) 24/7. She is only given seed for a short time and millet is only given during training. Treats are given maybe once a month.
If given all, she makes the right choice-she eats a little seed, more pellets, then alot of veggies. But I have learned if I leave seed in there she will pig out on it and gain weight, so I only offer it for 15-60 minutes a day.
What worked for her with converting was offering veggies as toys-with leaves & stems on and hanging them where her toys were. She likes 'em wet and cool. She will play with them then eat them. Now she also eats them in her normal food dish chopped up.
One thing to mention about veggies is organic is best. Alot of veggies & fruits are sprayed with pesticides specifically designed to keep birds from eating them, so even if washed, the chemicals are inside, in the seeds, & in the skin and these could kill or make your bird very sick.
Posted By: skipperdog

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/17/09 12:46 AM

My birds get seed mix, Harrisons high potency pellets and veggies free choice. Since they love to be out of the cage, I put the seeds in the cage, and the pellets and veggies in the area they play in. So, if they REALLY want seeds they have to climb down, enter the cage and eat them. The pellets and veggies are always right at hand. We use spray millet as a training aid only, and they are only fed it from human hands. It works for us.

Favorite greens are:

Broccoli
Italian Parsley
Curly Kale
Any dark green lettuce (cos, or escarole especially)

Favorite people food:
Shredded wheat biscuits
My hair. (Just a little humor there. Our female bird has taken to rummaging about in my hair and chewing it.)
Posted By: KT 157

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/17/09 01:08 AM

so....... I should take the seed out of the cage? for long periods of time?.... while I have pellets and veggies in there?
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/17/09 01:11 AM

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.

http://www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com/products/harrisons.html

http://lafebercares.com/pinnacle/index.php?p=product&id=14&parent=8
Posted By: Kirby&Yoshi

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/17/09 01:38 AM

Thank you soo much! I've been wondering how to get them to start eating veggies/pellets. I'll try this as soon as I can smile
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/17/09 01:47 AM

To leave seeds or not to leave seeds (in the cage)? That is the question. Whether 'tis nobler to suffer the "tweets" and "acks" of outrageous fortune... But seriously: I agree with whoever said (above) that it's best to leave some seeds/pellets/combination of the two in the cage at all times. Budgies can starve to death if they don't understand that something is food or if they really don't like it.

Speaking of which, it's important to shake off or blow off the seed hulls several times a day; a food dish might look full, to us, but actually be nothing but empty hulls.
Posted By: KT 157

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/17/09 02:00 AM

LOLOL That was super funny!! heehee I think that I would be most comfy with the leave in combo! Thank you so much!!

Another question.. if you will... Am I suppose to switch the seed twice a day? and if so am I suppose to throw away the seed because it looks like half of it is still good?

Don't know what to do.... thanks!!
Posted By: kksuns

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/17/09 02:18 AM

I give mine seed/pellet mixture-more seed than pellets. I worry about too much protein causing problems down the road.I guess the ratio of seed pellet is up to the individual after doing their research and deciding for themselves the pros and cons. smile They also get a variety of fresh veggies, all they can eat throughout the day. I do put just pellets in a small treat dish in cage and also on playstand, and they munch on those when the mood strikes them too. lol Haven't yet found a fruit that either will eat. There is dehydrated fruit in one of the seed mixes i use but idk if they really eat it or mostly it gets tossed out.
I switch their seed/pellet twice a day and whatever they don't eat i put outside for the wild birds.
KT-after a while you will be able to judge a little better about how much they eat and don't put as much in their dish to be wasted. Or you can blow off the hulls and add more to it. The only thing with that is maybe the stuff that is left uneaten is stuff they don't like? IDK
Have you tried any fresh vegs at all yet?
Posted By: KT 157

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/17/09 02:38 AM

I have tried broccolli in a couple of different ways and some fruit (before I knew that they didn't eat fruit much) But she hasn't even looked at it at all or checked it out. So I will try some different veggies.. and try misting them, or leaving them wet when I put them inside the cage. Do you know what kind of pellets I should get...

Posted By: kksuns

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/17/09 02:58 AM

I have heard good things about these http://www.naturechest.com/roudmain.html
and these http://www.naturechest.com/harrisons.html
I get these http://www.gourmetparrot.com/exact-organic.html because it's what my pet store carries and when i first got them Levi liked them so i stuck with em. I didn't want to have to order online all the time.
Check out what ur petstore has and if you have any questions about them come here and ask if anyone uses that kind?
Posted By: KT 157

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/17/09 03:06 AM

Thank you so much!! I'm addicted to going to the pet store!! any reason I'm gone! heehee
Posted By: james'94

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/17/09 03:29 AM

hey im about to get a budgie/parakeet and was hopeing to get some pointers befor i get one.i bought 3 items already(didnt have enough money for everything)i got a toy it looks kind of like a ladder with 2 bells with gnawable parts, a sand perch, and a hony seed mix parakeet feed can anyone list me what else i need?(besides cage and the budgie)

oh,and i hope this is the right place to post this.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/17/09 03:48 AM

Originally Posted By: james'94
hey im about to get a budgie/parakeet and was hopeing to get some pointers befor i get one.i bought 3 items already(didnt have enough money for everything)i got a toy it looks kind of like a ladder with 2 bells with gnawable parts, a sand perch, and a hony seed mix parakeet feed can anyone list me what else i need?(besides cage and the budgie)

oh,and i hope this is the right place to post this.
I am going to start this in a new thread for you smile If you aren't sure how to start a new thread, send me (or anyone) a PM and we will be glad to offer you help.

Find your new thread here: http://www.wineintro.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=375856&#Post375856
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/17/09 04:05 AM

Now, back to our scheduled broadcast:

as far as do you take the seeds out for extended periods of time. No matter what you decide about that AFTER they are eating veggies and pellets, do NOT do it right away. As mentioned above, budgies can starve to death if they do not realize the veggies are food.

As to the protein issue. I am not going to debate with anyone. I suggest you talk to your avian vet and get his/her input. What my vet told me is this: The pellets are designed to give your bird the closest possible nutrients to what they get in the wild. If you are giving pellets and LOTS of veggies w/a little fruit once in a while, they will be fine.

What works for me, my boys AND my vet is this, they have pellets 24/7. They get seeds occasionally sprinkled on their veggies and almost every night offered out of our hands. I work from home so from the time they are uncovered until they are covered at night, I am offering a variety of veggies. They always have at least one veggie available at all times through out the day.

That is just what works for us and I can tell you I have had Aruba just over a year, Caico, Antigua and Cayman for almost a year now and the only time any of them have been to the vet is for a well check which they have passed w/flying colors. That's not to say they couldn't all get sick tomorrow.

Oh oh, I do also have Herb Salad in their coconut shell swing on top of the cage so they can munch on that as they wish from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Whoever it was who thanked me for putting in time to get this thread set up and started, you are welcome.
Posted By: Love My Budgies

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/17/09 02:04 PM

A good way to eliminate waste with seeds, if you are home and can keep an eye on your bird(s) to make sure what their needs are, is to only offer 1 teaspoon at a time. Most birds will not consume more than 1-3 teaspoons a day, so why give them more? And if they are eating a variety of foods, there is no need to give them more than 1 teaspoons a day.
Regarding pellets, something to think about with pet Budgies is you should not feed them what they would eat in the wild because they do not fly (or move around) as much in captivity as they would free, so they do not burn as many calories or require as much protein. A Budgie in the wild will fly many miles a day to find food & water. At home, even if left out all day, realistically they may fly 1 mile. That said, you need to calculate your bird(s) activity level and fly time, calculate calories, and manage their weight to find the perfect food/pellet balance for your bird(s) -no Avian Vet or person elsewhere can say exactly what is right unless they weigh and monitor each individual bird regularly/often.
Posted By: skipperdog

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 07/18/09 01:33 PM

My keets are *very* excited when the see wet greens coming their way. They are usually very cautious with any new object (To the point of, when being offered millet by my left hand instead of the right, they wouldn't come near. They were scared of my wedding band).

Anyway, the very first time I offered them curly kale, they couldn't get to it fast enough. They dashed over and drank the water drops, nibbled and rolled around in the kale.

So maybe some dripping wet greens would be a way to entice them.

Good luck!
Posted By: Ziggy

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 10/31/09 04:43 AM

some1 plz gimmie a hint of how to crush his pellets up. i have the lefeber's premium daily diet for parakeets. any good ideas?
Posted By: tealcandtina

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 10/31/09 05:32 AM

Nice to see this thread back! I posted early on and its interesting to read what I did then. I still offer veggies and fruit. Now I feed grains and legumes every day and veggies. Fruit if I am not out! Peanut butter toast is a hit with the big guys, not so much with the budgies. They are picky. Some days they will eat veggies and some days not. I also started making bird corn bread. I put pellets in and they will eat them that way!
Posted By: cyberbud

Re: To help newbies (and some "old"bies too) - 10/31/09 07:06 AM

crush pellets: mortar & pestal,
put in plastic bag and use
rolling pin, back of heavy spoon
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