Guest Author - Heather Thomas
Many commercial bird diets have taken the guess-work out of making sure your bird gets all the nutrients it needs for a long and healthy life by incorporating them right into the food product. Extruded pellets and vitamin enriched seed blends already contain all the basic vitamins and minerals your bird requires, but this does not negate a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition to this, your bird can probably benefit from a few other simple additions to its diet.
Mineral blocks come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. Essentially, they are a solid mineral supplement for your bird. Avoid artificially colored or flavored blocks; instead, choose products made with all natural ingredients.
Cuttlebones are the supporting bone structure of a cuttlefish. This may seem like an unlikely addition to your birdís diet, but cuttlebone is a fantastic source of calcium for pet birds. This calcium is especially essential to breeding hens, so their own stores of calcium are not depleted while laying eggs. In addition to the added calcium, cuttlebone aids in keeping your birdís beak trimmed and smooth.
Grit is not recommended for the majority of pet birds. The only exceptions are those who keep pigeons or doves, grit aids these birds in digesting seeds swallowed while still in the shell. Parrots and softbills remove the seedís outer hull as they eat, and therefore do not need the same assistance grit provides. If these birds are given grit, when itís not needed, impacted crop can result. This can even lead to death.
If your bird eats a well-rounded diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, a vitamin supplement should never be necessary. If your bird is on a seed only diet, consider using a vitamin supplement added directly to your birdís food. Do not use supplements added to water, as they are prone to bacterial growth and their benefits degrade rapidly. Never feed a bird on an all pellet diet additional vitamin supplements, as this can cause vitamin toxicity and actually be harmful to your bird. The bottom line is, if your bird is eating a balanced diet, additional vitamin supplementation should not be necessary.
Vitamin Rich Food
Most people choose to include either an extruded pellet or seed blend as the base of, or at least part of, their birdís diet. When choosing a quality feed, look for natural, organic ingredients. Include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, and seeds for a balanced diet. Donít feed your bird junk food for treats. Instead, select highly nutritious foods such as dried fruits, vegetables, in-the-shell nuts, or whole-grain cereal. These treats not only provide a tasty treat for your bird but also maximize nutrition at the same time.