Parrot Diets

Parrot feeding is very important for a bird’s health, so it should be looked upon as a diet that must contain the right amount of protein. Used by your bird to grow and repair muscle, organs, feathers, beak, and other body tissue, proteins are mostly amino acids. Amino acids can be divided into essential and non-essential amino acids. The latter ones are produced by the parrot’s own body, but they are not enough for a bird. So there are at least ten other amino acids that you must feed to your parrot by its diet, as a bird’s body cannot produce them. These are the essential amino acids: arginine, lysine, methionine, tryptophan, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, threonine and valine. Parrot food contains protein that is either “complete” protein or “incomplete protein”, depending on whether food contains some amino acids or all of them. High levels of all of the essential amino acids can be found in eggs and animal proteins, thus they are considered to be protein foods of higher quality. For psitticine birds, pelleted foods are a real source of complete protein. Don’t believe that the best way to feed a bird is a pelleted die alone. A parrot’s body is not much different than the human body. And as people are advised to have a varied diet containing fresh food every day, why should birds be fed only on pellets? Remember, variety is the spice of life! Fresh fruits, veggies, a bit of chicken or turkey go a long way. Eggs, chicken, fish and diary products are real suppliers of essential amino acids which birds need in small amounts. On the other hand, when you give your bird beans along with whole grains, there is no need to feed any more animal protein. Some say that parrots can not digest dairy produces, meaning that they are “lactose intolerant”, but this is not the entire truth. They can digest low to moderate amounts of dairy products. So when you feed your parrot diary products, be very careful with the quantities and watch your parrot’s droppings. That is because when they are loose or watery, you must reduce the amount given to the bird. Fresh vegetables are low in amino acids, calcium and vitamin, although they are full of many other valuable nutrients. Vegetables are a good choice when aiming to balance a parrot’s diet that is based on seed. Though deficient in amino acids, you can wisely combine them in such a way as to provide good quality protein. The only vegetable that is very high in protein is beans, but if the diet includes many kinds of vegetables, you balance the diet. Protein requirements published so far are a great deal of help in deciding upon the amounts of animal protein that should be fed to a parrot. They advise us to feed a bird on average between 10% and 16% protein daily, but you should also consider the fact that breeding birds and young, growing birds need greater amounts. For example a teaspoon of complete protein daily would be about enough for the needs of a medium-sized parrot. If not fed enough “complete” protein foods a parrot will not be completely healthy, because deficiencies in the amino acids’ consumption will put your bird at risk. They may easily catch infections, poor growth and decreased fertility in breeding birds, feather picking, poor feather quality overall. Remember that growing parrots or birds during periods of molting and when breeding need larger amounts of protein. Protein amounts that should be fed to a parrot vary upon the fat content of the diet. Everyone knows that the amount of food a bird eats depends on the number of calories in the diet. A diet high in calories will make the bird eat less food. This is the reason why the protein levels in the diet must be higher, so that the parrot can take in the right amount. On the other hand, a diet low in calories will determine the bird to eat more and the parrot will need less protein in each mouthful. Parrots, like people, should not eat junk food! If it is bad for you, it is bad for them. For the time being there are no accurate figures to describe the protein requirements of each species, but I’m sure that we will shortly see some numbers. I for example have been feeding my own parrots Zupreem pellets along with fresh foods, seeds, some cooked foods, and a small amount of hard shelled nuts( For big birds only ).

S.E.I.P.R. Links

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