IVECCS Tip #3: Pelleted Diets For Birds

Avian nutrition has come a long way in the last twenty years thanks to pelleted diets.  These diets prevent birds from using what I like to call the smorgasbord approach . . . they pick out their favorite food items and drop the healthy stuff on the bottom of the cage.  Avian veterinarians have been recommending these diets to correct the health problems caused by nutrient deficient, high fat seed diets.   

Unfortunately, pelleted diets do have limitations.  The color variety of cockatiels, lovebirds, budgerigars and parrotlets may develop renal problems from large amounts of pelleted diets.  The condition will often correct itself when the pellets are removed from the diet.  Current recommendations discussed at IVECCS include limiting pellets to 50% or less of the diet for sensitive individuals.  The other 50% should be a mix of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts tailored to the specific bird.  Always choose foodstuffs fit for human consumption to avoid contamination with unhealthy microbes.     

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.