Tag Archives: Seeds

My Feeding Method – Trial Session One

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On the first day of May I remember posting about my new idea of feeding the budgies their fresh foods 0n/near their landing cage in my post A New Discovery. I was supposed to update on my trial of this idea, but I never got around to it. Anyway, that weekend when I planned on carrying out my new idea; it didn’t really work out well.

Kasper looking innocent and cute.

I decided that the best way to do this would be to start with my normal routine first, then just to change the location of their dishes when I eventually got that far into cleaning. I would first replace their soiled papers from the bottom of their cage, and then take their food and water dishes out to clean and refill with fresh food and water. Then that’s when I would place the dishes on or near their landing cage so that the budgies would attempt to eat out of their cage for basically the first time. Well, when I eventually did this and sat down to wait for them to come out for their flight (and now feeding) time; they just waited there.

Kasper and Koko on the top of their "Master Cage". (Notice how Koko's wings are filling out quite nicely?)

Usually when the cage doors are open the budgies come out and fly around for a bit, then they hang out on their landing cage for a bit, just preening and interacting with each other, (Which was when I was hoping that they would notice the food and start eating) but this time they stayed inside of their cage and almost completely ignored the doors that were wide open. I ended up having to coax them out with some millet spray, but even when they got on their landing cage they ignored the food. I tried to wait it out until they caved in and started eating, but after a bit they just hopped back in their cage. This was the signal that they had enough for the day, so I put the dishes back in and just as I did so, the budgies started eating from the dishes.

The budgies' cage set-up, with their landing cage on the top right. (Pardon the emptiness of their cages, I'm still working on making some toys to fill them up)

I guess they really can be picky little guys, especially with their daily routine and normal activities. If budgies can be this particular about their routines, I can’t imagine how well the larger parrots can keep track of theirs’. Just one little change like where their food dishes are located can make a huge difference, and that is why it is important to be able to observe your bird’s behavior and figure out what is causing a change.

The change that was obviously keeping my budgies from eating was the unfamiliar location of their feeding area, so I’ll have to just adjust my converting method so that I can gradually change it to my new feeding method, giving them time to also adjust. Just like it takes time to gain your bird’s trust, it also takes time to make changes to their routine without any abrupt or confusing events.

Froot Loop trying to win over Koko. (Koko is trying to resist the cuteness here)

Although this trial didn’t go so well, I can try a different approach the next time I try feeding them outside of their cages. I think that the content of their food dishes can also be a factor in their decision on whether or not to eat too because if I tried something more tempting than their plain old seeds like I offered this time, they might change their minds and decide that it is safe to be eating from there.

Slowly creeping over to the camera... (This was his first real encounter with a camera up-close)

Hopefully the next trial session will be a bit more successful and we might make some progress.

And... ATTACK!

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A New Discovery

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I’ve been converting the budgies to their healthy chop diet and they are doing very well with it. So far they haven’t been very stubborn. Each of them are eager to try the fresh foods I’m giving to them. (With the temptation of seeds sprinkled on top of course) I’m really surprised that it didn’t take that long for them to start trying it out. It has only been around 3 months since I really introduced fresh foods to them, and since then I have been gradually adding to their chop mix.

Today I prepared another batch of chop and I mainly added in green peppers, red peppers, corn, peas, and carrots. These batches are only meant to last weekly in fridges because I don’t have  enough freezer room for bigger batches. I didn’t have much of a variety of vegetables to work with, so I just added in other things to their meals. I made a hardboiled egg and crushed the egg shell into it after mashing it up. Then I added in a teaspoon of Clay-Cal, and a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (They seem to like it better with cinnamon) which I separated into each dish. After I rinsed, drained and mixed all of this I added a sprinkle of seeds on top. I do this so that the budgies will have something in there that they are familiar with already. When they go to get some seeds, they pick up the tastes of the other foods. That’s what got them started on nibbling on the different foods.

I’m used to them just going for the seeds by now because that is usually all they do, but you could imagine how surprised I was when I saw Kasper dive in and grab out a piece of corn to start eating. I was so thrilled to see the progress he was making already, but what surprised me more was that when he accidentally dropped it, he went right down to the bottom of the cage to finish it! I was so happy, but then I noticed that the corn was picking up other debris from the bottom of the cage and I got a bit grossed out knowing Kasper was trying to eat from it. That’s when I got this really cool idea.

Instead of feeding them their fresh foods in their cage, why not try getting them to eat it outside? I’d make this a regular thing and get them to come out on their smaller cage to eat. It would make cleaning much easier, give them out of cage time, and it would be more fun for all of us all at the same time. After they finish their fresh foods, I could just fill their cage dishes with fresh water and dry foods like seeds, or other things like pellets and nuts that I plan on getting in the near future. (There are actually these new, really cool and yummy looking Totally Organic Pellets that I’d like to try giving to the birds called Crumplets that I heard of here.) It would make life just a bit more easier for me, and funner too. Change is good every now and then, and I think that this is going to be the next big change for us. Hopefully the budgies won’t mind the change and maybe even enjoy it some day.

A picture of the TOP Crumplets that I found on The Birdsafe Store.

Now that I have it somewhat planned out, I’ve got to actually do it now. Since I don’t know how they will react to the change, I’ll just have to gradually build up to the full switch at the right time. I’m thinking that next weekend would be a good time to actually start, so I’ve got plenty of time to prepare. Until then, I’m just going to continue feeding them inside their cage. I’ll be posting about this again as soon as I begin. Wish me luck! 🙂

Some Goodies for the Birds

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Today I decided to make a nice and yummy combination for the birds to eat for dinner to see if they would like to have some. My idea actually worked! They dug right in like champs and stuffed their faces. What I made was a combination of baby spinach, apples, carrots and green peppers for wet food. Then there was another little mixture I made to add to it which contained cinnamon, wheat germ, some seeds, crushed oyster shell and some charcoal. After I mixed the wet food and rinsed it thoroughly I drained it well and mixed it with the dry mixture. I put some in the freezer to save for tomorrow, so they can have it for dinner once again. It has such a strong smell with the cinnamon and green pepper mix, I don’t know what to think of it!

On a side note: Rocky is still doing really good, he is outside more frequently now, and is still behaving very nicely indoors. I’m pretty sure that the new dog house is going to be built soon. Maybe tomorrow we will hear news about it. 🙂

Making Progress…

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Updated: September 19, 2011

The most wonderful thing happened today, the budgies actually ate their veggies! I’m so happy, it didn’t even take that long. I forgot to post about the meal I prepared for them yesterday, but here it is:

Baby Spinach, Apples, Wheat Germ, and Seeds.

A Close-Up Shot

They started to pick at this at around 10:00 PM, and I found a bunch of bits of it on their cage floor the next morning. The must have had a blast with the mess they made!

Today I decided to try something different, so I ended up adding some red pepper to the mix.

Baby Spinach ready to be chopped up!
Chopped Apples mixed with Baby Spinach.
Some red pepper thawing out.
All chopped up.
Everything rinsed, mixed and ready for the dry ingredients.
With Wheat Germ and Seeds.

All ready to serve!

It smelled so delicious! Even when my nose was plugged from having a little cold, I could still smell the red pepper. Next time I should try some other ingredients with such great smells.

The birds actually ended up eating some, or at least digging through it. There was also some red pepper bits on the ground, so at least I know they were getting a bit of the taste. Maybe next time they will decide to eat more. 🙂 One can only hope!

A Healthy Diet for My Birds

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For most of their lives, my birds have been fed an all-seed diet. With nothing else except water. This of course changed once I started to read up more on the proper diet for budgies and found out that this was a big no-no. An all-seed diet is bad for your bird’s health because it simply does not fulfill all their dietary needs. Their diets are said to need a balanced variety of vegetables/greens, fruits, safe wild foods (like chickweed, dandelion leaves, blossoms, etc.), nuts, and seeds.

You should also provide a source of calcium like cuttlebone or eggs, and mineral blocks help keep you bird’s beak in shape too. You may also decide to include pellets in their diet, but I usually don’t feed mine any unless they are of good quality. (Volkman’s, Totally Organic Pellets, Harrison’s, etc.) If your bird is not used to eating a variety of foods I’d start with offering only a small amount of new food each day for a while and replace more of their normal diet daily so that you can gradually transfer them to a new healthier diet.

I offer a side dish of whatever I have available at this point because my budgies can be a bit stubborn with what they like eating. (Can’t they all?) 🙂 Some of the things that I have offered to my budgies include…

  • Carrots
  • Carrot Tops
  • Broccoli
  • Grapes
  • Brown Rice (Which was totally plain, and organic.)
  • Apples (Without the seeds of course!)
  • Wheat Germ
  • Baby Spinach

I may have offered other kinds, but I can’t recall any right now. I’d like to start making it more of a habit to feed the birds fresh foods because they deserve it after all those years of just seed. One thing I’d also like to try is the “Chop” concept that I will post below. This might get my three’s attention because of how finely chopped it has to be. Maybe I’ll get a food processor or something that will make it easier.

There are many sources of information out there that you can read through to get a better idea of what is safe, and what isn’t safe. I myself am still finding new information every day after months of reading, so you can never learn too much! 🙂

You can start by reading these links here, they have plenty of helpful information:

Vegetables and Fruits

Avian Nutrition and Dietary Requirements

I’d also recommend reading the posts on “Chop” found at the blog “Parrot Nation” which you can find under the “Blogs I Read” section to the right. This is a great way to feed your birds because it is easy and saves lots of time. You can find them here:  The “Chop” Recipe. The same goes for the blog “HungryBird“. This blog is all about feeding birds better food (as stated under the blog title) and you can get great ideas here too.

I wish you luck on your journey to feeding your birds a better diet!