Tips on Parakeet Food, Snacks and Treats to Buy –
Also Know How to Maintain Parakeet Health
High quality parakeet food is another essential ingredient to making your parakeet’s experience in your home memorable, stress-free and happy. If you’re going to buy your parakeet a beautiful bird cage complete with many perches and toys, then buy the best parakeet food to ensure its health.
Buy quality nut, fruit and vegetable food mixes for your pet parakeet. Since parakeets are subject to growths and tumors halfway through its life, we make sure to buy food products that contain anti-oxidants, as well. Since there are many nuts, your parakeet will break the shells (hulls) in the food tray and leave them there so blowing out the empty shells a few times a week assists it in more easily accessing its food. By blowing the empty hulls out of the food tray, you’ll also know when the parakeet food needs replenishing. It is not possible to discern empty hulls from full nuts so a tray full of shelled hulls can deceptively appear to be a full tray of parakeet food.
In addition to nut, fruit and vegetable food mixes, the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV) recommend the following parakeet foods:
- 50% cooked beans, whole wheat bread, cooked rice, pasta, and seed;
- 45% fresh broccoli, carrots, yams, spinach, dandelion greens, other green/orange fruits and veggies;
- 5% eggs, tuna packed in water, well cooked meat.
Remember, we talked about how powerful parakeets eyesight is? Parakeets can see the spectrum colors of living organisms – the heat and energy emissions – where we only see the physical colors. You know when you enter a room and you get a good feeling? A parakeet, in the same room, can see the colors that represent enjoyment. Anyway, the point here is that parakeets can discern the colors of fresh food and the colors of food that’s not fresh or even rotten food. If you try to pass food that’s not fresh by your parakeet, it will not be eaten.
Below is a list of foods that are healthy for parakeets but categorized according to the vitamin benefit. Broccoli, asparagus and spinach are the vegetables that contain the most amount of required vitamins:
Vitamin A Alfalfa, Broccoli, Carrots, Egg Yolks, Spinach, Zucchini
Vitamin B Asparagus, Broccoli, Eggs, Nuts
Vitamin C Asparagus, Broccoli, Potatoes, Zucchini
Vitamin D Egg Yolk and Sunlight
Vitamin E Alfalfa, Egg Yolk, Spinach
Vitamin K Alfalfa, Spinach
Calcium Broccoli, Dandelion, Kale, Mineral Block
Protein Beans, Chicken, Corn, Fish, Turkey
Also make sure that your pet parakeet has plenty of fresh water in its water tray and that you clean and refresh it often. Our parakeet always takes a healthy sip after a meal and it eats 4-8 times a day depending on its activity level. In addition, your parakeet may decide to use its water source as a bath, like ours does, and you don’t want it drinking its bath water. Oftentimes, we’ll even find poop in there because it likes to rest on the cage’s roof right above the water tray. Although parakeets will drink from these types of water sources in the wild if they have to, they shouldn’t at home if you want your budgie to live a long and healthy life.
Parakeet Snacks and Treats
A good balanced diet is imperative for optimum health of your pet parakeet. If your parakeet is not receiving all of the vitamins through its routine seed mixes, then consider spicing things up a bit with parakeet snacks and treats. Parakeet snacks and treats not only provide another way to ensure proper nutrient intake, they also present change from a parakeet’s daily routine. Parakeets are like toddlers. They are social, inquisitive and energetic. Introducing new parakeet treats and snacks will help to satisfy these personality traits.
As you can see with the lists above, making sure your parakeet has all the nutrients it needs seems like a full-time job. Well, relax. Lots of bird seeds for parakeets have fruits and vegetables in them which provide some of the necessary vitamins. On the other hand, you must be smart as to how you introduce fresh parakeet vegetable snacks into your birds diet. A great first vegetable bird treat to introduce to your parakeet is lettuce. It is crisp so will withstand tugging and nibbling. It’s not highly nutritious for humans or birds but it is mostly water which is an important dietary supplement. Another benefit to introducing lettuce as a vegetable snack is its green color which will serve you well as you introduce other green leafy vegetable treats to your parakeet bird.
When training your parakeet to eat lettuce or any other green leafy vegetable for the first time, introduce it slowly. Perch the parakeet on your hand or arm and have it watch you nibble at and eat the lettuce. There is no need to try to get your parakeet to eat the lettuce then and there. Keep repeating your lettuce eating regimen for a couple of days and the piqued interest and trust will get your parakeet eating this healthy bird treat. Shoving a new item toward it will scare it and resistance for anything new will just increase.
Other great parakeet snacks and treats are celery, peas and broccoli. These are great bird treats for parakeets because they represent a diversion from the routine nut mixes they eat 4-8 times a day. Second, they introduce fresh vegetables and nutrients. Celery leaves are similar to lettuce leaves so there shouldn’t be a problem gaining approval from your parakeet for this snack. Continue to be patient, though. Peas are not leafy but they are round and they roll, similar to the plastic toys in it cage. Broccoli is a convenient and healthy bird treat. Simply trim the stock of one broccoli floret so that it fits nicely into the wire rung of the bird cage next to its food tray. Make sure the broccoli is fresh. If the parakeet doesn’t eat it the first day, get rid of it and substitute it with another fresh broccoli floret because the parakeet can see and will avoid food that is not fresh. The little broccoli floret’s will be of prime interest because the heads contain smaller broccoli that have the same size and shape as seeds.
We could not complete our section on Parakeet Snacks and Treats without mention of Millet. Millet is really just the same old grain seed that the parakeet normally eats but it is dried right onto the seed stalk. Millet is nutritious and contains calcium and can be hung from any nook or cranny in the cage.
The health of a parakeet is the sole responsibility of the pet owner. We must ensure that our parakeets are groomed, housed, safe and fed nutritiously. Parakeets, like most animals, are not meant to be caged, trapped or limited. They are native to the Australian grasslands where they fly high in large numbered flocks surveying the grassland below for seeds, fruits and vegetables. They live in eucalyptus trees in hollowed out holes that give them safety, comfort and weather relief.
Since we assume ownership of a pet parakeet and responsibility for removing it from its natural habitat, we must protect their health like we would guard the health of a toddler. They are inquisitive and intelligent but not instinctively quick adopters outside of their native environment. They will nibble on anything: clothes, hair, furniture, toys, etc. so it is up to us to ensure that their nibbling does not cause them danger or physical harm.
Pesticides are harmful and dangerous to a parakeet’s health. Remove the parakeet from the household areas affected by pesticides and keep them away until all pesticide residues are cleaned and wiped away. Pesticides will cause sickness and early death to a parakeet.
Sharp, Pointed Household Items
Protect your pet parakeet from injury by parakeet-proofing your house as you would baby-proof it for a 3 year old toddler.
Soon after you buy your parakeet, we recommend taking it to an avian veterinarian for a baseline medical checkup. After that initial checkup, keep an eye on the habits and poop of your parakeet for warning signs of health problems:
- rushed, abbreviated or interrupted breathing;
- poop that is consistently runny (note: vegetables will also cause a runny poop);
- tattered feathers despite the parakeets best attempt to groom them;
- fickle sleeping patterns, i.e., compare to normal sleeping behaviors like one foot up or two feet down, head tucked under wing, head crouched, body resting on both feet, etc.;
- daily behavioral changes – has your parakeet stopped playing with its toys, has it stopped nibbling, does it have trouble elevating, does it not perch in areas of the house where it used to, is it eating less frequently, does it have black spiky head feathers when it’s not in its molting season?;
- parakeets are prone to tumors in later stages of life – around 7 years of age – so just be aware that lumps or bumps could appear; also, look for abnormal discharges from the nostrils or beak.