Nutrition

-L'oiseau trouvé a faim, il a un comportement bizarre ou il vous semble malade. Bref, vous avez des doutes ou certains questionnements sur un oiseau trouvé ou le vôtre. Vous trouverez ici de l'information pertinente pour vous aider. Vous pouvez aussi y déposer de l'information ou y poser vos questions.
-The bird you found seems hungry, he has a weird behavior or seems sick. You have some doubts or questions about a found bird or about your own. Here you will find relevant information to help you. You can also submit information or ask questions.
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Jojo
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Nutrition

Messagepar Jojo » Mer Juil 24, 2013 10:54 pm

Nutrition
Lisa Keelty
Environmental and Wildlife Technician
AFA Certified Aviculturist


Nutrition plays a key role in the long term health of your avian companion therefore is it vital that you take the time to understand and learn about what is nutritionally required for your bird. 30 years ago it was the norm to buy one bag of seed and assume that your entire diet for your pet was complete, much like dog and cat food. This is far from the truth.

Diets can be classified within various categories; Seeds and nuts, fresh foods such as legumes, vegetables, fruits and sprouts, table foods, pellets, treats, proteins, live insects, insect pate and vitamin supplements. A particular species may require 2 of what's listed above, or they may require a certain combination. Like many things, moderation is often a key when controlling diet. Believe it or not obesity is common in pet birds due to poor diet but many owners do not have the skill or knowledge to identify it.

The biggest misconception that many people tend to have is the assumption that their pet knows what it needs to eat to stay healthy. Each species of bird has evolved to survive specifically in it's own ecological niche. Since food availability can vary extensively depending on season, breeding and migration it is naive to assume that your pet who lives a far more sedentary lifestyle will know what it needs to consume to stay in good condition. If this was the case Budgies and Cockatiels wouldn't be so finicky about fresh foods, Cockatoos would only eat a few safflower seeds a day and no parrot would consume sunflower seeds like they were going out of style.

There are many books available in stores that talk in great detail about diet, but below is a general guide to follow when picking the right foods for your bird;

Seeds and Nuts
Commonly used for; Finches, canaries, doves, budgies, parrotlets, cockatiels, lovebirds and some parrots
Vitamin Supplement needed; Yes (unless being used as a treat)
Calcium Supplement needed; Yes (unless being used as a treat)
Fresh foods needed; Yes

Most smaller birds are still kept on base seed diets since these species can be particularly difficult to wean or transition onto formulated diets. Always buy a high quality mix that is specific for your type of bird. Even if the seed is "vitaminized" ie; coated with a vitamin supplement prior to packaging, you will still need to add a supplement. Because the seed is coated with the vitamin and birds husk the seed shells they very rarely obtain anything valuable from that process.

Specific portions in detail can be viewed on individual species pages but a general rule is that seed should account for no more than 60-70% of the diet for finches, canaries, budgies, cockatiels, parrotlets and lovebirds. Medium and larger parrots should not receive more than 40-50% seeds and nuts, the rest should be fresh and cooked foods.
Never over feed sunflower, safflower, peanuts or cashews. They are the oiliest seeds and nuts and should be provided as treats only.

If seeds and nuts are being used as a treat and supplement for a formulated diet it can be given 2-3 times a week mixed with their base food.

Fresh, Sprouted and Cooked Foods
Commonly used for; All birds, however a staple for softbills
All birds benefit from fresh foods and for many it is absolutely necessary. Legumes, vegetables and sprouts can be provided daily, fruits should be slightly limited since they have a high sugar content. Focus on dark green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, parsley (not considered to be dangerous contrary to popular belief) and legumes like beans, chickpeas etc...

These foods should be 30-40% of the daily diet of small birds and 50-60% of the daily intake for any parrot who's base diet is a seed and nut mix. Take care not to leave fresh foods in the cage longer then needed as they spoil quickly.
Never give avocado or rhubarb to birds, it is toxic and consumption may result in death.

Table Foods
Commonly used for; All birds
Table foods can be a healthy treat and part of a regular diet for all birds, but especially parrots and parakeets. The general rule is that if it's good for us, it's good for them too. Pastas, rice, cheese, beans and even some meat are often relished by our feathered companions. Use common sense, provide these foods in limited amounts and never seasoned.

Foods high in salt should be avoided as they may cause liver damage. Avoid giving anything high in lactose since birds lack the bacteria to properly digest it. Never give processed foods.

Pellets / Formulated Diets
Commonly used for; Psittaciformes (parrots and parakeets)
Vitamin Supplement needed; No (unless recommended by a veterinarian)
Calcium Supplement needed; No (unless recommended by a veterinarian)
Fresh foods needed; Yes

Formulated diets are considered to be the closest thing to a complete diet for birds. Although it's not impossible to transition smaller birds such as finches and budgies onto pellets, it is exceedingly difficult and must be done with care. Ideally pellets should not exceed 70% of the daily diet and the rest should be fresh and cooked foods and some seeds and nuts.

When choosing a pellet diet keep in mind that just like seeds quality is not the same from every company, and even some high quality pellets might not be suitable for your bird. Try and find a brand that's not stuffed with added colors and preservatives. You can also consult with your avian veterinarian about which brand would be best for you.

Treats
Treats can be almost anything from a piece of spray millet to a cooked egg. Just as the name states, treats should be used in moderation. Honey sticks and egg biscuits should only be given once or twice a week for about an hour to avoid over consumption. A couple of peanuts might not seem like a lot of food to us, but it's the equivalent of a few chocolate bars to a parrot. Some times its better to keep favourite treats as training tools.

Proteins
Proteins are typically given to birds who are in moult or are breeding. They may include cooked egg or egg pates, oily seeds and occasionally insects. It is important not to provide too much protein as this can lead to obesity.
There has been some practise giving toucans and toucanets mice as a protein supplement but this is not advisable since these birds are prone to Iron Storage Disease.

Live Insects and Insect Pates
Commonly used for; Soft Billed Birds, Waxbills and some Finches
Vitamin Supplement needed; Yes (consult a veterinarian)
Calcium Supplement needed; Yes (consult a veterinarian)
Fresh foods needed; Yes

Live foods are a forgotten important part of the diet of many passeriformes and include mealworms, crickets, wax worms and fruit flies. Soft Billed birds (a generic term used for birds who do not eat seed as a staple) such as White Eyes, Peking Robins and Thrushes absolutely need live insects as part of their daily diet and should be provided with them daily. Numerous finches and waxbills benefit from them as well and most won't breed without access to them. Cordon Bleus, Purple and Common Grenadiers seem particularity sensitive and many do not thrive without live insects
.
Insect pates are a form of mushy brown food that is mixed with bugs and various other food items and are left in the cage as a base diet for soft billed birds. Take care when using them and be sure to change the food daily as it can spoil quickly. Make sure that the food you choose has a low iron content if applicable for the species you have (less then 120ppm) such as Toucans, Peking Robins, White Eyes, Creepers, etc..

Vitamin and Calcium Supplements
Unless your bird eats a formulated diet you absolutely need to add supplements to your birds diet. Supplements are vital for the long term health of your pet and play a major role in all bodily functions such as digestion, growth, reproduction etc... Take note that not all supplements on the market are appropriate for all birds, consult with your veterinarian to pick the right one for your pet.

Vitamin supplements are added onto fresh or cooked foods now instead of water (adding vitamins into water promoted bacterial growth and the product usually degrades after a few hours). Always follow the instructions on the label and never over dose; many vitamins can cause serious health risks if given in high doses.
Calcium can also be provided in the form of a Cuttle Bone or Oyster shell in the cage.
Jojo
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