Parrot Foods, Health/Diet > Food Nutrition

General Diet Questions?

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I'm sorry if there's a thread dedicated solely to this, I've been looking around as I just joined today but have yet to find one.

I'm not sure what to feed my Maximilian as his main diet. I give him fruits and veggies and I do snacks as well, but for the main diet... I really don't know! I know Pionus parrots are more susceptible to being overweight so I want to ensure I'm feeding him well, and to ensure he'll live a long time. I was told that he was fed sprouts before he was brought to the rescue, and he's ten years old, so it must have done well for him!

I keep getting told by my vets I've seen, to do pellets especially because they need better nutrients. However..... I'm really hesitant to use pellets, due to all the chemicals but I figured asking actual pionus parronts what you feed as the diet, would be the best way to get a good answer!

At the moment he's eating what he was given at the rescue, which is a mixture of healthy seeds and nuts as well as dried fruits plus some pellets mixed in along with fresh foods daily.

Thank you!

Julie T:
As far as pellets go, they're not all created equal. One of my birds has been on Harrison's organic pellets for probably around 15 years now, and his bloodwork was always perfect (for years!), despite that he is very picky about eating much else.
I just started trying TOP's pellets. Only one of my birds likes it though. This brand is also organic and it's minimally processed by cold-pressing (not extruded) to keep the nutrients in, not bake them out. Also there are no added vitamins in this brand. It's as close to natural veggies as a pellet gets!

A variety of vegetables, dark greens and orange types are especially nutritious. Fruits are good too, but not as necessary or nutritious as vegetables. Sprouted seeds are also a great source of fresh nutrients. If an older bird is picky about fresh foods, IMO, better to be on a 'high quality' pellet brand rather than mainly seed for the dry foods. I wouldn't include nuts as a 'regular' part of the diet for Pionus like you would for a Macaw. Probably more fat than Pi's need, unless small pieces as treats.

Besides fresh veggies (and fruit if you choose), many people make a mash which includes several cooked grains and legumes. Some people believe in EITHER pellets OR seeds as the dry staple portion of the diet. Some people do both. I personally feed seeds as only a treat.

Basically same dietary requirements as the majority of parrot species, but a particular is that Pionus are sensitive to too much protein. I have to talk with my vet to find out exactly 'how much is too much'.

Hope that helps to get you started  :)

Thank you very much!

The pellets we got aren't good, and I know that, but seeing as my parents are the ones paying for everything right now, I had to go with what they said even though I don't agree with it at all. Though, I've told them this, and I think they understand now. They just want to go with what the vet says, since the 'vet knows best' but I don't think they do in this case, as they aren't an avian vet and I've already found one that will be replacing this one.

So are you suggesting, just to make sure I understand, sprouting as the main source? And adding in veggies and sometimes fruit? I usually do veggies only, but right now since he's molting I've been giving him egg and broccoli to help with adding in some extra protein and calcium.

And what's this mash you mentioned? I've heard of it before, but would love to know more. (:

Thank you very much for the help!

Julie T:
I personally use veggies and pellets as the 'main' diet. Veggies last in the cage for quite a few hours safely I've found, but the part they don't eat does get thrown away in the evening. The pellets are there in the cage all day, so they have a choice. Sometimes they don't feel like eating certain kinds of veggies, while other days they love the same item. About the extra protein while molting, I don't think you need to be real particular about that if he's otherwise getting pretty good nutrition.

The mash, I admit I haven't done it for a long time! You can combine all sorts of ingredients. Get creative! Finely chopped veggies, lentils, quinoa, wheat berries, variety of cooked grains... Etc, etc! You can then put the mixture into ice cube trays for a convenient sized portion. Just thaw and serve :)

I'm glad you have a new avian vet picked out :). What brand of pellets were recommended to you by the current vet?

He isn't getting what he needs right now, which is why I'm giving him the added protein. (:

And all vets, including the one I'm taking him to, all recommend zupreem and all the other brands you can find within the stores. I don't particularly like those, due to the fact that I know they're not organic. It's what we've been using for now, but he's still wanting his food from before as I'm slowly changing it out.

Me too! I used him only once when my cockatiel got sick, and we needed an emergency vet. But, they seem to be the only actual avian vet that is near us. The one I had before, for my cockatiel, was super nice and all, but not perfect with birds. Good for the super basics, but not anything else. The one I found now, is supposed to be really good, but when I took Butters in for his first wellness check (we were slightly late due to Butters putting up a fight to going into his carrier), the vet only looked him over a bit and said he was perfect looking and his weight was great, that he didn't need to do any of the other checks for him because he felt he was really good. The vet seemed like he was in a rush, and I knew that someone told me before he had to leave early that day. He didn't seem incredibly nice either. I was going to just pass it off as a one time thing, especially because the wellness check was free for working with a rescue... But I had some concerns about his droppings and some other things then also read that they need that blood work panel done just to establish your base line, and so I left a message... I was told he'd call back, but no one ever did.

So long story short, even though I gave the long part, I'm switching. It costs a lot more, but at least I know I am getting him the care he needs. (:


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