Five Methods For Converting Your Bird to a Healthier Diet

For years, companion birds have been fed a diet comprised primarily of seeds. However, research shows a diet with a high percentage of seeds – particularly sunflower seeds, does not provide even the minimum nutrient levels your bird requires. A diet with excessive seeds can also be deficient in calcium and have excess levels of fat that may also lead to obesity and other nutritionally related diseases. Avian nutritionists recommend a diet like ZuPreem® which includes pellets fortified with the essential vitamins and minerals your bird needs every day. If your bird currently eats a high seed diet, you may want to consider switching to a diet that ensures the proper consumption of nutrients and promotes a healthier and longer life for your bird.

Which method is best for you and your bird?

There are many methods for converting your bird to a new diet, and your avian veterinarian can help you decide which method may work best for you and your bird.

1. Interval feeding

For 20-30 minutes three times a day, offer 50% of his original diet along with 50% new diet in the same bowl. The bowl should only be 1/4 full using this method. Remove all uneaten food from the cage after each feeding and check to see how much of the old and the new diet the bird is eating. If the bird is eating some of the new diet, reduce the amount of old diet and increase the amount of the new diet at each feeding until you are feeding only the new diet. This method assures your bird will not starve, but should still be hungry enough to begin experimenting with the new food. This process may take several days or several weeks, depending on your bird.

2.Ten-day gradual method

Over a 10-day period, fill the food dish 1/4 full several times a day maintaining the following proportions of the old and the new diet.

Day           Old Diet       New Diet

Day 1           90%              10%

Day 2           80%              20%

Day 3           70%              30%

Day 4           60%              40%

Day 5           50%              50%

Day 6           40%              60%

Day 7           30%              70%

Day 8           20%              80%

Day 9           10%              90%

Day 10          0%               100%

 

3. Remove old diet until later in the day

Starting at bedtime, remove all his old diet. In the morning, put fresh portions of the new diet in the cup. Leave the new diet in the cage until mid- to late afternoon. Then feed the bird’s previous diet for the rest of the day. Repeat this process for several days or until the bird is consuming the new diet. Then offer only the new diet at all feedings.

4. Back and forth method

Starting at night, remove all food from the cage. In the morning, put the new diet in the food cup. Let the bird experiment with the new food, perhaps sampling one or two nuggets. Then after an hour, remove the nuggets and feed the old diet. Repeat the process throughout the day—new food for an hour, then the old diet. During the next 4-5 days, repeat the process but lengthen the time the new diet is in the cage, before offering the old diet. During the following week, keep extending the time the new diet is in the food cup, until you eliminate the old diet altogether.

5. Total new diet

In the wild, birds often do not have options. They eat seeds one season, fruits the next, consuming what is available. Many authorities believe that some birds are able to make an abrupt transition because they recognize the new unfamiliar shapes as food and adapt relatively easily. Great care should be taken to confirm that your bird is eating enough of the new diet to maintain weight.

6. Food cup placement

Many avian experts recommend placing the new diet in the highest food cup in the cage because birds will generally eat from this location first. Place the new food in this cup and watch his behavior to see if he is interested in the new food.

If you need additional help or want more conversion tips call 1-800-345-4767 to talk to a ZuPreem Customer Care representative.