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Dickinson Animal Hospital

Eat Like a Bird: Avian Health and Bird Nutrition

Birds sitting in cage

Wild birds have endless opportunities to forage for seeds, fruits, insects, grasses, nuts, flowers, and more. Seasonal changes provide variety, and their nutritional instincts help them stay healthy and happy. 

Pet birds, on the other wing, have fewer options. So providing excellent, balanced bird nutrition is part of the multi-pronged approach to avian health, and it’s a fun way to bond with your bird.

The Importance of Vittles

Balanced bird nutrition is essential to optimal health. A complete diet supports overall immunity and can help prevent the development of various infections. Plus, when a bird enjoys what they eat they are happier and better adjusted to their lifestyle. 

Without superior breed-specific whole foods, a pet bird may suffer from a lower life expectancy and a diminished quality of life.

Beyond Pellets

To mimic a bird’s diet in the wild, owners should offer a diversified menu. You may never fully achieve the same level of variety they find in the wild, but you can certainly provide your pet bird with different items every day. This not only helps them meet nutritional standards but stimulates their mental and physical health, too. They enjoy foraging for food and employing specialized skills to locate and process delicious treats (like open nuts or seed pods with their beak).

Building Blocks

In addition to an endless supply of clean, fresh water, ideal bird nutrition can include:

  • Seeds

  • Nuts

  • Barks

  • Grains

  • Fruits

  • Berries

  • Edible flowers

  • Nectar

  • Pollen

  • Insects

We’ll discuss the importance of maintaining a healthy weight at your pet bird’s routine wellness exams. If they receive energy-dense food regularly without the opportunity to fly and forage, a pet bird may pick up unnecessary ounces. You can hide or hang food for them to look for or work on.

All the Pretty Colors

The following tasty fruits and vegetables boost bird nutrition:

  • Apples

  • Bananas

  • Oranges

  • Melons

  • Pineapples

  • Berries

  • Carrots

  • Leafy greens

  • Asparagus

  • Cooked green beans

  • Broccoli

  • Cauliflower

  • Peppers

  • Sprouts

  • Yams

  • Peas

  • Celery

Day to Day Bird Nutrition

Bird nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Each bird has unique tastes and preferences that are specific to their breed and their mood. As it is with people, pet birds value different flavors of different days. Get creative on how the food appears by chopping, grinding, grating, or mashing ingredients. 

During some developmental milestones or seasonal changes, your pet bird might need specific supplements or vitamins to aid in molting, weaning, and more. Whether it’s from a move, a change in roommate, illness, or injury, a stressed bird can benefit from supplementation, and we’re happy to help direct you to the best ones based on your bird’s needs. 

Remember, a healthy bird has beautiful, full feathers and a robust appetite. If you notice any changes in your bird’s behavior or appearance, please call us at (281) 337-4535 right away. Our veterinarians and staff members are always here for you at Dickinson Animal Hospital & Pet Wellness Center.