FEEDING AUSTRALIAN BIRDS NATURAL FOODS
1. Why should I feed my bird wild plants or 'bush tucker'?
Birds have been foraging for food for millions of years without eating farmed seed or human foods. In the Australian bush our birds such as budgies, cockatiels and cockatoos eat foods found there. They are healthy and happy and do not get obese, do not have dry skin or other diet-related problems that occur in pet birds on poor diets.
2. What things make up the diet of wild birds?Natural foods are available seasonally. They include insects (including grubs and woodboring larvae), tree leaves and blossoms, nectar, pollen, wild fruits in season, grass roots, wild grasses and their seeds. Birds eat a wide variety of substances in the wild – some species of birds eat clay on river beds for minerals or for use as a natural purgative. The complete wild diet of many of our birds is still unknown.
3. Where can I find my bird these natural foods?
There are many Australian plants and blossoms growing in suburban gardens and used by local councils in the streets. Local councils often have tree lopping days when they cut branches from trees and shrubs that are encroaching on powerlines and cables. This is the time to refresh branches in your bird's cage and to get those hard to get at blossoms on the tops of the trees. Make sure that the trees are Australian and be careful not to harvest trees and blossoms near a main road as they may be contaminated with oils and minerals from petrol and diesel fumes.
4. What can I grow in my backyard?
You can grow Australian plants in your garden and harvest the blossoms at any time of the year. Acacias (wattles) grow flowers in the winter and grevilleas grow flowers the whole year round.
5. How do I convert my bird to a broader diet that includes bush tucker?
Converting seed eating birds to a broad diet is not always easy. Birds raised by people don't recognise natural wild foods as food. It may take days, weeks or months to modify your bird’s diet. Treat your bird like a small child – offer a large variety of bush tucker items and never stop trying. You can also pretend to eat the foods with your bird to encourage them.
6. What plants and blossoms should I feed my bird?
Banksia, eucalyptus, acacia, grevilleas, mallees, casuarina, malaleuca and hakia are all groups of plants your bird will enjoy. In fact, you can give your bird a huge variety of Australian plants and blossoms. Most parrots and especially the Cockatoo species such as sulfur-crested cockatoos and galahs love to graze grass particularly young fresh grass roots. Pull up some fresh grass each day for them to enjoy.
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