CONVERTING YOUR BIRD TO PELLETS
Some birds will switch over to pellets readily within a few days. Others may take 4-6 weeks before conversion is achieved, so it is important to persevere and try a variety of methods.
Do not just mix the seed and pellets together nor try forcing your bird to eat pellets by starving them with only pellets available during conversion.
Remember that a balanced diet is important for your bird. Not only should bird pellets or crumble be available at all times, but ideally each day your bird should also be supplied a selection of fresh vegetables such as spinach, beans, parsley, broccoli, carrots, silverbeet, etc. Grass should be provided daily for all non-fruit-eating parrots. Other foods you can serve include pasta, rice, toast, eggs, mashed potato, chicken bones and other meats.
To begin the process remove all food at 6 pm and ensure the cage is clean of any scraps, including grit, so that just water is available overnight.
The next morning, depending on the type of bird, continue the process using one of the following methods:
- friendly, household bird – Take the bird out of its cage and play with the pellets yourself on the table or floor. Pretend to eat them, crush them and move them around in front of the bird for 5-10 minutes. If the bird begins to pick them up and is seen to crush and eat them then conversion is complete. If the bird does not begin to eat the pellets during this time then remove the pellets and 1/2 hour later offer seed again.
- nonfriendly bird – indicate to the bird that it is feeding time either by ringing a bell or using a call (such as "foodtime") and place seed back in with the bird for 1 hour – repeat this again in the evening. Continue this process for 1 week. After 1 week replace the seed in the food container with pellets – if the bird begins to pick them up and is seen to crush and eat them then conversion is complete. If the bird does not begin to eat after 1 hour then remove the pellets and after 1/2 hour offer seed again.
Try for a few days – if you have no success, try again in a week's time.
- When attempting to convert larger birds, gradually decrease the amount of sunflower seeds offered throughout the preceding week.
- Once your bird is eating pellets, you only need to have the food container 1/3 full and ensure water is plentiful. This allows your bird to crush the pellets and drop them back into the container. Your bird will then eat the crushed pellets.
- After conversion, most birds, particularly the smaller ones such as cockatiels, still need to have small amounts of seed once or twice a week.
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