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Go Back   Talk Budgies Forums > Budgie Talk > Your Budgie's Health > Diet and Nutrition


Diet and Nutrition Discuss issues related to diet and learn about encouraging your budgie to a variety of healthy foods

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Old 01-22-2015, 12:37 PM
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Default Seed Versus Pellets?

I have read a lot of conflicting information in regards to pellets and seeds - currently i have my 6 month old female on a mix of seeds, a bit of millet, and fresh veg (lettuce, apple, occasionally the odd grape etc.) and she has a mineral chew and cuttle bone, along with tiny bit but I've read from many sources that pellets are vital to a healthy diet. As a relatively new owner, I would like to know a little more about what other budgie owners consider to be the best if the two.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 01-22-2015, 01:36 PM
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Smile Seed

Please read posts today and see the stickys and diet and nutritiion area here on TB. In brief most seeds are not bad but do not contain a complete nutrient source for budgies. Adding a variety of fresh/dry fruit and veggie/egg food/ nutrients found in pellets and similar grains feed to live stock , and seeds make up a balanced diet. Discernment and research will provide you with the best diet for your budgies. TB has a gold mine full of experience and food types to choose from. Best wishes, Jo Ann
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:52 PM
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Hi Mysti! I don't think it's as simple as seeds v. pellets, although I guess some of the writing on the topic makes it sound that way. It used to be that vets and other bird experts thought a 100% seed diet was the way to feed pet budgies. But then the tide turned when the majority of experts saw trends in the health of pet budgies suggesting that an all seed diet lacked important nutrients and led to health problems that caused birds to sicken and to die prematurely (after a handful of years instead of a more natural lifespan).

Some people do advocate for pellets as the "absolute best diet" for budgies (not least pellet manufacturers! I always laugh when I see an article quoting someone from Roudybush on why pellets are the best diet). From what I've seen and heard, the most common perspective/recommendation is a base diet of pellets mixed with seeds, supplemented with fresh foods like eggs, fruits, veggies, and grains. Seeds are known not to contain all the necessary nutrients, like I said, and pellets are nice because they are designed to be a more nutritionally balanced diet. It can be difficult to manage a bird's diet to get them everything they need from individual foods (especially because it can take a long time to get a budgie to accept a new food), and I think the pellets provide a bit of a safety net, so you know you aren't going to accidentally overlook one of the vitamins or minerals they need.

However, veteran budgie keepers all seem to agree that including fresh foods (and seeds!) is the best course to keep budgies healthy and well-fed. I don't think I've seen anyone ever say "don't give seed," just "don't give ONLY seed." And pretty much everyone recommends keeping cuttlebone and a mineral block on offer.

Like Jo Ann said, take a look around all the stickies on the boards, there's a lot of good advice, as well as tips on getting birds to try new kinds of food.
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Old 01-22-2015, 03:56 PM
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I agree with what has been said above. I will just point out that all the blurb out there about pellets usually comes from pellet manufacturers or people selling them that make a much bigger profit from them than they do from seeds. My seed supplier is also a close personal friend and I know that the profit margin from the seed he sells is very small, it cannot be marked up to a better profit as people would just not buy it. But people seem to think that paying exorbitant prices for pellets is quite acceptable possibly because it is manufactured and it must be more expensive to manufacture it. This is not necessarily the case as often cheap fillers are used in the manufacture which cost next to nothing.

Personally I would only use pellets as a supplement or a treat and not a large part of the diet. Pellets, because they contain added vitamins and minerals when giving certain medications are not good as particularly with calcium it can prevent the uptake of some antibiotics. So if the bird is on pellets and is required to be treated with antibiotics you could have a problem because of the calcium in the pellets. Birds are no different to humans in this regard. Certain drugs can be adversely affected with certain foods, like eating grapefruit if you are on statins to reduce cholesterol.

A good seed based diet with the addition of fruit and vegetables (remembering that even with birds some vegetables will prevent the uptake of some vitamins and minerals, eg spinach can prevent the uptake of calcium and should be given in moderation especially with hens that are laying eggs and feeding babies) and maybe some pellets as a supplement. But you can get just as good a result from giving egg and biscuit, especially if you make it yourself as many egg and biscuit mixes actually don't contain any egg or biscuit but are only custard powder and breadcrumbs, if it smells like Vanilla it is most likely custard powder. You can very hard boil an egg and mix it with crushed cookies like Graham Crackers or here in Australia Milk Arrowroot Biscuits or Nice Biscuits (you can google them to get the equivalent in your country). Refrigerate after making and give small amounts daily.
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Old 01-24-2015, 06:53 AM
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Thanks everyone - that makes a lot of sense! Here in the UK, getting hold of pellets for budgies is strangely difficult - most big chains seem not to stock them. I think I'll try the biscuit and egg idea!
My only question about that is that it seems a little unnatural to feed a bird eggs, and surely it is a misdistribution of energy in the food chain?
Anyway, thank you very much for giving me some pointers!
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Old 01-24-2015, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Mysti View Post
Thanks everyone - that makes a lot of sense! Here in the UK, getting hold of pellets for budgies is strangely difficult - most big chains seem not to stock them. I think I'll try the biscuit and egg idea!
My only question about that is that it seems a little unnatural to feed a bird eggs, and surely it is a misdistribution of energy in the food chain?
Anyway, thank you very much for giving me some pointers!
I think it's weird to feed birds hard boiled egg, too.. I know it's protein, but it seems, like you say, an error in the food chain somehow. I'm sure there is an explanation, but I don't know what it is!
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Old 01-24-2015, 04:44 PM
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It's not as weird as it sounds. After all what does the baby bird eat when it is still in the shell. Like all eggs there is the yolk and the albumen and that is what they absorb into their system while in the egg. The yolk sac is usually not fully absorbed until 1 or 2 days after hatching.

Even though in the wild budgies are mainly a seed eating bird they do eat insects, flowers to get the pollen and nectar and also meat. Budgies have been seen eating road kill in the wild. Especially when breeding budgies will eat this kind of thing to increase their protein intake when feeding young.
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Old 01-24-2015, 06:53 PM
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Smile Seed

Here in the US Lady gouldian finch has the equivalent protein food for birds that doe not contain eggs. Also a lot more foods and electrolytes are deleting sugar from their formulas. I do not see pellets as bad, but expensive, and a bit deceptive to be thinking that good natural food sources can be a good diet.
I make myself remember that pellets are grains and nutrients in a compressed form. The form does not some how make the pellet the best food source. Blessings, Jo Ann
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Old 01-24-2015, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kate C View Post
It's not as weird as it sounds. After all what does the baby bird eat when it is still in the shell. Like all eggs there is the yolk and the albumen and that is what they absorb into their system while in the egg. The yolk sac is usually not fully absorbed until 1 or 2 days after hatching.

Even though in the wild budgies are mainly a seed eating bird they do eat insects, flowers to get the pollen and nectar and also meat. Budgies have been seen eating road kill in the wild. Especially when breeding budgies will eat this kind of thing to increase their protein intake when feeding young.
THANKS!! When thus explained, it now makes sense. Appreciate the explanation...
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Old 01-24-2015, 11:55 PM
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When we classify animals as a particular type, e.g. Herbivore, Carnivore, Granivore it means that the majority of their diet is made up of these things, it does not mean they do not eat other things as well. I laugh when I watch my parrots catching insects. And if you look at a carnivore and their diet in the wild, when they make a kill one of the first parts of the animal they eat is the stomach and their prey are mainly herbivores or plant eaters. So they are getting their vegetables as well. Basically the same as your dog or cat eating grass, they eat different types of grasses for different reasons.
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