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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
Thread Description:how much, how often, lifetime or adult?

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  #1  
Old 05-28-2015, 11:41 AM
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Default Harrison's pellets questions

A miracle has happened. I placed a bowl with Harrison's adult lifetime superfine pellets high up in the budgie's cage and just left it there for a few days (along with their regular seed dishes) and my little blue budgie has actually started eating them. I'm not sure about my other budgie as I haven't seen her eat them. I've been trying for almost a year to convert them to pellets. Anyway, I've got a few questions on how best to incorporate pellets into their regular diet:

1. How and how often do you feed pellets? I think, I'll stick to keeping the pellets in a separate bowl so I won't mix seeds with pellets. Also, I don't want to give them exclusively pellets as there doesn't seem to be a clear consensus yet on what is better. I'm planning to get them to eat more and more pellets gradually but I'm not sure what the minimum amount of seeds is that I should provide. I've read somewhere that 80% pellets, 20% seeds is optimal. Is that right? I'd rather err on the side of caution & tradition (i.e. give them more than the minimum amount of seeds recommended & less pellets). I was thinking maybe 60% pellets and 40% seeds?

How could I implement that? I remember vaguely, a member on TB posting that they feed their budgies on a certain number of days in a week, exclusively pellets and exclusively seeds on the other days, which sounds like an easy to implement plan to me (apart from that I'm not sure if my other budgie eats pellets too so till I'm sure I'll have to provide seeds as well at all times). I can't find that post though and I don't remember how many days. And others give their budgies pellets for dinner and seeds at all other times every day. What would you recommend?

2. So far, I've used the adult lifetime superfine pellets rather than the high potency pellets that they recommend for the first 6 months. If I understand correctly, the high potency formula is more nutritious but also higher in fat (??). They also get every day vegetables and egg/boulgur/pasta/sprouted moong once in a while so I was thinking that maybe the adult lifetime option is the safer/more moderate/less fattening one. They aren't breeding and seem fairly healthy. What are the advantages of the high potency option and is it a must to feed that first before switching to adult lifetime? Alternatively, are there any disadvantages to feeding them exclusively the high potency pellets (beyond the first 6 months)? Is it more fattening or are there situations where it's not suitable?

3. I've just bought three 1lb bags of adult lifetime pellets (considerably cheaper than buying just one bag at a time). Apparently they stay fresh for 4-6 weeks in the fridge after opening. How long can I store unopened bags?

4. How often should I change/refresh/replace pellets? Once a day or can they be in their cage for a few days?

5. At the moment they've got several cuttlefish bones, an iodine block and a calcium block in their cage. I read somewhere that you should remove cuttlefish when feeding them pellets. Is that true? I'd really rather not.

6. Is it possible to overfeed pellets (even if they've got vegetables/seeds in their cage every day)? My little one didn't seem to want to leave her pellet bowl at all.

7. Anything else I need to know?

Sorry for all the questions but I'm super excited about the fact that at least one of them has finally taken to eating pellets...


Last edited by Pipsicle; 05-28-2015 at 11:51 AM.
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  #2  
Old 05-28-2015, 12:25 PM
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i use the fruit zupreme pellets, so cant answer all of your questions, but i will try..

1.you should always have pellets available. i always have a separate dish for them and seeds, otherwise, they will just eat the seeds around them. i think for budgies it is ok to have them choose what ratio they want of each. budgies are seed eaters by nature, so i don't think its right to take seed away. some birds just don't like pellets that much, and its not right to force them onto a pellet diet. seeds are a little fatty, but if you want to serve them in a healthier way, you can sprout them. sprouting is healthier because the seed is living and it is more nutritious. you can check out my thread on how to sprout see here:
https://talkbudgies.com/diet-nutritio...t-seed-ii.html

as for larger parrots, is is definitely a good idea to have seed as a smaller part of the diet, or as a treat when they go back in their cage.

2. i am not sure about that one

3. they should last a while, maybe a few months (?). you can always contact Harrisons and ask how long it will stay fresh

4. on a weekly basis i will take out the pellet dished and get any stray seed hulls/poop/toy part matter out of them. then i will sift the pellets with a piece of fine mesh to get any pellet "dust" out (when they eat them, they break them and there is some crumbs at the bottom). i don't have my pellet dished really full, so i don't have a ton of pellets in the open. i fill them when they need some more. since my guys don't eat a lot of pellets, i don't fill it often. the seem to stay fresh and are still crunchy!

5. i have not heard about taking the cuttle bone and/or mineral block out. i have cuttlebones still available to them at all times

6. i am not sure if they can over eat pellets, you'll have to wait for someone else to answer that one
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  #3  
Old 05-28-2015, 12:44 PM
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Smile Harrisons

Well done. That is a big win. Your other budgie will follow the leader shortly.
Freeze the extra pellets the have a longer shelf life in freezer. Keep a working jar and refill this so the pellets are as fresh as possible. The higher fat is for chicks up to a year and parents just prior to during and just after a breeding cycle at both stages higher protein and fat are needed for best nutrition.Use the lifetime during most of adult life or during recovery from illness or need to gain weight.

You can mix in soft /egg food or mix with seeds and use a gravity feeder that we change once a week. shallow amount alone or mixed with seeds in a feed dish. the reason for shallow level of seed is the hulls will cover the seed and the bird will not get to the seed and may starve if someone does not check daily. Budgies eat off of the surface of the seed. so deep is not helpful. We check our gravity everyday or two to be sure fresh seed is in the tray.

Usually adult birds will kick out the hulls but it is always to good to check just as we also check water spouts and lixit bottles to be sure the bead is function properly. We always keep two water sources in case a problem develops in a water/feeder. We also keep treat dishes with all sorts of treats for the budgies to forage like garden salad with dry alfalfa, a few of those tasty oil seeds and dry egg food sprinkled across. Multiple stations keep down fussing or preventing a budgie from eating. Some times a light bird in the aviary is not sick but has been blocked from the food dish. So before I jump to conclusion the bird is sick. and give it a few days to rest and eat free of stress checking weight daily to see how it varies.

We like to give our budgies some choice and so we offer pellets and seed together. We have a large flock so we are not able to monitor each budgie
closely unless it is found to be ill. Our guys follow the flock leader so we watch the flock leaders to judge if we need to adjust the food/ water portions

. We always check daily for budgies not acting normally and bring them in for closer observation before we go to the vet. We practice mini vet check several times a year where we check all areas of the Budgie, clip nails or beak, or pull a broken feather, or find a lump. They are either taken to vet or released to the aviary with a good health check. Do Keep a weight record and any other info for vet visits. The weight plus the droppings will usually indicate overall health. Abnormal respiratory or vomiting is an immediate trip to a vet. Blood, bruising, limp or wing held abnormally need to be checked. abnormal fluff/sleep not chirping/playing as well. So appearance and behavior lets you know how well the food is doing to keep birds healthy.
We supplement with Electrolyte/probiotics/ Natural cyder vinegar / vitamins like vetafarm Soluvite D or Prime. Your vet can give you specific guidance
on diet for your budgies based on his health exam. Others should have ideas to share with you. Best wishes, Jo Ann
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Old 05-29-2015, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovepets View Post
i use the fruit zupreme pellets, so cant answer all of your questions, but i will try..

1.you should always have pellets available. i always have a separate dish for them and seeds, otherwise, they will just eat the seeds around them. i think for budgies it is ok to have them choose what ratio they want of each. budgies are seed eaters by nature, so i don't think its right to take seed away. some birds just don't like pellets that much, and its not right to force them onto a pellet diet.

3. they should last a while, maybe a few months (?). you can always contact Harrisons and ask how long it will stay fresh
Thanks so much for your reply. I agree that having them in a separate dish somehow makes them more likely to eat the pellets. I'm not planning to completely stop feeding them seeds but I was thinking more of a 60/40 split (i.e. 60% seeds, 40% pellets) but if you think it's better to let them choose then I'll just keep both seeds and pellets in their cage at all times. I've put the pellet dish high up (next to their favourite perches) so maybe that will entice them to go for the pellets as well.

Good idea about calling Harrison's. If the packets don't have an expiry date on them, I'll do that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo Ann View Post
Well done. That is a big win. Your other budgie will follow the leader shortly.
Freeze the extra pellets the have a longer shelf life in freezer. Keep a working jar and refill this so the pellets are as fresh as possible. The higher fat is for chicks up to a year and parents just prior to during and just after a breeding cycle at both stages higher protein and fat are needed for best nutrition.Use the lifetime during most of adult life or during recovery from illness or need to gain weight.
Thanks for the advice. So it's fine then to just use the adult lifetime pellets even in the first 6 months. I've never heard of a gravity feeder but I will look into that.

Quote:
Usually adult birds will kick out the hulls but it is always to good to check just as we also check water spouts and lixit bottles to be sure the bead is function properly. We always keep two water sources in case a problem develops in a water/feeder. We also keep treat dishes with all sorts of treats for the budgies to forage like garden salad with dry alfalfa, a few of those tasty oil seeds and dry egg food sprinkled across. Multiple stations keep down fussing or preventing a budgie from eating. Some times a light bird in the aviary is not sick but has been blocked from the food dish. So before I jump to conclusion the bird is sick. and give it a few days to rest and eat free of stress checking weight daily to see how it varies.
I check their dishes every day and remove the hulls. Some people seem to recommend blowing off the top layer with hulls but I'm a bit worried about contaminating their seeds with saliva so I just pour out the top layers, which removes both hulls and seeds but that can't be helped, I guess.

I've got two identical seed and two water dishes (one for each budgie) and place several dishes with veggies and other stuff higher up in the cage. Funnily enough even though they've got two seed dishes they still seem to want to eat from exactly the same dish that the other budgie is eating at that moment...

Quote:
We like to give our budgies some choice and so we offer pellets and seed together. We have a large flock so we are not able to monitor each budgie
closely unless it is found to be ill. Our guys follow the flock leader so we watch the flock leaders to judge if we need to adjust the food/ water portions
How do you know who the flock leader is? I assumed that my older budgie would take on the dominant role but the younger one seems to be asserting herself more and more while the older one is becoming more mellow. It is the younger one though who is much more adventurous and brave enough to try new food. She seems to like everything. It takes my older budgie quite a long time to follow her lead but eventually she does. That's how she started eating veggies finally though nearly not as much as the younger budgie. I'm hoping that soon she will learn from the younger one to eat pellets as well.

Quote:
. We always check daily for budgies not acting normally and bring them in for closer observation before we go to the vet. We practice mini vet check several times a year where we check all areas of the Budgie, clip nails or beak, or pull a broken feather, or find a lump. They are either taken to vet or released to the aviary with a good health check. Do Keep a weight record and any other info for vet visits. The weight plus the droppings will usually indicate overall health. Abnormal respiratory or vomiting is an immediate trip to a vet. Blood, bruising, limp or wing held abnormally need to be checked. abnormal fluff/sleep not chirping/playing as well. So appearance and behavior lets you know how well the food is doing to keep birds healthy.
We supplement with Electrolyte/probiotics/ Natural cyder vinegar / vitamins like vetafarm Soluvite D or Prime. Your vet can give you specific guidance
on diet for your budgies based on his health exam. Others should have ideas to share with you. Best wishes, Jo Ann
I haven't found a regular avian vet yet. I took my younger budgie for a general health check-up to a regular vet who was supposed to have lots of experience with birds but she seemed to have less knowledge than even me. I hope I'll find a good avian vet soon. They both really need their toe nails clipped, I think. I guess, the regular vet could do that as well but I'd like to have a full health check up for my older budgie as well even though they both seem healthy and fine at the moment.

I've bought apple cider vinegar but I'm not sure how much to give the budgies. In how much water do you dilute it? I think, I read on here to give it to them once a week. I couldn't find any cider vinegar with the mother in it so I got one without but the shop assistant claimed that it doesn't really make a difference.

Regarding vitamins and other supplements it says on the Harrison's website that if you are feeding Harrison's pellets you shouldn't give your budgies any supplements as the pellets are fortified already but since I'm still going to feed them seeds (ie make seeds available every day) should I give them extra vitamins? On another thread in TB I was told to stop giving them a vitamin supplement since they've started eating vegetables now.

What are budgie probiotics and electrolytes?

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Old 05-29-2015, 05:55 PM
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I use Harrisons high potency superfine pellets & high potency mash. I buy the 1-lb bags because they're just easier to store and handle.
I keep them in 2 separate bowls. Do not top off Harrison's -- throw away and give new food every day.
It's expensive food, but I think it's the best. I had two different avian vets recommend Harrisons.
Also, I give them some treats in the late afternoon, early evening, such as a little seed, millet or ground up nuts, Harrisons Power Treats, veggies.
Also, they love Romaine Lettuce which I leave on the bottom of the cage.
I usually buy the food from My SafeBird Store, My BirdSafe Store or Amazon.
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeeter View Post
I use Harrisons high potency superfine pellets & high potency mash. I buy the 1-lb bags because they're just easier to store and handle.
I keep them in 2 separate bowls. Do not top off Harrison's -- throw away and give new food every day.
It's expensive food, but I think it's the best. I had two different avian vets recommend Harrisons.
Also, I give them some treats in the late afternoon, early evening, such as a little seed, millet or ground up nuts, Harrisons Power Treats, veggies.
Also, they love Romaine Lettuce which I leave on the bottom of the cage.
I usually buy the food from My SafeBird Store, My BirdSafe Store or Amazon.
Thanks Skeeter. So you think that the pellets might go off after about a day?

I think, it would actually be easier with the pellets (as compared to seeds) to assess how much they are eating each day and fill up their pellet bowl accordingly so once I know roughly how much they need, I probably won't have to throw away so much.

I bought three 1lb bags, which is substantially cheaper than just buying one 1lb bag and I guess, as long as I don't open the other two bags, they'll remain fairly fresh. Would you recommend keeping the unopened bags in the fridge as well?

They've really taken to the pellets. Suddenly..pretty much out of the blue. I'd almost given up after 6 months but now they both just seem to love them. I'm so, so happy and so incredibly proud of my little gluttons!!!
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:22 AM
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It does make a difference when the ACV is unfiltered (mother). There is nothing beneficial about commercial distilled vinegars except for pickling, cleaning and disinfection ---they have no health value! They do not contain the health values of organic, raw apple cider vinegar with the mother still intact and viable. Distilled white vinegar and cider vinegar sold in supermarkets are considered "dead" vinegars with none of the enzymes and other live factors that make raw, unpasteurized vinegars so valuable. Distilling removes the beneficial "mother" from the vinegar, thereby, destroying the powerful enzymes and life giving minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, natural organic sodium, magnesium, sulphur, iron copper, natural organic fluorine, silicon, trace minerals, pectin and other powerful nutrients. Also destroyed are natural malic and tartaric acids, which are important in fighting body toxins and inhibiting unfriendly bacteria Vinegar: A Natural Approach to Avian Management

Very often sales people in pet stores will answer your questions without the knowledge behind their answers. I suggest you ask them what their resource is for their answers. Once a week is the suggested time frame for giving ACV in a birds water that has no medical condition for treatment.
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:56 AM
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Smile Harrisons

We use ball canning jars with the planit foot . Fill jar, add plastic foot, turn jar upside down and place on floor of cage. We use flat trays to catch seed as birds kick seed out of the planit foot so there is another chance to forage for seed. Periodic changes of the seed in the foot in case too many hulls are covering fresh seed. Your birds will learn to do this as they seek fresh seed. Gravity brings new seed down from the jar into foot. We change every few days as the seed level gets low in the jar. We mix seed and pellets in same jar.
This allows for several days if you need to go out of town, Pellets stay fresh over a few days at least.

You self identified your flock leader by simply watching who takes the lead in daily activity. At any one time members of a flock choose to seek out vitamins /minerals as needed from their foraging environment so we do not worry that we are over feeding. Your birds will seek out what they need as long as the nutrients are generally available in the food dishes. the birds will select as they need it.

Blessings, Jo Ann
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:13 AM
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I thought they were eating the pellets but now I'm not sure anymore.

Every day I am finding a big mess of pellets at the bottom of their cage and around it. I've seen them as well happily sitting on their pellet dish and gleefully, picking out pellets and throwing them out.

I really hope they are eating some of them as well. Is there any way I can teach them or get them to actually eat them? What if they don't know yet that it's food? I give them the pellets in the same dish that I usually serve vegetables in so they know it's a food dish.

How does a budgie know the difference between a toy and food? Maybe they've tried the pellets, realised that they don't taste as good as their seeds or vegetables and decided that they are toys???

Strangely, they also seem to like sitting in their pellet dish. I replaced the pellet dish wish a smaller one (i.e. their vegetable dish) to discourage them from treating it like an arm chair but they still try to squeeze into it. They have never tried sitting in any of their food dishes (not even their larger ones) and they never tried sitting in this dish when it had vegetables in it...
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Old 06-11-2015, 10:26 AM
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I don't think they are actually eating the pellets. They just like to throw them out of their dish. I had two seed dishes at the bottom of the cage and I've filled up one with pellets and they are just ignoring it.

Sigh, any ideas on how to teach them that pellets are food and not toys??
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