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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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  #1  
Old 08-17-2015, 08:19 PM
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Default Still struggling with Pellets

I'm still struggling to get my bird to eat pellets, everything was going great earlier on in the week. I switched her seed mix, as I noticed it contained honey and I thought that might have been contributing to her stubbornness to switch to Harrison's. I was slowly increasing pellets, decreasing seed, and after two days of actually eating the pellets, it was like she became frantic; she started eating hulls, I thought maybe I'd been decreasing the seed to quickly so I gave her a few more, but as I was giving them to her she bit me, hard. Now she wont even look at the pellets. I've been keeping a close eye on her weight and she's actually putting on weight (from 33 to 35g) so I'm not sure what's going on with her.

I think it's worth mentioning I've been trying to get her to eat pellets for over 9 months, crushing them, giving different sizes, etc. I'd tried adding them to water and mixing them into a paste just before she became ill a few weeks ago. The vet thought she became ill from a vitamin deficiency so I'm getting really desperate to get her to convert.

I spoke to a friend about my struggle and she suggested trying her with ZuPreem Fruit Blend, as that's what her birds eat. My concern is that it contains sugar and colouring, and even the natural blend contains sugar.

So my question is would it be worth trying her with ZuPreem (either fruit or natural) and then converting her onto Harrison's? Has anyone else tried that, and had success? Am I better off feeding her ZuPreem even if it does contain sugar?

Thank you in advance.

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Old 08-17-2015, 09:03 PM
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I've never heard anything but good about zupreem fruit blend. We have numerous member's here who use it regularly. I used nutriberries to convert my tiel to pellet's in pretty rapid fashion. You will win, just keep trying...
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:48 PM
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I agree with Randy

Also, ZuPreem is a very good brand, and even though the FruitBlend has sugar and colour, it's a very tasty pellet for budgies and many "seed addicts" wean onto these quite easily. Another thing is that the pellets come in size "XS" (canary size) so they are more the size of seeds.

My little girl has ZuPreem pellets and she adjusted really well throughout the transition.
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Old 08-17-2015, 11:03 PM
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Don't get disheartened, budgies need a diet that is balanced, seed, pellets, have you tried crumbles? As long as she is eating a varied diet she will be fine .I use the small pellets mixed in with crumbles and seed. My guys also get egg and biscuit mix especially when moulting. They also love their greens I chop up a variety and mix it with grass and thistles from out side they love throwing it around and nibbling away. Keep trying it takes time and patience.
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Old 08-17-2015, 11:29 PM
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Thank you for the replies, and I haven't tried crumbles, is that a brand?
She's really good trying new food, but that's it, she'll try it once and then turn her nose up at it, or she'll play with it and not actually eat any. I tried her with egg but as with everything else she only ate it once, when she's moulting she'll eat a couple of mouthfuls of Shaws' egg biscuits. I just want her to be healthy and she's fighting me on every aspect, she's unbelievably stubborn!
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Old 08-17-2015, 11:39 PM
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Personally, I would stick to using a more natural pellet with no dyes and just keep working with her on it, even if it takes a bit longer

I have read so many (mostly newer in the stream of things) studies about the detrimental effects, both mental and physical, regarding the excessive artificial dyes in pellets and other processed foods These studies caused me to completely switch my pellet brands and preferences drastically, and I have noticed nothing but good results in my flock since


If you do not mind my asking in hopes of helping....
When and how are you offering pellets to your little one?
Have you tried any alternative methods to the one you mentioned yet?
How often/regularly do you offer new foods, pellets or otherwise?

I can absolutely promise you that you can convert her to a healthier diet. The only question is whether you will be more stubborn than she is
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Old 08-17-2015, 11:54 PM
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Crumbles are a dry crumbly mixture that are another form of food. I get Passwell's here in Australia. Does she eat any herbs or other greens thyme, basil, sprouts, parsley, broccoli I spinach . kale. Try some of these .
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Old 08-18-2015, 12:02 AM
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If anyone is interested in doing a bit of reading, here is one example of the information I have found regarding the dye in pellets. Harrison's and TOPS are the best brands of pellets I have found available here in the US, and are what I feed my flock personally for that reason. If anyone has a better brand please do let me know!

I hope everyone does not take this post as if I am trying to contradict/come down on anybody... I fed colored pellets to my flock for a number of years so rest assured, I can understand the initial appeal of them

Upon doing additional research however I learned some very interesting things that gave me food for thought, and that is all I would like to do for other members here as well. We all need to make the best decisions for our own flock, and I like to share what I have learned in hopes of helping others whenever I can

There are so many excellent points brought up in this article if you have a chance to read it through, but I have underlined a specific paragraph or two that touches on the subject of pellets and dyes below

Where this information is taken from if you would like more information/a reference: HolisticBird and HolisticBirds
Quote:
Dyes and Preservatives in Pellets

I would like to discuss the issue of pellets first. As I indicated, the pellets that seem most often implicated in feather picking cases are those that are the more heavily processed, extruded, varieties that also contain specific preservatives, in addition to chemical dyes. The two brands that crop up most often among the diets of my clientele are Pretty Bird (colored) and Zupreem Fruit Blend, with Kaytee Exact Rainbow running a close third. A fourth pellet that crops up more frequently than might be expected in cases of feather picking is Lake’s.

An examination of the preservatives used in each pellet reveals that Pretty Bird and Lake’s pellets are both preserved with BHT. Zupreem is preserved with Vitamin E, while Kaytee Exact Rainbow is preserved with Ethoxyquin. The fact that Lake’s, which is un-dyed, has been implicated in cases of feather abuse, would appear to point to the presence of BHT as a risk factor. It is possible that this is why Pretty Bird pellets seem to be implicated more often than any other brand in feather abuse, as Ms. Briscoe concluded. The fact that it is both Pretty Bird and Zupreem Fruit Blend, which is only preserved with vitamin E, that are often also eaten in large amounts by feather picking birds would seem to suggest that perhaps the presence of certain food dyes are problematic for parrots, as well. These two brands contain, by far, the greatest amount of synthetic food dye.

It is not difficult to find numerous well-documented references to the adverse effects certain food dyes and preservatives can have on human health. As troubling as these are, even more alarming is the fact that, according to the “Summary of Color Additives Listed for Use in the United States” published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November of 2000, certain color additives (astaxanthin, ultramarine blue, canthaxanthin, synthetic iron oxide) are approved for use in pet food, but not human food. However, little information is to be found regarding any health impact these might have, since they are not found in human food. However, among sources that provide information regarding food dyes regularly included in human foods, certain information appears consistently.

According to the Canadian Scholar’s Press Inc. (CSPI), the most widely used food dyes are Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6. Red 40 is perhaps the most widely tested food dye. The FDA review committee acknowledged problems with flawed testing of this coloring, but said that the evidence of harm was not “substantial” enough to without approval of its use. Yellow 5 is widely used in pet food and is known to cause mild allergic reactions in some individuals. CSPI had the following to say about Yellow 6: “Industry-sponsored animal tests indicated that this dye, the third most widely used, causes tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney. In addition, small amounts of certain carcinogens contaminate Yellow 6. However, the FDA reviewed those data and found reasons to conclude that Yellow 6 does not pose a significant cancer risk to humans. Yellow 6 may also cause occasional allergic reactions.”

Cochineal or carminic acid is another coloring agent that shows up frequently in both human and pet food, and is used to produce various shades of red, orange, pink, and purple. This red pigment is derived from the crushed female cochineal insect, which is harvested in Central and South America and the Canary Islands. The FDA does not require that it be listed on the labels of food products because it is considered a “natural” additive, since it is an “animal” product.

It too is known to cause allergic reactions, some of them quite severe. A University of Michigan (U-M) news release dated 11/3/97 described the work of U-M allergist James. L. Baldwin, M.D. Dr. Baldwin had been successful in proving that it was cochineal dye in a Popsicle that caused a patient to go into anaphylactic shock. The process by which he showed proof that it was the cochineal dye that caused the reaction was published in the November 97 issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

The Feingold Association of the United States, well known for it’s work in allergies, recommends that people avoid the ingestion of Yellow 5, Yellow 6, cochineal (carminic acid), Red 40 and BHT, in addition to others. The yellow dyes have been heavily implicated in cases of allergies, as well as hyperactivity. If we look at the chemical structure of these widely used food dyes, it is apparent that they are large, organic molecules; large food molecules are often implicated in allergic reactions when insufficient enzyme activity in present.

I discovered a statement published by the CSPI that I believe is pertinent to this discussion. It states: “Most artificial colorings are synthetic chemicals that do not occur in nature. Because colorings are used almost solely in foods of low nutritional value (candy, soda pop, gelatin desserts, etc.) you should simply avoid all artificially colored foods. In addition to the problems mentioned below, colorings cause hyperactivity in some sensitive children. The use of coloring also indicates that fruit or other natural ingredient has not been used.” The information available in regards to the adverse impact of synthetic food dyes on human health is persuasive enough that it is not difficult to see how a parrot, whose physiology has not evolved to be able to deal with synthetic chemicals, could have problems when consuming them in quantity. However, this paragraph brings up another problem associated with these popular brand name pellets that could also be implicated in feather picking.

All three pellet brands mentioned above that are chemically dyed are also extruded pellets, as opposed to compressed pellets. Extruded pellets are made from a mash of ingredients heated to a high temperature. This mixture is then pushed by steam through a machine that presses it into shapes. The high temperatures necessary for the extrusion process are known to destroy enzymes, essential fatty acids (EFAs), probiotics, and vitamins.
Compressed (or cold-pressed) pellets are made with less heat. They look coarser in appearance. This type of manufacturing removes fewer of these valuable natural ingredients. These pellets also do not usually include synthetic food dyes, although some do contain artificial preservatives.

If we evaluate the live, raw foods eaten by parrots in the wild, we see that they contain abundant essential fatty acids and enzymes. An examination of the role each of these plays in good health will enable us to see more clearly why the consumption of extruded diets as a primary form of nutrition would be problematic to parrots.
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Old 08-18-2015, 12:05 AM
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I'm going through pretty much the same thing you are with my young budgie, although it's only been about three months. I've given up on Harrison's. She just won't eat it. I did buy a small bag of Roudybush crumbles, which is the same thing as pellets just in a smaller form, and she seems more inclined to eat them. I think because it looks more like seed to her. I've also been sprouting her seed mix and she loves that. I'm hoping she'll come around to the pellets, but you do sometimes wonder if your causing more
harm than good.
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Old 08-18-2015, 12:48 AM
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I had read a summary of that article on another bird forum which is why I was initially concerned.

Anyway to answer your questions the current routine is; in the morning I give her a few about five minutes before I give her seed in this little bathtub with a mirror in the bottom. In her seed dish I mix in a little, I also sprinkle on a little Kaytee Bird Greens, which she doesn't eat but I thought might encourage her to eat the pellets because they're easier to get to. I sprinkle a few pellets on the bottom of her cage around lunch time, and in the evening I have a shoe box that I put some seed/pellets in, with some card, cut up kitchen roll, and a piece of leather, which she really seems to enjoy playing/foraging in.

As for methods, I've tried crushing it and sprinkling it on other food, hand feeding it, I've tried making it easier, and harder to get to that her other food, placing it on a mirror, I've put it on a plate and pretended to eat it, and I've tried all of the above in different rooms. Sometimes she might eat one or two pieces but most of the times she spits it out, or ignores it.

It's usually once or twice every month that I'll introduce her to something new, this month it's been a lot more, she had the Kaylee Greens, mango, dried banana (didn't eat) and apricot, and I converted her onto the new seed mix (she went from 'Vitakraft Menu' to 'Vitakraft VitaNature').

I always offer broccoli, and carrot which she wont even look at if I cut it up or grate it, occasionally offer other veggies, and I recently started giving her sunshine factor which the vet suggested I put her on.
I was growing her some dandelion, and a few seeds from her food mix but I haven't actually had a chance to feed her any of that yet because of a snail problem, I'm going to try growing some inside. I'm always eating fresh chive, so I offer that regularly but she always gives me what I think are tiny birdy dirty looks.

Oh, and one thing she does enjoy are insects, we had a fruit fly problem earlier on in the year and she was in her element. She attempted to eat a moth 1/4th her size a few days ago.
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