Small budgie seems to need more than 2 tsp food a day?
I've owned my budgie pair for 2 years now. The little girl is "bitey" and always seems frustrated - but i've always attributed that to possibly overbreeding by the breeder I bought them from (long story, I didn't know better at the time...) She is quite smaller than the male, Calvin, even though he himself is small compared to other keets I see in the pet stores (I'm NOT comparing them to the English mix keets.)
Anyways, I've been trying to get them used to a new play gym next to their cage, so I put a rather large amount (maybe 2 tsp+) of millet there to entice them. The little girl, Hobbes, anxiously ate it ALL!
Which makes me feel like she's "starving" all day & maybe that's why she seems frustrated! How can such a little bird eat so much?!! I don't believe I'm under feeding them because the Budgie FAQ says 1.5 - 2 tsp (btw- your FAQ: "https://www.talkbudgies.com/faq.php?faq=health#faq_eat_per_day" has a typo & it says 1/2 to 2 tsp a day, but your link to Budgies - Feeding | VCA Animal Hospitals says 1.5 to 2 tsp a day.)
I give them both their own food dish with just barely 2 tsp each of Goldenfeast Basics Plus seed mix, fresh each day & hand feed a small amt of fresh veg or apple a day. They only seem to eat the fresh food when they are hand fed & ignore it when it is hung up in their cage.
I'm also trying not to overfeed so that she doesn't get the idea that there's plenty of food for having "kids" LOL. She hasn't laid any eggs yet.
Good for you for reading up on budgies!
The experts here recommend feeding your bird pellets in addition to a quality seed mix. I think you missed that in the FAQs. As you have been doing, offering a variety of veggies is important as well. Fruits are high in sugar and so it is recommended to only feed your bird fruit once a week. Hope this helps.
As I suspected, it seems the millet is like candy to them, esp the little girl Hobbes. It appeared like she could eat them until she exploded! So nothing unusual with her behavior there!
And thanks also for the link about transitioning to pellets. Terrific info. I'll put the extra food bowl back but measure the pellets so I can have an idea if eating is going on when I'm not looking, ha ha.
In that link about pellets, the last person mentioned using a bowl with a mirror. I've been avoiding mirrors because of some things i've read. But now I'm thinking a mirror on the food bowl with the pellets may get the keets to think - wow! another bird is eating these pellets (the bird in the mirror) - so these MUST be good (or safe)!
I notice how cute it is that Calvin moves away from handfed veggies but eagerly comes to eat it AFTER Hobbes starts eating it!
I forgot to mention, i also give them a few defrosted corn, pea & lima beans every day. They reject the peas & beans but do eat all the insides of the corn each day.
We love our little birds - they make us smile & laugh throughout the day! We never liked birds before but since the lovebird we inherited died, we got Keets (which aren't as loud) & are thrilled!
There could be many factors as to why your female seems cranky. Many behaviors are attributed to hormones, the particulars of their living arrangement, etc. When we keep budgies in our homes, we see a wide range of normal, natural behaviors.
The 1.5-2 tsp. is referring to seed rations per day. But we don’t expect your budgie to be eating nothing but seed. I see you’re feeding other items too, by hand. It’s fine to do it that way, but you can also try presenting fresh food items in different ways (chunky large pieces, finely chopped, etc).
It’s also a good idea to introduce a formulated pelleted diet too, and see the seed as more of a “side dish”, and millet sprays as a treat.
If you don’t have one, a good thing to keep on hand is a gram scale to weigh your budgies.
It's working! Calvin (the boy bird) has taken to visiting the "man in the mirror" once in a while & sees that "other bird" checking out that great pellet food, so he too is eating it! Yay!!
Also he doesn't seem to overdo visiting that "Oh-so-handsome bird in the mirror" so I think we're ok there. I think it actually takes a LITTLE pressure off of Hobbes (the girl) from the constant flirting (mostly singing to her) all day long that she has to fend off from time to time.
Hobbes visits that new food bowl too sometimes. They even play a little with the little colored balls that are strung out in front of the mirror.
Talk Budgies advises against using mirrors for budgies. They are an “old school” type of bird toy, from back in the days before people were aware (or cared) about the potentially unhealthy consequences. Most budgies will eventually grow closer and closer to the mirror, to the point of obsession. They will then start regurgitating to the reflection. This can result in hormone stimulation and behavior change such as aggression. Not to mention the loss of nutrition by regurgitating often.
I realize you see that the mirror is only helping at this point. It might not encourage hormonal behavior for a while, but most will eventually start to obsess though, over time.
The best way to assess if they’re getting adequate food is to use a gram scale to weigh them. Just because one scarfs down millet does not mean they’re starving. Most budgies love millet.
Again, I need to say for all who might read this; Talk Budgies does not condone the use of mirror toys, and we advise that they aren’t used, period.
I can cover the mirror. I still want to utilize the fact that they are using that bowl for the pellets now so I don't want to change to another bowl immediately. In the near future, I'll put another bowl right next to it with the pellets in it & see if they go to that one since they are finally liking the pellets.