Talk Budgies Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I checked out Pet Bird Nutrition by Peter S. Sakas and it was a really interesting read. I'm going to use his guidelines of 3 feedings a day but keeping pellets in the cage at all times. I'm trying to convert my two from an all-seed diet (Trill, which supposedly has vitamins sprayed onto the shells?) to a pellet / veggie / fruit diet, by recommendation of my vet. My two goofballs are being super difficult with it and it's a mix of heartbreaking and frustrating.

I've made a lot of chop which I use as the base, to get the veggie fix, then I throw in some inTune Harmony Pellets to soak up the extra moisture - my two seem to hate wet food and prefer it on the drier side. I'll also throw in some Roudybush pellets. I finish it off with a sprinkle of seeds that I mix into the whole thing but I've a feeling they're not actively eating the rest of the meal and only digging for buried treasure seeds. I also hang up some dill and parsley, with carrot slices and green beans, but they aren't interested in this at all, even if I eat some. We had some fun with green beans the other day and they were chewing it, but whenever they broke the skin and felt the moisture, they'd shake their heads in disgust and stop playing.

One of my budgies sternly lets me know they want to be let out by staring at me from a lower perch (when she's almost always up high in the cage), and will push her head up against the bar and just have one eye looking at me accusingly. My other budgie does little loop de loops on the rope perch, scattered with sad chirps, which is their way of saying "Please let me out". This only happens either when 1) they want their outside play time or 2) they're hungry. When I do let them out, they pester me for seeds and will actively eye the bag of seeds I keep below the cage, sometimes they'll fly down to it and try to peck it open! When they were on an all-seed diet, they'd ask to be let out twice or three times a day. During the conversion, this has jumped up to five or six times a day!

Any advice on what worked for you all would be greatly appreciated. I heard adding stuff like ginger or chillies is really appealing to budgies? Something about them loving spicy stuff - which is weird cause I thought birds weren't affected by capsaicin. I'm thinking of crushing up a bunch of pellets to a powder, then throwing in some of the inTune pellets (because they're little balls), along with a generous sprinkle of seeds and then wetting the whole thing and turning it into a kind of treat stick. Just forming it around a wooden skewer I can hang in the cage. I just can't figure out how to get it to harden and dry but still retain it's shape without crumbling.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
55,530 Posts
When I introduced pellets to my budgie, my Avian Vet recommended using Harrison's High Potency Mash and sprinkling it on the budgie's seed mix every day.
This way, when the budgie hulls the seed it tastes the pellet mash and ingests bits of it as well.
This helps the budgie identify the taste as a food source. ;)
It worked for my all of budgies and lovebirds!

Many members seem to find the easiest pellets to use for introducing pellets to their budgies to be the CANARY sized (XS) Zupreem fruity pellets.
Most budgies like the taste and the "Canary" sized pellets are tiny enough for them to easily eat them.
Once they've become accustomed to the Fruity Pellets, introducing the smallest "natural" pellets is then an easy step.

Other than when I was using the Harrison's mash, I've never mixed my birds' pellets and seed together.
My birds have Zupreem Fruity Pellets, RoudyBush Mini Natural Pellets, Dried Herb Salad and Miracle Meal available at all times.

Their seed is rationed to approximately 2 teaspoons of seed per budgie each day.
I give them seed first thing in the morning right after putting clean packing paper on the bottom grate of the cages.
I sprinkle their morning ration on the paper so they can forage for the seeds.

I then do the same thing in the evenings (after replacing the soiled paper with clean) and again allow them to forage for their seed.

You could always sprout the seeds you give your budgies, if you prefer:
Sprouting Everything
Growing Seed Sprouts at Home
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've tried dusting seeds with the crushed pellet powder, but it just falls off and collects at the bottom of the bowl. That's really smart though and I never thought to trick them into associating the taste of the pellets to the act of eating. I tried shipping some Harrison's High Potency Mash over but it ended up costing far too much. The only pellets we have here are the Roudybush ones, and I buy them the nibbles as it's the smallest (though I still feel like they should be smaller...). I also use a large dog bowl that I layer with some organic hay or grass (for rabbits) and then throw in a sprinkling of nibbles for them, hoping the act of foraging entices them to try the pellets. I used to put seeds in only and they really loved foraging in the bowl.

Once I have them used to pellets, I'm going to copy your seed rationing idea. I love the morning seed treat, and the evening seed treat. It's a cute little routine to get them excited for.

When your birds eat pellets, do they peck them up and then cronch them to dust in their mouths, or do they swallow them whole? Right now, my two will usually peck it up and then spit it out after realising they can't shell it. Rarely, they'll crush it up in their beak and get it down. Will they eventually just be crushing it and swallowing once they're used to it?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
55,530 Posts
My birds crunch their pellets up before swallowing.
Not all of the powder ends up getting swallowed as I find some still in the dish but I do believe they are ingesting the majority of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So I made some progress today but I had to babysit them so much. I've seen them both eat pellets in the past! I've heard them crunch it to dust! But for some reason, they've now stopped considering pellets as food. I had to crush the nibble pellets even smaller, to the point where they're just larger than grains of sand, and even then they wouldn't eat it. I squidged some onto my finger and offered it to them. They ate it directly from my finger and seemed to really enjoy it, and I'd mimic pecking at the bowl and pellets with my finger to coax them into doing it themselves, and they would, for about 5 seconds. Then they'd go back to trying to get my attention for food, despite the fact we'd just gone through the motions of seeing that the pellets are indeed food...

When I wet the pellets, they just sorta play with them in their mouths but don't actually eat it. Lots of vigorous head shaking and my room has pellets strewn all over the place. When I mix chop with seeds and pellets, their beaks get covered in chop but I don't think they're actually eating any of it, they just hunt for the seeds. When the pellets are dry, they don't even entertain the idea of trying it out for themselves. I went one step extra today and put the crushed pellets into their forage bowl and had it on my lap, and enticed them in to see if maybe having the pellets on a large flat surface would make it easier for them to peck at, but nope. They were more interested in the few strands of organic hay than they were with the pellets.

It's so frustrating, especially now that I've seen them eat it and enjoy it :mad: So I've got no clue how long it'll take to have them get the memo and realise pellets are in, whilst seeds are on the way out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Relieved is an understatement. I am over the moon and can barely control how happy I am. I just spent the past hour and a half getting Wasabi used to the pellets. Turns out, even nibbles are too large for her, so I crushed them down smaller. About 40 minutes of continuously dabbing pellets onto my finger and proffering it to her, followed by her occasionally eating from the bowl herself but then getting confused and waiting for me to dab more onto my finger. She'd also keep flying to my shoulder to beg for seeds so I had to reset constantly. The last 20 minutes consisted of her attacking the bowl with a will, I think the pellets had started to digest and give her energy and she was able to put 1 + 1 together and realise "Oh my god this is food".

I then brought my 2nd budgie out and spent another 30 minutes just solidifying our lesson to make sure Wasabi wouldn't forget about it. Turns out, having one budgie that already knows how to do something makes teaching the second budgie so much easier. Thank goodness I finally got over this hurdle. I was getting so stressed from how little they were eating and I kept having to give seeds despite the vet telling me in no uncertain terms that seeds would just exacerbate her liver problem. Rock and a hard place kind of situation. There was a good half hour of them just gorging on the pellets, and the part that melted my heart was after they were full and happy and started to fluff up to preen for bedtime 😭

This was her towards the end, you can see she still gets confused and will stop what she's doing to look around. This wasn't even full steam! When they were both eating, it was like Hungry Hippos, just pecking machineguns. My only concern now is they seem to only want to eat if I'm holding them and tilting the bowl. I tried a few times to put them back in the cage and let them eat solo, but they'd beg to be let out and immediately start eating again. But in the grand scheme of things, I'll take this as a huge win. Even if I have to buttle for them to eat pellets, I'll gladly do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
They have trained you hand feed them. Now you're the scullery maid, cook, AND the butler. ☺ I admire your persistence! Been trying to get my 4 converted. Hadn't thought of the finger serving. My tame bird would love that! The other 3 are rescues and won't step up yet. They all been eating veggies but are holding out on the pellets. Enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks a bunch obxdiva! They thankfully allowed me to stop being the scullery maid, they started eating from the bowl by themselves in the cage.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top