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scottydog

Blue front eating too much sunflower

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Hi, my blue fronted amazon, is eating quite alot of sunflower seed. I feed him a good quality parrot mix, but at the end of the day all thats on the floor of his cage is empty sunflower shells. He enjoys green apples alot, & recently oranges. Anyone got any ideas.

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And walnuts :wink:

The usual things to try are eating other things in front of and with him?

Is he tamer now?

If you can offer and hand him foods he may take to them.

Or even better pretend he can't have it....but give in .

 

You could try getting some sunflower seeds and sprouting them...they would be a bit better nutrition wise.

Pick some out of his mix and soak over night, rinse well and keep them damp. Normally sunflowers start to sprout the next day or so.

Just a little white "tongue" stage is better, and still looks like "sunflower" seed to a bird.

There are posts on here about sprouting seeds.

It can take time to convert them and get them eating other things.

 

Also have a look around at seed suppliers and find one that supplies a mix made for amazons.

There is often safflower in them rather than sunflower.

Good luck and don't worry..it takes time to change them.

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Many birds like to pick their fave seeds out from the mix first and your bird has chosen the sunflower seeds. If lots of the rest of the mix is ending up on the floor try a much bigger dish so that the day's food is spread out in a thin layer - this really helps cur down on the amount thrown out.

 

If there is no suitable bowl supplied with your cage you can add one like these ....

http://www.24parrot.com/Feeding-Dishes-C179/

 

Perhaps have a peep at these threads for more ideas on finding other fruit/veg your bird might enjoy? ....

MANY MANY FEEDING TOPICS©:

https://www.parrot-link.co.uk/topic/20116-many-many-feeding-topics/

(from the forum's INFORMATION TOPICS© section .... https://www.parrot-link.co.uk/forum/22-parrot-link-information-topics/

why not have a stroll around to see what interests you?)

 

I agree with Rubytoo that a safflower based mix is far better than a sunflower seed one :)

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noooooooooooo! stop him now! My bluefront nearly died from eating too much sunflower. It coats the liver with fat and stops them absorbing vitamin A.

 

Get some vitamin A into him by feeding red veggies like carrot, peppers etc, and sugar snap peas and brocolli.

 

Honestly, within 48 hours he went from a healthy happy bird to being at deaths door. A £500 vet bill (we were insured thank god) and worry later and a few years on he is probably my healthiest bird, and loves a great variation of stuff.

 

The way to an amazons heart is through their stomachs, so keep the seed to a really strict minimum of their diet, and feed him up on other goodies.

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Going back to what I said about the way to an amazons heart is through his stomach, it must be true.

 

Ive never seen an amazon in all the time Ive been here that looks malnurished. they really do love trying different things, so do please change his diet, and offer lots of goodies by hand etc.

 

Mine begs for our food with noises and you get to know the noises.... you can almost hear his tastebuds crying out..... but thats nothing to match the noises he makes when he receives a treat and replies with "im well satisfied" noises....

 

 

warms me cockles :)

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Hi sorry to hijack the thread but I have a related question:

 

I'm trying to wean my amazon off seed mix as he's been on it 15 years and he has a plucking issue which i am trying to sort out. I brought Harrisons High Potency Course mix and mixed it with seed mix and he picks out the Harrisons and throws it on the floor :shock: (although I suspected he'd do this) I'm giving lots of fruit and veg and cooked pulses) too but didn't want to take seed mix out altogether as I know parrots are stubborn and worry he'd starve. Should I just remove all seed mix and tell him to "like it or lump it?"

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should i just pick the sunflower out then? are all colours of pepper ok to feed him on. cooked or raw? yeah rubytoo, he is a lot tamer. just needed time to settle in i think. he's not stepping up yet, but every time you put your hand to him, he puts one foot on, and holds your finger with his beak, so not long i dont think. i'm a bit worried about his feeding tho, cos yesterday he went through almost a whole dish of food, and almost all that was on his floor was empty sunflower seeds.

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Guest ramagel

We had a chat on avian nutrition from a well respected Avian vet at the bird club several weeks ago. I've taken a bit of an interest in the topic since. What follows is largely what he told us, and what you can find in AUTHORITATIVE texts, except where I am speaking of my own experiences, obviously:

 

Re: Soaking sunflower seeds. Soaking/sprouting doesn't actually improve their nutrition per se, it just makes the nutrients (if any) more readily available to the bird's digestive processes (and might make some foods more palatable). This applies to any seeds. In theory this means they NEED to eat less, but they probably won’t. There is some debate about whether some phtytochemicals are enhanced by sprouting but the jury is out.

 

Re: Seed preference. All birds will eat what they prefer first, and ignore what they dislike or don’t know. Since sunflower seeds appear to be highly desired, yes - they will eat them and ignore or throw out the Harrisons/Prettybird/Kaytee

 

Re; Seeds in general – you can buy ‘singles’ (ie bags of single variety seeds, grains, pulses) and make your own mix from places like Dietetic (sp?). White sunflower is (I understand but might be wrong – I have not personally researched the nutritional value of either), not as bad as striped.

 

Re: converting to pellets: I'm about 6 weeks into my conversion program to Prettybird/Kaytee and I intend to introduce Harrisons later. Getting the birds to accept different brands of ‘complete’ food seems a sensible thing to do in case of stocks running low or a change in preference etc etc

.

1. The Hahns macaws took to the pellets in a couple of days – eating them even when they were mixed with seed (NOT the best way to achieve a conversion as noted above!). They now devour them readily.

2. The younger budgies are now converted using a method recommended by Diane at Midland Parrots (I’ll explain later)

3. I have not tried to convert the older two budgies nor the cockatiels, one of whom is not robust.

4. My Amazon now eats just the brown plain ones: not the fruity ones. He even takes the brown ones form the hand, and the only other things he takes from the hand are toast and bits of apple.

5. My Goffins cockatoo now eats the brown plain ones and sometimes seems to recognise the coloured ones as food!

My Goffins is way more relaxed on the pellets (and maybe the full spectrum light I refer to elsewhere helps too).

 

Recommended conversion method (this is also why Harrisons recommend the high potency during the conversion, in case the bird takes some time to convert). My fault entirely if I’ve mis-represented the advice!

 

A. Do not mix seed and pellets. Do not offer both at the same time.

B. Offer pellets through the day (ad lib or at mealtimes depending on how you feed your birds).

C. Offer normal fruit/veg supplements, but no more than usual. Do not ‘compensate’ for the bird not eating pellets by giving more (OK, we all do – just try not to OVER compensate)

D. Provide some seed at night when putting the birds down. Remove in the morning.

E. Rinse and repeat: it WILL work. YOU will often give up before the bird converts.

F. Check-weigh the birds to avoid excessive weight loss (anything approaching 10% is WAY to much, and you might want to set a lower limit at which time you introduce some other foodstuffs).

G. It’s a heck of a job to weigh a budgie to an accuracy of 10% - try to observe how much is being eaten vs. how much is being wasted.

H. Some birds will take pellets away and nibble at them, wasting much in the form of fine powder – take that into consideration when assessing how much they are ingesting. My Hahn’s used to do that, now they love the pellets so much they don’t waste hardly a drop! (You can try mixing the fine powder with e.g. yoghurt – my Hahns LOVE that!)

I. Remember with Harrison’s 1 nugget = 1 gram: don’t just put a handful in a bowl – count them out. I think the aim is for the bird to eat around 20% of its body weight in Harrisons each day – but research that, I’m quoting that from memory.

I’m sure there’s stuff I’ve forgotten, but do PM me and I’ll happily share what I remember!

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Guest ramagel

Yes: I'd pick out as many of the striped sunflower seeds as I could until I got so bored I'd buy a different brand!

 

Sorry, that was a bit flippant, but yes - if you are prepared to do that, do it. But there are LOADS of places to buy different seed mixes from - the local - non-specialist - pet shop is probably NOT the best place. . I wouldn't like to push anyone's name in front of everybody, but if you like to PM me I'll tell you what mixes I used to use (before converting to pellets) and still do use as treats/now and again/in case a bird goes of its food or seems peaky (the last example being plain stupid - the pellets are much better for the bird - but sometimes we feed out birds what we THINK is best, not what IS best. Oh well - guilty as charged!)

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Thankyou, Ramagel, for sharing the info - much appreciated.

 

I will add that Vets get commission to sell pelleted food for all types of animals/birds which can be why they sometimes seem keen to push customers toward it.

I remember doing my Canine Nutrition qualifications only to find the course was sponsored by Hills (which Vets sell) and totally biased in that direction for example

 

As compared to the rubbishy seed mixes available from pet shops (full of striped sunflower and little else) Harrisons is an improvement but I personally still prefer to recommend a quality seed mix fed with fruit/veg/pulses/sprouted seeds etc.

 

There have also been reports of some of the coloured pelleted feeds affecting birds both physically (eg feather colour changes) and in behaviour/health.

 

There are some top quality seed mixes available these days and some use safflower to replace the striped sunflower content - a much better seed nutritionally yet readily accepted/liked by the majority of parrots

 

Here's a recent thread about Harrisons ....

https://www.parrot-link.co.uk/topic/19919-parrot-pellets-harrisons/

and there are more threads on coloured pellets and Harrisons here ....

LINKS TO ASSORTED FEEDING THREADS©:

https://www.parrot-link.co.uk/topic/4475-links-to-assorted-feeding-threads%c2%a9/

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Guest ramagel

I can't disagree with anything you say - although I don't buy my pelleted food from the vet!

 

I would add that *I* am a convert to the case for a 'complete food' because of its completeness. D'oh.

 

Harrisons is the only organic food, and I too have my concerns about the dyes used in the coloured food - they don't half make budgie poop seem much worse than it already is. But intend to use the 'coloured' pellets only until I can get the birds converted to 'neutral' pellets.

 

It's another one of those debates that have much to be said on either side: I've come down on the 'complete food side' but, as you rightly say, given a GOOD seed mix and other food supplements (possibly even vitamin and mineral supplements - but I haven't researched that avenue) there might not actually be much in it. Except perhaps where certain nutrients have to be 'balanced' and one is needed in a particular proportion to the other for optimum utilisation where that might be difficult to achieve in a 'not complete in a single lump' type of diet.

 

I wouldn't proselytise in the cause of "complete food", but I will be happy to pass on my experiences.

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Interesting stuff. My concern was more about people offering a seed only diet.... its a fast road to an early death if not converted asap.

 

Good stuff people.

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Guest ramagel

Yes, variety IS the spice of life isn't it!

 

I would certainly recommend scottydog try all sorts of things: all my birds LOVE cooked chicken bones - with as much meat left on them as my guilt allows; my Goffins loves sweet potato, none of them like broccoli (shame, it'd be SO good for them) and only the budgies eat carrot - the B&Gs just shred it! Oh - prunes! The B&Gs love that! Did anyone say "toast"????? Penaut butter on spoon – a food AND a toy???? Yipppeeeeee So much variety … mmmmmmmmmmmm

 

Just avoid the obvious no-nos scottydog, chocolate, caffeine, avocado, too much fat and sugar (although IIRC e.g macaws benefit from fat in their diet, and some vitamins are fat soluble not water soluble).

 

My own Amazon (I’ve only had him a few months) is a tubby podger, and once he’s firmly on the pellets I’ll be cutting him back a bit for his own good! If his Daddy can lose 10st,he can lose a few grams, the tubster!

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Thanks for the info Ramagel, I think you are right about owners giving up before the bird converts! I put Harrisons only in Limey's bowl and his usual fruit and veg. He just sat there, wouldn't touch either bowl. His seed is his starter you see normally and then the fresh stuff is main course! I'd confused the boy. I caved and put seed in his bowl, he went and ate it and then chowed down on his fruit and veg! I had put him on 2 mixed foods together which had low sunflower seed and he seemed to get on with that so I might change.

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Guest ramagel

I will add that Vets get commission to sell pelleted food for all types of animals/birds which can be why they sometimes seem keen to push customers toward it.

You know, I let that line from someone else (who sold OTHER seed mixes!!) put ME off for quite some time - and I wish I hadn't: I should have been more diligent and I should have considered the subject in the round. It's important to do the research and come to ones own conclusions.

 

One may conclude "complete foods" are the answer (as I have done for SOME of my birds), or one may not: but that is not what is important.

 

What is important is that any conclusion with such significant impact on a bird's well-being be based on evaluating the factual and scientific evidence (as well as valid anecdotal reports from other keepers) and not on factors which have only peripheral relevance to nutrition.

 

And I'm now tying hard to practice what I preach, but "it ain't easy".

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i'm torn between making my OWA healthy in feather but worried he'd get depressed eating something boring. But as he gets other bits and pieces perhaps I need not worry. I tried the Harrisons (it's a rule of mine to try what I give my animals!) and I must say it tasted what I think plastercine tastes of! I didn't like the aftertaste! But parrots do often have different taste buds - thinking of hot chillis etc that they like! Because, to me, it tasted horrible I feel guilty trying to make him eat it! Do birds actually "enjoy" the taste of it?

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Guest ramagel

Hmmm ... think about this .. why do/can parrots eat hot hot chilli? Because they have very few taste buds! Some foods are fun for them to eat, some they eat habitually (like when we convert them to seed) and some they eat because they taste of something or are very juicy, s0ome they eat because it's fun to eat what the rest of their flock is eating (like our dinner) some they eat today and won't eat tomorrow, etc etc etc.

 

Parrots don't taste in the same way we do -I can't remember the number but they have many fewer tastebuds than we do - possibly a hundred times fewer.

 

Don't worry about what it tastes like to the parrot - if he eats it it's food!

 

 

:)

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Guest ramagel

Don't worry about what it tastes like to the parrot - if he eats it it's food!

That didn't quite come over quite the way I meant it: parrots eat LOTS of stuff that most certainly ISN'T food! But I think you knew what I meant. :)

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One of the best foods to give an Amazon is millet seed, Amazons often come in fat and unhealthy eating a seed diet and I offer fruit and veg in the mornings with toast (with palm oil on it) and hang a big bunch of millet seed up at dinner time they get pasta,mash etc with lots of lovely red peppers in it, in the evening I give them a mix I get from zooplus which has vitamins in it here is the link;

 

http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/birds/bird_food

 

This food is good for any other bird as it is very low sunflower.

 

I have looked at Harrison's but a couple of things bother me, one how can one food suit all birds as Macaws need a higher fat diet, Amazons need a low fat diet etc also Harrison's is coated in peanut oil to make it more agreeable to eat (I would never give Amazons peanut oil) :( and from a birds point of view that eats with its eyes, loves bright coloured food to eat and would in the wild eat a very varied colourful diet how boring and depressing it must be to have a brown lump that flies all over the place when the bird bites into it, tastes the same day in day out. :cry:

 

And then there is the price :roll:

 

You can buy lovely organic seeds and mix your own to give your bird/s a great diet, I do this with all my birds so if you have less than me it should not be hard at all. :lol:

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When i got my Lil Luis his previous owner had been feeding him pure sunflower seeds :shock: I nearly fell over in shock when he showed me the bag of what he was feeding him. I threw it straight in the bin :evil:

 

Thankfully i think Lil Luis realised that the food he was getting wasnt any good for him and once he came to me he would eat all his veg and fruit and he has a good seed low in sunflowers..........and he doesnt just pick out the sunflowers. The condition of his feathers has completely transformed over the months and hes in beautiful condition now. Before, his feathers were all black and chewed.

 

Ive got another little conure now aswell, his diet wasnt very good and he chewed all his chest feathers. Im proud to say that they are all growing back now and he hasnt chewed any since. It wont be long before he is looking as good as Luis. :D

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Guest ramagel

One of the best foods to give an Amazon is millet seed

Good Lord! I never would have thought that! I've always had millet down as cheap filler - what is it that is so beneficial for Amazons? (Perhaps the effort of eating it!)

 

I have looked at Harrison's but a couple of things bother me, one how can one food suit all birds as Macaws need a higher fat diet, Amazons need a low fat diet etc

What a very good question! I shall have to try to find out if there is an answer (apart from, obviously, supplementing the diet). Mind you to be fair, Harrisons do say the food should form only 80% of the bird's diet - so I guess we have to understand what the other 20% should be made up from. And so we need to understand each bird's nutritional needs EVEN IF we're feeding a complete diet. Hmmm. That isn't spelled out in their literature in the context of different dietary needs per species (unless it is and have missed it, so I shall check)

 

I would never give Amazons peanut oil

Why is that? Because of the low-fat diet? But is that a 'weight gain' issue or a nutrition issue? Grateful for more words from you on that to understand better

 

how boring and depressing it must be to have a brown lump that flies all over the place when the bird bites into it, tastes the same day in day out. :

Oh, you old anthropomorph you!

 

And then there is the price :roll:

Ahem. Yes. Indeed. But I reckon it might come out even ... but I have never costed supplements and the like.

 

You can buy lovely organic seeds and mix your own to give your bird/s a great diet, I

Except of course, you have to know what constitutes a great diet: I would love to hear more from you on that topic.

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