Pet Bird Myths That Need Debunking

How do you decide what to feed your pet bird? Do you base your bird’s diet on popular but false bird food myths? It’s time to debunk these myths and ensure that your pet bird's receiving the nutrients needed for a healthy, happy life.

  • Myth: Sunflower seeds are addictive. There’s nothing about sunflower seeds that could make them addictive. Birds simply enjoy them and may choose them over other food if given the chance. The problem is that sunflower seeds are high in carbohydrates and fat while deficient in important nutrients. Birds that eat seeds exclusively may become overweight and develop other health issues.
  • Myth: Seeds are bad for birds. Seeds, like other foods, are only bad if eaten in excess. They’re actually good for a bird’s mental health because they must work to get their food by cracking open the shell. Some birds, including budgies, canaries and finches, eat a predominantly seed-based diet in the wild. Consult your bird’s vet for specific advice regarding seeds in their diet.
  • Myth: Pellets are the way to go. It’s true that most formulated avian pellets offer excellent nutrition. They’re also easy to use and don’t make a mess the way seed hulls do. However, you may find it difficult to coax your pet bird to eat pellets when they’ve previously been on a seed-only diet. You may find that your pet bird prefers the pellets when they’re soaked in water; just remember to remove uneaten food after a few hours and replace it with dry food to prevent bacteria from contaminating the moistened pellets.
  • Myth: Pet birds can eat anything humans can eat. If your avian friend clamors for his share of "people food" at dinner time, proceed with caution. Avoid feeding him avocado, cheese or anything overly salty or fatty. Many birds love noodles, but avoid offering it to your bird with anything except a moderate amount of plain marinara sauce.