As January is known as Bird Rescue month, what steps will you take to ensure your pet bird’s (adopted or rescued) health?
Good nutrition is an extremely important element in maintaining the health of your pet. While feeding them, one needs to make sure to consult a vet as various species may have different dietary needs. Their diet should be a good blend of grains, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and various types of proteins, as well as additional vitamins and minerals.
Five main areas that need special supervision and attention include
Balancing your Bird’s Diet
Birds certainly need carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Vegetables are a good source of carbohydrates and should comprise 15-30% of their diet. Fruits should comprise about 5%. Avoid feeding your bird high-fat junk food, chocolate, alcohol or caffeine, onions, apple seeds and mushrooms among others.
- Vitamin A and D is considered important.
- Vitamin A enhances skin as well as the health of the eyes, feathers, reproductive system, and immune system.
- Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, feathers, and egg laying
Energy Requirements of Birds
It is mandatory to track the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Metabolisable Energy (ME). This is subjective due to the various species available. It is important to target the correct sources of energy and how specific foods can meet these needs.
Seeds vs Pellets
There is this ongoing controversy around whether birds should be fed seeds or pellets. Although, birds prefer seeds, however, seeds may not provide all-round nutrition. On the other hand, pellets are formulated diet foods made specifically for each bird type. They contain a blend of grains, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Pellets include the needed vitamins, minerals, fats proteins and other essential nutrients.
How to Get your Bird to Eat Healthy
A good way to get you bird to eat healthy is to introduce foods first thing in the morning. Sample new foods in front of your pet, try textures and shapes. Be creative to break monotony, an example can be; In case of larger birds, try feeding your bird corn on a cob rather than feeding it kernels in a dish. This will help entertain the bird as well as provide physical and mental stimulation.
Birds, generally need less water than other mammals as they do not have any sweat glands. Respiration and excretion function causes loss of water from their bodies. While small birds need to hydrate themselves almost twice a day, larger birds need more. The average water intake for birds is 2.4% of the bird’s body weight as stated by Dr. Shivani Tandel, senior exotic specialist. However, the water content depends on external factors such as temperature, weather conditions and stages of life.