Nanday Conure Forum

Message #7677. This is a followup to #7673.

Name:Margaret Madison
Date:Sunday August 18, 2013 7:24:28 pm MDT
Subject:Re: Change of diet
Message:Birds are social eaters. You will probably have the best luck getting him to eat when you are eating, and what you're eating. It also helps if your bird is a little hungry.

One way to do this is to remove food bowls in the evening before you cover his cage. Just make sure that you're ready to share a meal in the morning with your bird (you've got the time set aside). It does no good to take his seeds away at night and then give them back to him in the morning. Take advantage of the fact that your bird will be hungry and that they're social eaters to show him other healthy food alternatives to his seed.    

I would suggest that you get in the habit of having your breakfast with your bird, but never let him get his beak on anything that has been in your mouth (a spoon/fork, piece of food that you've bitten from). Let your bird sit on your arm, hang out at the table with you or even just wheel up his play gym next to you when you eat. At first he may just want to watch you and most likely he'll begin to eat something too. You can have his seed cup sitting there with you initially or maybe a couple of foot toys, if that is what it takes to get him to hang around with you.

Make sure you make yourself a plate of bird-approved healthy items. See if he's at all curious about what you're eating. It may take a few days, but one of these days your bird is going to show some interest in what you're eating. Make it sound yummy, make the noises like it is tasting so good, but pretend like you could care less whether he is interested in what you're doing or not. Don't make it obvious that you're trying to entice him. When he finally does show some interest, pretend like you'd rather enjoy the goodies all to yourself. Wrap your arms around your plate and pretend like this is just for you, that will only intrigue him more. You can let him sneak a piece but pretend he stole it from you. Tell him he's a little sneaker or a stinker or however you normally talk to your bird.

Some items you can share with your bird could include halved seedless grapes, bits of apple, warm cooked brown rice or whole wheat pasta of varying shapes, warm peas, cubes of whole grain bread (I cut strips with scissors and then cut little cubes from there). Broccoli slaw (cabbage, carrots, broccoli) without any dressing, of course. Any leafy greens, cooked beans without any sauce. If I am eating a bowl of berries, my nanday always comes down and takes some. Strawberries and raspberries seems to get her interest more so than blueberries.

Scrambled egg is another thing my birds love as is the seed ball from a bell pepper. I only buy organic and certified non-GMO fruits and veggies and I wash all my produce well. But I'll cut the stem part of the bell pepper off to give the seed ball a flat bottom and once I've cut most of the pepper off for my meal, I'll give the ball and some of the pepper to the parrots. They often pick that seed ball clean. You might not think they'd love salmon, but of all the foods my birds eat, when I give them a flake of my salmon, they eat every bit. Usually birds are famous for letting half their food drop to the floor or whatever. Not with the salmon. Not my birds anyhow.

With green beans and snow peas, my birds have opened the veggie up and ate the bean inside while discarding the outside. Whatever falls onto the floor my dogs generally eat.

Weekends are my days to cook. When I made vegetable soup this morning, my birds got my organic scraps. Today it was the stems with some leafy parts of rainbow swiss chard which I wove through their cage bars along with some leafy celery tops and leafy carrot tops. Yesterday it was stems from collard greens and some dandelion leaves from my garden. Last weekend it was kale and beans from some soup I made. In the mornings on weekdays I might just toss in something easy such as leftover pasta from the night before, a handful of that broccoli slaw or some leafy greens. Whatever I happen to have on hand. Honestly, with parrots in the house I eat much healthier and a greater variety than I had before parrots.

So set yourself a plate up with some of these things and enjoy a healthy meal with some great feathered company. Pretty soon your bird will be enjoying a varied diet too. For the heck of it, once your bird begins to enjoy food from "your" plate, why not toss a few pellets on the plate and let him experience them too.

With pellets though (since he's not going to see you eating them), you can toss a couple onto the table for the first few days, amongst some of his toys and you can play with his toys with him and tap your fingers once in a while near the pellets. He may become curious enough to put one of the pellets in his mouth too. When he begins to steal food from your plate, you could put a couple of the pellets on his side of the plate so he'll get the idea they are also edible.

Well there are some good ideas for you to get started with. Just be patient and don't expect much for the first week or so. Be consistent with your "together time" at the table and eventually I'm sure you'll have your bird enjoying a varied and healthful diet.

Keep in mind, the older the bird is, the more set he is in his ways. It will take time to get him to try more things. Be patient and be consistent with regular food sharing/stealing sessions.

I hope some of this helps.

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