How do I encourage a Galah, that’s been on seed-only, to eat pellets veggies and fruit?

australia red and white parrot (galah cockatoo) cacatua in West coast bush
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Hi Didi

We rescued an 8 1/2-year-old female Senegal parrot about 13 months ago. She’s not our first rodeo.

We operate an avian only pet supply business. We get bird food delivered five days a week. It’s inevitable that bags break and that’s what Peaches gets as I explain in the video below.

One of the paths of least resistance you can take is serving Higgins brand bird food products. Any and all of the Higgins Bird food products contain Higgins In Tune pellets so your bird’s beak will literally trip over them while eating.

Peaches enjoys Higgins Safflower Gold Parrot (no Sunflower) but she eats much more than that.

How varied is your parrot’s diet? Our birds get new foods weekly – video

Tropimix from Hagen developed by the Hagen Avicultural Institute also contains Tropican pellets along with hulled seeds, nuts and fruits.

You can do things as simple as making the pellets smaller then sprinkling over the existing seed mix.

Pouring orange juice over the pellets.

At night leave only dry pellets in the cage for those midnight munchies.

Nutri-berries and Avi-cakes from Lafeber’s are also great pellet inducements. Nutriberries are small balls of hulled seed, fruit and nuts that contain approximately 8% pellets.

Avi-cakes are square “bricks” that you break apart. Avi-cakes contain 50% pellets and are bound with molasses. Birds like the sweetness.

The molasses is also good to hold powdered supplements when trying to introduce them into a bird.

Both products from Lafeber offer 100% nutritional value and can be lived on solely. Peaches loves Nutri-berries, holding them in her zygodactyl foot to munch on until they become powder.

That said remember there are no pellet trees in the rain forest.

A pelleted diet is not essential for a healthy captive bird as long as the bird is getting necessary vitamin supplementation with a varied diet.

As for fruits and veggies you just have to test. Pomegranate seeds are fun, although our birds (we have 4 rescued budgies) can also eat a lot of romaine lettuce that we use throughout their cages.

Peaches likes warm corn. We tried several frozen vegetables and she doesn’t like it as much cold, so we keep on buying dollar bags of frozen veggies and mixing them, looking for the right combination. This last run has been corn and peas which we microwave for 50 seconds in water then let cool for about five minutes.

Our ringneck Sunshine, of 20 years loved frozen and cold veggies. We would make a bowl of frozen vegetables, adding a second bag of frozen corn and he would sit on the edge of the bowl pulling out the corn. Clearly getting brain freeze but would squeal with delight!

Many times it’s not the food it’s the delivery system. Parrots are not hardwired to eat out of overflowing bird food bowls. They instinctively want to search for food during daylight hours.

Senegal chooses working by foraging over full open food dish – video

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Author:

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

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