Please help me not starve my parrot

A Blue Front Amazon Parrot
Read in 23 minutes

To begin, yes you are not feeding your bird correctly and yet a parrot not eating pellets of any sort is not uncommon at all.


“The 50% of bird deaths from nutrition” is a two-parter.  It has to do with not only an improper diet but literally starving the bird.


Many new captive bird keepers will see a dish of seeds (from the day before) or a blend that looks to be barely eaten. They figure “there’s plenty left” and try to extend the food for two to three days or more.


We have four budgies. You can take a dish of small bird seed at the end of the day and blow on it. You’ll see the hulls waft into the air leaving the remaining whole seeds in the dish.


But that’s not a good indicator. This is why we dump our bird food dishes every morning and then top them off at night regardless of how they look. That way we know that the birds getting enough of the right food.


As for the people food, for now I would stop offering it to Dollar because it’s clearly filling the bird’s crop, making it much easier to decide not to eat seed or pellets of any sort.


Think of it as you and I choosing between pizza and unsweetened Cheerios with no milk.


Chopping up kale is all well and good. We certainly don’t want any bird to have a vitamin A deficiency but before we get into how to make your bird eat healthy foods I want to redirect your focus on protein and not vitamins.


Vitamins are important. They assist in a myriad of physiological functions.


Vitamin D3 helps your parrot synthesize calcium as an example.


A small bird like a budgie has 3000 to 4000 feathers.

A larger bird like an umbrella cockatoo could have 8000 feathers or more.


Many birds molt once and sometimes twice a year. African greys will molt for 18 months


Female birds can get hormonal and broody. The brain (signaled by the pineal gland) may trigger the production of eggs, increasing caloric needs.


I start with the feathers because that’s what we look at on birds – the feathers!.


Feathers are made from amino acids. Amino acids are made from protein.


There is not a lot of protein in “pizza, pasta, burritos, hamburger helper, cabbage and noodles”.

Editors note: Here’s a list of healthy human food you can feed your bird with protein content listed.

  • Edamame – Protein: 18 g per 1-cup serving (cooked)
  • Lentils – Protein: 9 g per ½-cup serving
  • Black Beans – Protein: 7.6 g per ½-cup serving (cooked)
  • Lima Beans – Protein: 7.3 g per ½-cup serving (cooked)
  • Peanuts or Peanut Butter – Protein: 7 g per ¼-cup serving (or 2 Tbsp peanut butter)
  • Wild Rice – Protein: 6.5 g per 1-cup serving (cooked)
  • Almonds – Protein: 6 g per ¼-cup serving
  • Chia Seeds – Protein: 6 g per 2 Tbsp
  • Steel-Cut Oatmeal – Protein: 5 g in ¼-cup serving (dry)
  • Cashews – Protein: 5 g per ¼-cup serving
  • Pumpkin Seeds – Protein: 5 g per ¼-cup serving
  • Potatoes – Protein: 4 g in 1 medium white potato
  • Spinach – Protein: 3 g per ½-cup serving (cooked)
  • Corn – Protein: 2.5 g per ½-cup serving
  • Broccoli – Protein: 2 g per ½-cup serving (cooked)
  • Kale – Protein: 2.9 gt per 1 cup chopped

Remember a half cup of beans may weigh as much as your bird


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.