How To Get Powdered Supplements Into Your Bird

Cocatoo parrot on arm of veterinarian
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An oft asked question by caged bird keepers is “how do I give my bird powdered supplements”?

Pet bird supplement manufacturers are very good at letting us know what is in the supplements and providing us with precise dosages based upon the size of the bird.


What they never tell us is how to get the supplements IN the bird.

Most avian supplements are water-soluble but we’ve all watched our birds drink, they don’t drink a lot in terms of volume so we end up throwing a dish of water out two to three times a day along with any diluted vitamins that would be in the water.

This is wasteful. 

Prior to our cockatiel Popcorn’s passing, she was diagnosed with a compromised immune system by our  avian vet Byron de la Navarre, DVM — Chief of Staff @ Animal House here in Chicago

This was a result of stress from the seasonal changing light cycles, a recent molt and some reproductive activity.

Dr. Byron administered a highly potent antibiotic and prescribed an oral antibiotic that we administered to Popcorn orally twice a day for about 10 days.


We all agreed that she needed a calcium supplement because of the calcium depletion caused by her brooding activities.

Catherine and I felt she needed a vitamin based supplementation to compensate for the stress on her system.


When birds molt, calories (energy) are diverted from the general system of a bird and spent on all important feather growth.

Stress from North American seasonal changes diverge calories and the endless need to reproduce depletes much needed calcium.


We selected AviVita Plus Multivitamin Supplement and Cal-D-Solve Calcium/Magnesium Supplement for Egg Laying Birds to help Popcorn recover from all these calorie depleting situations.


If you sprinkle a fine powder over seeds, the powder will fall to the bottom of the dish as the bird separates the seeds in the dish while he or she eats.

The most recommended tactic is to put the powder supplement on some sort of “wet” food like a piece of fruit or washed piece of lettuce. once again how much of the supplement is a bird getting while it is a shredding the food?


Don’t let introducing a supplement into your bird be a hassle.

Classic Lefeber Avi-Cakes makes a fine substrate to deliver powdered supplements to your bird.

This is because the ingredients are all held together by molasses making the outside of a piece of Avi-Cake – sticky 


Using a salt shaker to sprinkle a single or mixture of supplements over a couple of squares of Avi-Cakes.

The molasses will ensure the supplements are are sticking to the seed and ending up in the birds mouth on on the tongue, not the bottom of the dish.

This will also ensure that your bird will get the most benefit from your efforts in being the best caged Bird Keeper you can be.


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Some Information about Avi-cakes from Laefener’s


Avi-Cakes™ “Work ‘n Chew™’ Food – Birds need nutritional variety and foraging excitement: Birds have incredible beak abilities; they can take chunks out of your finest furniture and a moment later, they can take the hull off of a millet seed.

Bird’s tongues are incredibly sensitive to touch and texture with more tactile nerve sensors than other parts of their body.


Great Foraging Food: Avi-cakes were designed to provide your bird with a variety of beak and tongue sensations.

Your feathered friend will love holding, pulling and tearing at each square. We believe your bird’s food can be both exciting and nutritious.


Nutritionally Balanced Just for Your Bird: Top avian nutritionists, veterinarians and behavioral consultants worked together creating Avi-Cakes.

Avi-Cakes were specifically designed for the nutritional demands of birds: for iridescent feathers; for a strong beak and bones; and for bright eyes.

Avi-Cakes are a blend of premium seeds mixed 50-50 with nutritionally balanced pellets all held together with a great tasting molasses binder.


Avi-cakes are perfect as a complete meal or as a special treat. They are omega 3&6 balanced, naturally flavored and naturally preserved.


A Gradual Way to Introduce Pellets: Because Avi-Cakes are 50% pellets, many birds will eat pellets after eating Avi-Cakes.

Avi-Cakes are a great complement to a pelleted diet, since Avi-Cake nutrition matches most pelleted diets.


written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing

originally published Dec, 14 2014

Also published on Medium.


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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