You’ve read up on what you should feed your bird to keep it healthy. Unfortunately, you and your bird seem to differ on what is healthy. New foods are either ignored or flung aside for the good old seed. Here are a few methods for getting your bird to try new foods.
The “Good Stuff” Dish
This is the best method for getting a seed junkie to try wet foods. First you have to find a non-seed food that your bird already likes. There is always something. Usually even picky birds can’t resist wheat bread or a frozen veggie mix. With small species you can try greens like parsley or carrot tops. Once you find a food other than seed that it will eat offer it the same time every day, in the same area of the cage, in the same dish. The goal is to make the bird associate that dish with something tasty.
After a week or two start offering something else into the dish every other day. You can mix it together with the old food or just offer the new food by itself. Keep this up and pretty soon the bird should eat any item placed in that dish.
Several pellet manufacturers recommend mixing pellets in with seed and slowly increasing the proportion. I’ve found this method counterproductive, as many birds think the pellets are inedible and will throw them aside. Instead, offer the pellets in a completely different dish. Birds are more likely to try this new “toy” than something invading their seed bowl. Roudybush also has several other methods of introduction.
Ever notice how pets always want what you’re eating? Birds follow the examples of their peers. If you have one bird that eats pellets you can usually get your others to do the same by letting them watch. Borrow a friend’s bird to help teach yours if you have to. You can also try pretending to eat the pellets.
Looks Like Seed
Some brands of pellets, like Kaytee Exact cockatiel size, look a lot like seed. Other foods that have a seed-like consistency may be tried more readily, like wheat bread, cereal and sprouted seed. When trying to get your bird onto a different diet any food variety is important no matter how small. If you can get them to try one new thing you can gradually get them to try other things as well.
© 1997-2016 by Karen Trinkaus. May not be reprinted or used in any way without the author’s permission.