Most birds are naturally resistant to dietary changes. Most are hesitant to try new foods and some may just refuse all together. Your goal is to provide your bird with the highest quality diet and health possible. Remember it is never too late to improve your bird’s diet—it just may take more time with some birds.
Several methods that have proven successful for changing birds’ dietary habits:
- The most common approach is to gradually mix in the new food with the old over a 4- to 6-week period. For instance, you would start with a 75% old diet, 25% new diet mix for the first 7 to 10 days. Mix the food 50/50 for the next 7 to 10 days, and move to a 75% new and 25% old food mix for the third 7- to 10-day period. During the last 7- to 10-day period you should be feeding only the new food with a sprinkling of the old on top if necessary.
- Another approach is to remove the bird’s food from his cage at night before bedtime. In the morning, supply only the new food. In the evening, offer the old diet again. Continue this new/old offering until your bird is eating the new food with no resistance. Please remember to watch your bird’s weight carefully if using this approach. If your bird begins experiencing weight loss, you’ll have to put him back on his old diet and try another method.
- A third approach is to just mix in new food with the old food. This is somewhat similar to the gradual change approach, but without any set percentage mixing. This method works best with younger birds that are less set in their ways and generally more accepting of something new.
Regardless of what approach you take to switch your bird’s diet, remember to take it slow and keep an eye on your bird’s overall weight. His weight is the best indicator of a problem. Also, do not introduce any other new foods or treats until your bird has accepted and is eating the new diet exclusively for at least one full week. This prevents upsetting your bird’s digestive system and gives them a chance to get familiar with their new diet.