Food for your pet birdMost birds are naturally resistant to dietary changes. Most are hesitant to try new foods and some may just refuse them all together. Your goal is to provide your bird with the highest quality diet for optimal health throughout its lifetime. It’s never too late to make dietary changes to improve overall health, just remember that it may take a little extra time with some birds!

Several methods that have proven successful for changing birds’ dietary habits:

  • The most common approach is to gradually mix the new food with the old food. You’ll do this over a 4- to 6-week period to prevent digestive upset. 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 so on, gradually decreasing the old food.  During the last 7- to 10-day period you should be feeding primarily new food with just a bit of old food sprinkled on top if necessary.
  • If you’d like to spend less time transitioning between food, you could remove the food from the bird  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, we recommend that you switch back to the old diet and try another method.
  • The third and perhaps most simple approach is to just mix in new food with the old food. This is similar to the gradual change approach, but without any set percentage mixing. This method works best with younger birds as they are less particular and generally more accepting of something new.

In conclusion, we recommend that you always monitor your bird and any weight fluctuation during a food transition.  Weight gain or loss is the best indicator that your bird isn’t digesting nutrients properly and that there could be a problem. Also, do not introduce any other new foods or treats until your bird has accepted the dietary change. Make sure your bird is eating the new diet exclusively for at least one full week before introducing anything else. This prevents digestive upset and system and gives them a chance to get familiar with their new diet.

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