February 16, 2015

Healthy Feeding

Healthy Feeding

Veggies 101

Come on in and grab a seat and we will talk about the best veggies for our companion parrots.

First let’s discuss the reason veggies are so important in a healthy diet for our companion birds. Energy is needed to make bodies function properly. We (and our birds) get this energy from the food we eat.  Each food is of a different energy level and our goal is to fuel our bodies without having energy left over. This leftover energy will be stored around the liver and this is called Fatty Liver Disease. Fatty liver disease in birds, also known as hepatic lipidosis, is a disease in which large amounts of fat are deposited in the liver. It is most common in budgies, cockatiels, Amazon parrots, Quaker parrots, lovebirds, and cockatoos. To prevent this from happening to your companion parrot (and you) you must feed your bird to match his activity level.  In the wild birds are expected to fly many miles to survive. They have to hunt for food and water, escape from prey, choose safe roosting spots. Basically the last time I was in the “wild” I did not see a parront like me transporting and feeding the wild birds. This means they need all the energy that can store at the ready. They may have to fly far and fast in a moment’s notice. Now on the other hand, our companion birds have very safe environments, no prey to flee from. All the food they could want, in the nearest food dish, no need to fly from prey of search for food. So what is to happen to all this “at the ready energy” that comes from a high energy diet? It will be stored as fat in the liver. Fatty Liver Disease WILL kill your companion bird (and you). So let’s examine how to better match the foods to the activity level and energy needed.

Foods are classified in three levels and they are as follows:


High Energy

  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Legumes/Mung beans/Crunchy Combo
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • ALL Fruit
  • Potato
  • Bread
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • **It is not recommended to feed Bread Rice or Pasta**

Medium Energy

  • Sweet Potato
  • Pumpkin (flesh only, seed are very high energy)
  • Carrot
  • Beetroot
  • Squash
  • Tomato

Low Energy

  • Spinach
  • Celery
  • Silverbeet
  • Broccoli
  • Broccolini
  • Rocket (arugala)
  • Pak Choy
  • Bok Choy
  • Capsicum
  • Chili (not to many seeds)
  • Alfalfa
  • Cucumber
  • Snow Pea Sprouts
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Beet Root Leaves
  • Cabbage (red and Chinese  is preferred )
  • Wheatgrass
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Chicory
  • Dandelion


Put simply high energy foods like carbs are food that produce “ready” energy and if not used will cause health problems. It is better to feed in this order. Feed daily from the LOW selection, occasionally from the MEDIUM selection and rarely for a treat from the HIGH selection. Please don’t feed breads, pasta, potatoes, or rice. Stay away from lettuce, instead choose the dark green leafy veggies.

Dangerous foods to avoid are

  • Avocado
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Dairy
  • Alcohol
  • Soft Drink
  • Excess Salt
  • Excess Sugar
  • Chocolate

Apple seeds (in normal amount) and cabbage are not toxic, despite the reporting of some websites.

Thank You Brisbane Bird Vet for this info.