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MLA Full: "Preparing A Proper Parrot Diet." YouTube, uploaded by Animal Wonders Montana, 13 December 2018,
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Jessi shares how to give an easy, nutritiously complete, and enriching diet to parrots and parrot type birds. ---- Sponsored by Audible ---

Pellets should make up 70% of a parrot's diet. Amounts will look different depending on the size of the bird and the size/shape of the pellet used.

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 (00:00) to (02:00)

Hi.  Welcome back to Animal Wonders.  Today's episode is sponsored by Audible.  I'm getting ready to prepare breakfast for the birds and one of the most common questions I'm asked about bird care is what to feed them.  There are a lot of different ways to offer excellent nutrition for parrots, so I'm just going to show you what we do for all the parrots at Animal Wonders.


We definitely don't simply get a bag of seed mix from the grocery store.  While parrots do eat seeds and nuts in the wild, they also eat a wide variety of other foods, too.  If we just fed them a mixture of seeds, they'd miss out on a lot of essential vitamins and minerals, which could lead to a drastically shorter lifespan as well as many possible devastating and expensive health issues.

We feed all our parrot-type birds twice a day.  This includes the macaws, parakeets, cockatiels, etc.  They get their breakfast a few hours after sunrise and dinner about six hours later.  The reason we offer two meals a day is because I want to make sure they're eating their entire diet and not picking through a big bowl of food, eating their favorites, and tossing the rest on the floor.

It's also natural for them to eat throughout the day and have periods of being hungry enough to forage and look for more food, so feeding them multiple times a day is a great way to encourage them to interact with foraging toys.  So for breakfast, I offer a base diet of parrot pellets with no aritifical flavors or dyes.  The pellets have all their essential vitamins and minerals, so I don't have to worry about buying supplements or giving too much or too little.

Let me grab their scale.  There are many ways to make sure your parrot gets the proper nutrients, but offering a good quality pellet is the easiest.  Get the first bowl on there.  Let it (?~1:53).  24 grams exactly.  The birds get about 70% of their nutrition from the pellets.  

 (02:00) to (04:00)

Some great pellet brands are Roudybush, Lafeber's, Zupreem, and Mazuri.  Alright, those are our big birds.  Let's move on to our smaller ones and now our tiny ones.  You can see that these pellets are pretty boring and parrots are used to eating a variety of brightly colored fresh foods, so to make it less boring and more exciting, they also get a mixture of fresh vegetables in the morning.  I cut up the veggie mix every three days and it includes carrot, zucchini, squash, broccoli, caulifower, purple cabbage, and sometimes I'll add beets, kale, yams, or parsnip.  I measure out just the right amount for each of them depending on their weight and the individual.  A few of them need precise measurements.  The rest of the birds get 1/2 tablespoon to a whole tablespoon each.  That is for an Amazon parrot.  Those are for some conures, Amazon parrot, conures.  

We've rescued a lot of parrots and I personally know what the right amount to feed them is by offering them more than I think they can eat during the first couple weeks after they arrive.  Then, I watch to see how many leftovers they leave after two hours.  I subtract that amount from what I offer them the next morning.  After a few weeks of small adjustments here and there, I'll know exactly how much breakfast they can eat.  

During this time, I'll also weigh the bird to see what their heaviest weight is.   It's not healthy for them to be at their heaviest weight all the time, but it's good to know what that heavy weight is so you have a good reference for a maintenance diet.  

Everyone is really hungry now, so let's give them their breakfast.  Now that they're all happily eating, I wanted to talk with you about why I care so much about making sure the animals in my care are healthy and happy.

 (04:00) to (06:00)

I have a deep passion for helping animals to thrive in captivity, and not just survive.  Captivity means any animal under human care, which includes zoos, aquariums, rescue and rehabilitation centers, and even pets.  I'm always looking for ways to improve the lives of the animals and I'll never stop trying to make it better and better.  I literally spend most of my life taking care of these amazing animals, and a lot of that time is spent cleaning.  Lots of sweeping and scrubbing and building enrichment, and of course, playing with the animals, too.  

My favorite thing to do while I clean is to listen to audiobooks, which is why I'm so happy to be partnering with Audible.  Audible provides an unmatched selection of audiobooks and for someone who enjoys both sci-fi and animals, they are my go-to source.  One of my favorite books that I listened to was The One and Only Ivan.  It's about a gorilla that lives in a tiny roadside zoo.  We get to hear the story from his point of view and it really brings home how important it is to treat non-human animals with kindness and respect and how vital it is to always keep focused on how we as caretakers can make sure they are thriving in our care and not just surviving.  I highly recommend The One and Only Ivan, and if you'd like to listen to it, too, you can use my link,, or you can text 'animalwonders' to 500500 and check out Audible Originals, which are exclusive audio titles created by celebrated storytellers from worlds as diverse as theater, journalism, literature, and more, and right now, for a limited time, new members can get three months of Audible for just $6.95 a month.  The One and Only Ivan is both fun and sad, heartwarming and heartbreaking and continues to inspire me to always look for ways to make the animals' lives happier and healthier.  Thank you, Audible, for giving me the gift of being inspired to do the work I'm doing while I'm doing it.  Again, if you wanna take advantage of this offer, go to or text 'animalwonders' to 500500 and right now, for a limited time, new members can get three months of Audible for just $6.95 a month.

 (06:00) to (08:00)

You can cancel at any time and you still get to keep your audiobooks forever.  It's great.  I couldn't be happier to support and be supported by something I use every day.

So now that we're done with the birds' breakfast and I've done some cleaning, I'd like to show what I do for their dinner.  I pick out three to  four different kinds of fruits.  I like to switch it up every day so they never get bored.  Today, I'm going to be doing some apple, some pomegranate, and papaya, and then, I add a few scoops of seed mix and mix it all together.  I like to include whole seeds in their diet because it's such a natural action for parrots to crack open seeds.  The seed mix isn't providing much nutritionally because that's taken care of with the pellets in the morning, but it's all about providing natural activities while also giving them a balanced diet.  Health and happiness, that's how you get them to thrive.

Now, most people aren't caring for 14 parrot type birds, so the way I prepare our bird diets won't look the same as most pet owners.  The portions you might make will be much smaller and tailored to your bird's preferences, but the concept is the same.  Provide a nutritionally complete pellet with fresh vegetables in the morning and follow that up with a variety of fresh fruits and seeds in the afternoon.

This routine also allows you to take the fruit and seeds and use them as training treats throughout the day.  The birds will get their full nutrition in their home but still be motivated by the high reward treats you have to offer.

The birds won't be ready to eat this mixture just yet, so I'll pop it in the fridge for later, and now, I'd like to visit the macaws again and give them some enrichment.  I'm gonna grab them some almonds and a few hazelnuts.

Both Joy and Scarlet don't chew on their toys enough to wear down their beaks so I also include hard shelled nuts into their diet.  I'm also teaching them how to forage for their food, so I am going to hide this treat.  Joy knows how to open this up.  Here, I'll put it in your bowl.  

 (08:00) to (10:00)

Can you go get it?  Yeah.  There you go.  Oh.  Like I said, I am still teaching them how to forage, so what I'm gonna do is make sure she sees the nut in there and then I'll put it in there.  Go get it out.  Aw, you gotta get the nut out of it.  You gotta get the nut out of it, see?  It's in there.  Oh my goodness.  Hold on to it.  Get it.  Get it out.  (?~8:32)  I know!  There.  You're silly.  You want me to do all the work for you.  

Alright, Scarlet, you wanna give it a try?  Yeah, you do?  You like that?  At least it's not scary, huh?  You playing with it?  Get it, get it.  Alright, here, I'm gonna put in that nut.  You see the nut?  Can you feel the nut in there?  Get it out.  Take it out of there.  Is it good?  I know, but you gotta get the nut out first.  Alright, I'm also gonna try this other tactic.  Just gonna take some strips of paper, put this in their bowls so they have to forage.

Now, foraging is very important because it helps activate their mental and physical wellness.  Alright.  Ready?  It's gonna be in there.  Go and get it.  Go and get it.  It's underneath there.  Can you find it?  Good job.  Alright, I'm gonna go ahead and--oh, Scarlet, did you get it?  No, it's still in there.  What if it's covered?  What are you gonna do?  Yay!  Successful foraging!  Congratulations, Scarlet.  

 (10:00) to (11:03)

Way to model that.  Well, the macaws are enjoying their perches, and this is just another way that I am enriching their lives and helping them thrive and not just survive.  Oh, Joy's working so hard, and she dropped the nut.  You did so good!  That was a really good try, here you go.  Nicely done.

I hope this has inspired you to work on improving the care of the animals that you take care of at home.  Thanks for watching, and if you want to go on an adventure with us every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel, AnimalWondersMontana.  Thanks, guys.