When your dog doesn't seem interested in eating his food, do you know what to do? When your dog vomits often, could there be something serious wrong with him? If he struggles to get up the stairs, does he need to see a vet? Having never owned an older dog, I knew nothing about the things that can begin to go wrong when dogs age. I adopted this guy when my neighbor moved into a nursing home and had to learn a lot about how to care for an older dog. My blog is filled with the many things that I have learned over the last year through the help of my vet.
If the feathers on your parrot begin to look a little dull and ragged, it's time to evaluate your bird's diet. Packaged bird diets often don't match what your bird would eat in the wild. You may need to find a higher quality food and supplement it with some fresh items. Here is how your parrot's wild cousins eat in their native habitat and how to match your bird's diet to theirs.
African Greys Have a Varied Diet
These parrots eat a number of foods everyday. In the tropical forests of West and Central Africa, grains, fruits and vegetables are the favorites of these birds. These make up the majority of the parrot's diet. Natural whole grains like buckwheat and oats give them the protein and carbohydrates they need for muscle and fat. Green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach, and ripe fruit, such as mangos and berries, provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Meat is eaten in small portions in the form of grubs, mealworms and other insects. These provide proteins and amino acids. Seeds and nuts are a very small part of this parrot's diet. They eat these more as a treat for the protein and fat content.
An African Grey maintains a nutritional and balanced diet by eating these combinations of foods. Pet birds that are given only one type of food can begin to show signs of nutritional deficiencies quickly at home.
Signs of a Poor Diet
Loss of color and sheen on your bird's feathers is the first sign that they aren't getting the food they need. Rough feathers that stand out from their body, broken feathers, and feathers that don't grow back once plucked out show a lack of nutrients. Your bird may develop rough, scaly patches on their legs. Even their eyes may begin to lose some of their brightness. Luckily, these can all be reversed once you start them on a more wholesome diet.
These can also be signs of a disease or internal parasite. Before making the diet changes, have the animal hospital examine them to rule out a health problem first.
Giving Your African Grey a Healthy Diet
Match your bird's food to their cousins' in the wild and you'll be giving your parrot a complete and healthy diet.
Grains - Start with one of the high quality pelleted foods made specifically for the African Grey. Your veterinarian can recommend some brands for your parrot. These will give them the basic nutritional building blocks that their body needs. Then offer your bird one or more of these low salt, whole grain foods as a snack each day:
Fruits and vegetables - Give your parrot a variety of these each day along with the pelleted food. Raw foods are best, but wash them thoroughly before putting them in the cage. Try a variety of these foods with your parrot and watch to see which ones become their favorite:
Meat - Your African Grey will enjoy some form of meat. Give them a small portion of these cooked meats once each week:
Seeds and Nuts - Only give these to your bird as a treat and do not make them a large part of their daily diet. When available, provide the nuts in their shell so your bird has the fun and exercise of opening them to get at their treat. Always give them the unsalted version of these foods:
With this diet, your parrot should begin to regain their bright, colorful look. If you see no changes in a couple of weeks, have your parrot examined by your vet. Some parrots need supplements in addition to the pelleted food to get all of the vitamins and minerals they need for a healthy body.