Protein is a macronutrient which plays a vital role in keeping your bird healthy.
Including protein in your Parrot’s diet is essential for many bodily functions, these include:
- Feather growth
- Building and repairing tissue
- Hormone production and regulation
- Metabolism regulation
- Immune system support
A diet lacking in protein can cause poor body condition, poor feather condition, lethargy and a slower response to healing from wounds or illnesses. Getting the levels of protein right at different life stages is also important.
Not providing enough protein to growing chicks can lead to poor development and malnutrition. Providing too much protein to older birds can lead to gout. Birds that are moulting will also need an increase in protein in order to produce new, healthy feathers.
Feathers are made of 90% protein and feathers made up 25% of all of a bird’s bodily protein.
Some great sources of Parrot safe protein include:
- Plain scrambled or boiled egg once or twice a week
- Bird bread cooked with egg
- Sprouted legumes, such as mung beans and chickpeas
- Soaked and sprouted grains, such as quinoa and buckwheat
- Garden peas
It is important not to overfeed protein to your bird. Whilst it can have many health benefits in the right quantities, in abundance, it can also cause health concerns such as kidney problems.
It is also important to avoid feeding meat products to your bird. These are often high in cholesterol and saturated fats, and they do not need to be part of your bird’s diet.
The easiest and most nutritious way to provide protein in your bird’s diet is through soaking and sprouting seeds, grains and legumes. These soaked and spouted items are live foods and are comparable to some of the things that Parrots would eat in the wild.
They are also a great conversion tool onto a healthy diet for picky eaters as they are a bridge between seeds and vegetables. When seeds are sprouted, the fat reserve is used up during germination which makes them healthier and easier to digest.
Not all seeds, grains and legumes can be sprouted, so check multiple lists before deciding whether to soak or sprout them.