Seeds and grains are a natural part of a Parrot’s diet, but as with all things, they should be fed in moderation. Many seeds have a higher fat content, so feeding them as the main part of your bird’s diet will often lead to an imbalance of nutrition and potential health problems.
However, if you provide them alongside sprouts, vegetables, herbs, spices, flowers and a small amount of fruit, they can be an enriching addition to a meal.
Some healthier choices of seed to offer are:
Coriander seeds: These seeds promote healthy digestion and are thought to be packed with antioxidants which are important for improving your bird’s immune system. Coriander seeds are also high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and beta-carotene. Soak the seeds in cool water overnight for 8 hours, rinse and drain, then serve.
Brown linseed: These seeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids and some say a wide variety of vitamins and minerals which support optimal overall health for your bird. Brown linseeds are also packed with antioxidants and can help to aid digestion. They are usually easier to digest when soaked in cool water overnight for 8 hours, rinsed and drained, then served.
Hemp seeds: These seeds are a great source of protein in addition to calcium, iron and potassium. They are also high in vitamin E and help to support your Parrot’s immune system as they contain appropriate levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
Hemp seeds are a popular training treat with many birds, especially Conures.
Chia seeds: Though they are higher in fat, these seeds are an excellent source of calcium for your bird. They are also high in magnesium, phosphorus and protein and are great for supporting healthy bones. When they become wet, they swell up to 10 times their size, so it’s best to sprinkle them over your bird’s fresh food.
Pumpkin seeds: You can feed pumpkin seeds fresh straight from the vegetable itself, or in a dried form. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, iron and potassium as well as being high in fibre and protein. Providing pumpkin seeds which still contain their shell can be great fun for Parrots as they have to use their beaks to get into the tasty treat inside.
Remember, seeds should not make up the bulk of your Parrot’s diet, but they can be offered in many ways. You could sprinkle them in a foraging toy to get you bird working for their meal which will promote mental stimulation and exercise. You can also reserve high value treats for training sessions and bonding exercises with you or another bird.
As with all foods, variety is key, so it’s important not to just feed only one type of seed to your Prot. Switch it up each week and see which ones your birds enjoy!
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