6 Tips for Picky Birds
Struggling with a picky bird, or just excited to introduce your favorite feathers to fun, healthy foods? We've got you covered! Extruded pellets should make up most of your bird's diet, but fids love variety. Introduce your bird buddies to the exciting world of hearty vegetables, grains, legumes, and fruits, and they just might realize, "Hey, these healthy things aren't so bad!"
- Try presenting the new food in a different way. If you always give your bird carrot sticks, only to have them rejected, try grating or slicing them into coins. Cut grapes in half if they're usually in one piece; test drive whole pea pods if your feathers dislike individual peas. Birds can be fickle about presentation, and whether they prefer their food skewered, shredded, mixed, or mashed, sometimes they just need a little push to realize what they've been missing!
- Mix it up – literally! This is the same concept we use to transition birds to a new diet. Put small pieces of the new food in with something they already like. This demonstrates to the bird that this fresh addition to their cage is in fact food. They'll have to work around these bits to get to their old favorites – hopefully getting a couple bites of the new delight in there as well.
- Show them someone else likes it. Birds are highly social creatures, basing many of their decisions on the actions of other members of their flock. Prove how great veggies are by eating some yourself. "Oooing" and "ahhing" over your carrots sticks might feel silly, but it will grab your bird's attention – they want what you're having!
The same goes for other birds; if one feathered friend loves kale and his partner in crime won't touch the stuff, make sure the second bird sees his buddy chowing down on those leafy greens. He won't be able to stand being left out.
- Try serving the food at a different temperature. If your bird doesn't like particular vegetables raw, he might prefer them cooked or blended in an icy smoothie. Another option involves freezing fruits or veggies in ice cubes. This provides a fun, chilly foraging opportunity – and hey, maybe your bird likes crunchy blueberries better than squishy ones!
If you want to really get cookin', boil some whole grain pastas, veggies, or legumes for a cozy treat. For a simple, tasty solution, try premixed cooked foods. Whether microwaved, baked, or steamed, be careful to only serve your bird foods that have cooled sufficiently. A good rule of thumb is that if it's too hot for you to touch, it's way too hot for your bird.
- Make breakfast time a blast! Try introducing new foods in the morning, as your birds will be hungry and perhaps more willing to try something new. If they refuse to eat your offerings, certainly don't starve them! If they won't budge, remove the offending foods and replace with a few of their healthy favorites.
- Try again tomorrow. Teaching your bird to like new, healthy foods is an on-going process, so don't expect instant results. Individual birds have differing palates, so trial and error is essential. Birds are a lot like kids in this way; at first, you can't stand broccoli, and after a few years, you can't imagine a salad without it.
Be sure to check a list of bird-approved foods before sharing new tastes with your feathers – some munchies you might not think of – like mushrooms and onions – are on the no-no list for birds. And, as with any dietary change, get the OK from your avian veterinarian before moving forward. Offering your bird a variety of healthy veggies, legumes, and whole grain pastas helps you discover what he likes, letting you two get to know one another better, and you'll feel good knowing he gets the best fresh nutrition.
Discover More!Tips for Feeding Your Bird
Important Vitamins and Minerals for Pet Birds
My First Bird: What Should I Feed My New Bird
Return to Bird Articles