Everything you need to know about budgies diet. Seed-only diet is not recommended, as it doesn't provide all nutrients your budgies needs to keep healthy. Poor diet leads to health problems, illnesses and shortens your budgie's life. And if you breed budgies - healthy diet helps birds fertility and is crucial to produce healthy eggs and chicks.
If you have any suggestions or questions, don't hesitate to contact me.
Seeds play undoubtedly crucial role in budgies diet. Dry seeds contain protein, fats. carbohydrates, some micro nutrients - all important for budgies health. Millet seeds are known as the most common and preferred by budgies. Seeds can also be soaked and when they become sprouts - they provide everything a growing plant needs to survive, so it's very beneficial for birds as well. Dried and soaked seeds increase the variety of nutrients.
VEGETABLES AND FRUIT
10-15% of budgie diet should consist, according to professional recommendation, vegetables and fruit. Most of it should, in fact, be green veggies (more veggies than fruit). That contains: spinach, celery sticks, basil, cucumber, roman lettuce, rocket, parsley, watercress, dill, parsnip, green beans (cooked), carrot, broccoli, cauliflower (both raw), sweetcorn (raw), coriander, beetroot (raw), tomatoes, kale, swede, apple, mango, watermelon, peach, pear, banana, strawberry, blueberry, kiwi, grapes, raspberry
Tropical fruit, like orange, pineapple are not recommended, as they are acidic and can cause upset stomach and diarrhoea. Other foods that are toxic and therefore a big no-no for budgies are: avocado, tomato leaves and stems, apple seeds, mashrooms and human food, like chocolate, sweets, salty snacks and spicy food.
Eggs are important part of budgies diet too. They have no carbohydrates but proved beneficial amino-acids, fats and proteins. Budgies eat insects in the wild, but as pets, can be fed eggs. Boiled eggs do the job; can be mashed up, or just chopped. Some birds prefer whites mashed up with yolks, some pick whites only. An important thing is you need to remove uneaten egg after 2 hours, otherwise it will start to rot and cause your budgie upset stomach (plus budgies usually dislike food that is not fresh, so if they have not eaten their egg, they will very unlikely eat it later). You don't offer eggs everyday though. Once a week is absolutely fine. Eggs are important part of budgies diet if you plan to breed them. In that case, you offer them every other day to stimulate breeding condition in female budgie and prepare her body to produce healthy eggs and chicks.
Cuttlebone is something many budgie owners forget to provide, but it's very important to keep your bird healthy. It's made of calcium - good for bones and potential eggs and babies - and budgies love nibbling on it.
Similar function as a cuttlebone. Contains all important minerals. Choose one with iodine. Its deficiency can lead to thyroid dysplasia (a malformation of the thyroid gland) that budgies happen to be prone to. Place a mineral block between cage bars; your birds will love it.
One of the most nutritious foods you can feed your budgie. Dried seeds have little nutritional value compared to sprouting seeds, which have all vitamins and nutrients required for a soon-to-be plant, so your bird can benefit from them too.
How to make sprouts?
All you need it seeds (millet or other hulled seeds you normally feed your budgie), sieve (ideally - plastic one), water and a jar. Rinse the seeds thoroughly a few times. Dirty seeds will contaminate water and that will spoil your sprouts. Once clean - move them to a jar, cover with water and soak for 24 hours (covered with a paper towel or something that lets air in). Next - remove water, rinse thoroughly and leave in a jar, away from the direct sunlight. Rinse everyday, twice a day. You should see sprouts within 2-4 days. They're the best when a few days old. Make sure you rinse them a couple of times a day, to avoid fermentation and mold growing. (Mold appears when sprouts are too deep in water or if there is no air circulation.
Grasses are a good addition to budgies diet. In the wild budgies extract seeds from grasses, so offering them to your bird supports natural behaviours. Your budgie will love a bunch of freshly cut grasses. Remember to pick the ones with seeds; grass blades will not serve the purpose (unless you offer them to play with or as an addition to budgie bath). Use plastic clips for freezer bags or clothes-pins to attach the grasses to top of budgie's cage, or their playground. Pick grasses from the areas far from motorways and busy roads, as they poison your bird (parks, meadows, gardens, woods are fine). Don't forget to wash them before giving them to your bird.
How to get your budgies to eat vegetables and fruit?
If your budgie is not used to eating vegetables and fruit, it may take a while to get them to try some. Budgies will not eat something they don't see it as food.
So if your bird has not been fed veggies and fruit from the beginning - it will take him a while to understand he's supposed to eat them too. You can try a few things that may help:
use some vegetables/fruit that I wrote above and sprinkle them with seeds. Your budgie will most likely nibble the seeds and eventually (or by accident) eat some veggies.
make small portions. budgies have tiny stomachs and won't eat much (unless they feed the babies), plus - bigger portions may scare them off and won't consider them as food.
use baby steps technique. Try giving two veggies at a time. It'll save you money you spend on veggies (unless you buy them for yourself anyway). And that way you'll see which particular vegetables your bird is likely to eat or not. Keep giving those two veggies every day for a week and if your bird doesn't try it - swap for something else next week.
try giving vegetables in different forms and see which of them your budgie prefers. It might be chopped, sliced, shredded, whole, bigger chunks, small cubes, on a skewer, as stripes/peels, etc. Birds have their preferences and what they will love chopped, they won't eat whole. For example - they may not like a whole carrot, but a thin peel will be much appreciated (you can peel carrot, parsnip, swede, cucumber, courgette, etc). Again - try one method for a few days, and if they're not interested - try another. Don't give up too quickly. Give them at least a few days, even a week.
try offering veggies in different dishes (one at a time). You can try putting them in a shallow dish/saucer on the bottom of their cage, or in a metal/plastic container hung on the side, or from the top of the cage, or - if using whole pieces/chunks - put them between the bars of the cage. Again - if they don't like it, try another way after a week.
budgies like fresh food. If you got them some vegetables and they did not touch them for a whole day - remove them, as they won't like them old. Fresh is best. Remove all uneaten food to avoid health complications and replace with fresh food everyday.
vegetables are better for birds than fruits. So if your bird is ok with broccoli and kale but doesn't like grapes - it's fine. Fruits are full of sugar and are not necessary. Vegetables are much healthier (especially green and orange veggies).
bright colours in food are not the best choice for 'beginners', so if you're trying to get your budgie to eat vegetables and fruits - start from green veggies, like kale, basil, coriander, spinach, not red, like red pepper (that will come next, when they're more familiar with vegetables)
wet it! Budgies are more likely to try wet vegetables than dry. So wet kale or basil leaves and your bird will come to see what it is. They love playing and bathing in wet grasses, so that way should at least be a good fun them and they may try to nibble some.
tie a small bunch of coriander, basil, or a piece of spinach tightly to your budgie's favourite toy. He'll be watching it carefully for some time, wondering if it's still is toy, or maybe something dangerous that can kill him, but will come to investigate at some point
keep experimenting and do not give up! Try it every day and they'll come around eventually. Even if it seems pointless for a few days, they'll try some veggies eventually. At first they may not know what to expect and be scared of 'something new' in the cage, but since they're curious creatures - they'll eventually come to investigate.
some budgie specialists advice to remove seeds from the cage at night and offer just veggies in the morning when the birds are the most hungry and apparently more likely to try anything. Personally - I don't find this technique fair, as I would not like my birds to go hungry and force them to anything