The parrot discussed in this blog post is a member of the Healthy Bird Project.
What is ‘over preening’? Many people assume that parrots are just too rough with their feathers.
As a result, poor nutrition is never identified as the true cause. Feathers grown from unbalanced nutrition produce poor feather quality. And this means that these weaker feathers become easily damaged when the bird grooms himself. According to the Handbook of Bird Biology, from Cornell Lab, US, “Nutritional deficiencies can lead to minor changes in barbule structure”. A feather grown with wholesome, balanced nutrition easily endures a parrot’s grooming.
Quality Feathers Need Complete Protein
Feathers are made of protein. They represent the largest amount of the protein mass in a bird’s body. In budgerigars and lovebirds, protein makes up 5.7 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively, of the body weight. This is 28 percent and 22 percent of the total body protein. The amino acids that make up feathers are very different from those that make up the body proteins, or egg proteins.
This means that when you feed your bird a complete protein food (such as our sprouting blends) the body can choose from a wide selection of amino acids to grow healthy feathers and a healthier body.
Before Photo and Prior Diet
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His caretaker was concerned about his feather destruction habits, his hyperactivity, poor feather condition and periodic aggressive behavior.
His diet included: a vegetable chop made from yellow squash, carrots, beet, radish, red/yellow/orange bell pepper, broccoli, collard greens, frozen peas, organic steel cut oats sprinkled on top of chop to soak in the moisture. He was also fed a non-organic well known pellet, two Pine nuts, two Pistachios, one Almond and one Cashew. A little AviCalm Nutritional supplement was sprinkled on the food daily (quarter of the little scoop that comes with it) and Featheriffic Grow Fabulous Feathers Supplement (an eighth of the little scoop that comes with it).
The supplements contained unhealthy ingredients.
1. The Avicalm contains one amino acid (not an essential) and maltodextrin. Maltodextrin has been linked to causing may bad side effects. I’ll write a future blog post on the dangers of maltodextrin.
2. And the Featheriffic. Once your bird is eating his walnuts, this means you can stop using this product. Walnuts contain the ideal balance of omega-3 to omega-6 EFAs. Omega-3 is a minor nutrient in healthy feather growth.
Q & A
Leslie: Where did you learn that these supplements may be good products to give your parrot?
Caretaker: I will discontinue use of these both. I’ve learned about these both from many parrot groups on Facebook.
For those reading this blog post PLEASE be cautious of all information you get from random sources online. There is much wrong information on exotic avian nutrition on the internet. Even people with advanced degrees have misconceptions about how to feed parrots and finches the proper balance of foods that actually provides these birds all the hundreds of nutrients they need to eat everyday. The information they are teaching is ‘old news’.
More, On the Two Supplements
Additional concerns I have about these two supplements are, first, it’s easy to over dose (over supplement) vit A and vit D. The label does not list the amounts of these two supplements. And second, there is no phosphorus listed on the label either. This means that the required ratio of calcium to phosphorus, to promote proper calcium absorption, may not exist in the product. In my opinion, these supplements do not support improved feather quality.
And, looking at the product label, there’s no explanation of where the lecithin comes from, or the amount it contains. Lecithin is usually sourced from soy.
No one should eat soy themselves, or feed it to any animal or person they care about.
As soon as you start feeding your parrot the Best Bird Food Ever sprouts and the walnuts, please discontinue the use of these products. Feed your parrot balanced nutrition by feeding him the foods in my ‘Balanced Exotic Avian Maintenance Diet Food Plan’.
The Pellets and Poor Quality Feathers
The pellets you’re feeding may contain additives, colorings, and chemical preservatives that can be contributing to his hyperactivity. Gradually wean him off of these pellets. Instead, you can substitute a small amount of the BBFE Cooked Mash during the diet transition period. Recipe at this link, “Feeding Parrots BBFE Mash”. Feeding poor quality food makes for poor feather quality.
Six Months Later
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For information on the Healthy Bird Project email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For information on Leslie’s ‘Balanced Exotic Avian maintenance Diet Food Plan’, that this parrot was fed, watch Leslie’s 4 Part Video Presentation on this topic at this link: “Balanced Exotic Avian Maintenance Diet Food Plan”
And download Leslie’s Free Report, at this link: “Why Your Parrots Need Balanced Nutrition”.
Please let us know what you think about the information in this blog post. Make a comment, or send us an email showing your parrot’s feather quality.