Pet Bird Food Guide & Info

parrots eating

The food that you give your pet bird is extremely important, as it has a huge impact on their overall health.

The more you learn about what to feed your bird, the easier it will be to take good care of them over the years.

A Balanced Diet

It is crucial that you feed your bird a balanced diet to keep it healthy. Most birds require some combination of nuts, seeds, pellets, fruits, vegetables, insects and flowers. Those who do not feed their bird a balanced diet put them at risk for bacterial infections, fungal infections, and other issues. The last thing you want to do is to give your bird too much of any one type of food.

1. Seeds for Birds

A vast majority of birds need to get some amount of seeds in their diet on a daily basis. This will help to keep them as healthy as possible. It is important that you know which seeds are best for birds so you can provide them with a truly nutritious overall diet.

parrot eat

Black Oil Sunflower

Black oil sunflower seeds are fairly cheap and very good for most birds. They are also fairly small, which means that your bird won’t have to exert much force to get them open. These seeds have lots of oil compared to other kinds. They consist of 40% fat, 20% carbohydrates, and 16% protein.

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Hulled Sunflower

Hulled sunflower seeds do not have a shell, which is just one of the reasons why they are so great for birds. Pretty much any bird will gladly eat these seeds, and you can give them to your feathery friend on a daily basis.


There are also safflower seeds, which many different types of birds can eat with no problem whatsoever. This includes finches, cardinals, and even chickadees. They consist of 38% fat, 34% carbohydrates, and 16% protein, making them quite nutritious.

Thistle Seeds

Nyjer or thistle seeds are extremely small and perfect for tiny birds like goldfinches. You’ll need to keep in mind that these seeds are especially prone to spoiling. This means that you’ll have to make a point of replacing them each day. They consists of 36% fat, 13% carbohydrates, and 21% protein.

2. Formulated Bird Food

There are lots of different formulated bird foods that you can buy online and in pet supply stores. These foods are generally a nice balance of fruits, vegetables, grains and seeds. They also include excellent sources of protein, which is vital for keeping your pet healthy.

You will find that many formulated foods have baked ingredients to enhance their taste. It is necessary for you to get a food that is specifically formulated for the type of bird you have. This will ensure that their nutritional requirements are met.

Keep in mind that some of these foods have a higher fat content than others. You’ll have to consider the needs of your bird in particular before deciding on one of these food products in particular. Some of them are low in fat and are packed with protein.

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Most birds need to be on a diet that consists mostly of a pellet/seed mix, with some fruits and vegetables.

3. Fruits and Vegetables

Your bird can definitely benefit from eating fruits and vegetables on a regular or at least semi-regular basis. This should make up thirty percent of their total diet at most. These foods are generally loaded with vitamins and minerals that will keep your bird healthy.

Some of the best fruits to give birds include mango, apples, berries, honeydew, melon, cherries, pineapple, banana, cranberries, kiwi, tangerines, papaya, star fruit, grapes, apricots, oranges, peaches and pears.

Some of the vegetables that are good for birds include radishes, kale, parsley, endive, tomato, green beans, Swiss chard, cauliflower, eggplant, and the head and leaves of broccoli.

While it is true that fruits and veggies are great for birds, you’ll need to give them to your pet in moderation. It is important that you give them these foods raw with minimal preparation. Your bird might be more likely to eat some of these foods if you hang them up in their enclosure. This could make them a bit more enticing.

4. Supplements

You don’t typically need to give most adult birds any nutritional supplements to maintain their overall health, but it is sometimes a good idea. You should consult with your veterinarian to find out if this is a good idea. While some bird owners give their pets vitamin supplements, it is fairly easy for these animals to overdose on them.

parakeet eating

Foods You Should Never Give Your Bird

There are a number of foods that you should never give your pet birds under any circumstances. These foods can have a toxic effect on these animals, so you should keep them out of their diet altogether.

  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Fruit pits
  • Table salt
  • Processed foods high in fat
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
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  • It is absolutely crucial that you provide your pet bird with a balanced diet so all of its nutritional needs are met.
  • Most birds love eating seeds, including safflower, black oil sunflower, and thistle.
  • There are lots of formulated bird food options, so you’ll need to get one that is made for the type of bird you have.
  • Take the time to research your bird food options by going online to read customer reviews before making a final decision.
  • There are lots of fruits and vegetables that can be highly beneficial to your bird. These foods should not make up more than 30% of their total diet.
  • You should feed your bird mostly pellet/seed mix that is specifically formulated for them.
  • Dietary supplements are usually not needed, but you can ask your veterinarian if they recommend your bird take one.
  • It is important that you know which foods never to feed your birds so you can avoid a potentially fatal reaction.