Birds Need More Than Just Seed: avian nutrition

Most bird owners think that bird seed is all birds need to eat.   However, just like dogs and cats, birds need a variety of foods in order to obtain all the nutrients they need.    Birds love seed and if given a choice will eat them in place of other food sources placed in theiri bowl.   Unfortunately seeds contain an abundance of very tasty fat but  lack many other essential nutrients.     Therefore  birds that are seed junky will become look fat but are actually nutritionally deficient.   Consequently, in addition to seed birds should be fed raw colorful fruits and veggies,  non sugar cereal grains, dairy in the form of yogurt  and cheese, and even meat  as way of providing a full range of nutrienrts.    Adding a comprehensive vitamin, mineral fatty acid supplement will help plug any nutritional holes.

One of the best ways to enhance the bird’s diet with  additional nutrients  and a ton of  antioxidants  is  to feed a variety of colorful fruits and veggies.   This can be done by cutting the fruits and veggies into small pieces and placing them  in dish inside the cages.   If  the bird ignores the new foods place the veggies or fruits  on top of the seed in the seed dish.  The bird will have to push these new foods away in order to get to the seed.   After a while the bird may become less suspicious  of  the new food  and start eating them .   If this approach doesn’t work then take out the seed dish  and leave only the veggy bowl in the cage.     After about 4 hours replace the seed for 4 hours and then repeat the process.   Hopefully, during the time when the seed has been removed the bird will become hungry and try the veggies.   Always use organic colorful fruits and veggies because they contain a higher level of of  antioxidants and other nutrients.   Remember to clean and wash them thoroughly  in order to remove  chemical  insecticides which have been sprayed on the food.   If necessary  remove the wax or peel them.    Another way of feeding fruits and veggies is to juice them .   Both the juice and the pulp can be fed. .     Serve the juice as if it were water but only leave the juice in the cage for approximately 4 hours so that it does not begin to grow bacteria.   The pulp can be put in a bowl for consumption.

Besides fruit juice, be sure and supply fresh water and change the water in the bowl twice daily.     Because birds are so small and drink so little most anyone can afford to provide their bird with the more nutritious  alkaline or structured water  (Penta water or Trinity).    These waters are more hydrating and detoxifying and provide antioxidant power .    Make sure to place the water or juice bowls above the perch so the bird doesn’t  drop stool in them.


Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique, very personal, one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, ferrets rodents, and reptiles with both traditional and alternative medicine. Dr. Simon is certified in Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Stem cell therapy. He is the author of 4 pet care books, a past president of the Oakland County Veterinary Medical Association and past board member of the  American Holistic Veterinary Association.   Visit us at

Woodside Animal Clinic sees pets from all over Michigan but primarily from the greater Detroit area including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Washtenaw counties. Cities in these counties include:  Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Detroit, Redford,  Allen Park, Romulus, Trenton, Livonia, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Warren, Centerline, Clawson, Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Birmingham, Lathrup Village, Bingham Farms,  Franklin, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Northville,Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Clarkston, Waterford, Union Lake, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica, White Lake, Grosse Pointe, Romeo, Swartz Creek,  Shelby township, Washington,  Flint, Hartland, Lansing, Okemos, Howell, Brighton, White Lake, Romeo, Saline, South Lyon, Battle Creek, Saginaw, Windsor Canada, Toledo Ohio

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