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How to Feed a Pet Bird

Learn how to feed a pet bird in this Howcast video featuring veterinarian Laurie Hess.


People ask us all the time about what they should feed their birds. And we know that what you feed your bird is important to their nutrition and their health, overall. Birds live longer and are much healthier when on a balanced diet.

For most birds, we recommend a pelleted diet. There are different types of pellets for different types of birds, but it's kind of like cereal for kids. It's a nutritionally balanced, complete diet, that you know if they get a good meal of pellets every day, they're at least getting overall good nutrition.

We usually say about two-thirds of a bird's diet should be made up of pellets. You can feed some table foods, some people food, like fruits and vegetables. You want to avoid high salt foods, high sugar foods, things that are very fatty, because some birds are prone to getting high cholesterol and atherosclerosis, or hardening of their arteries. Most food, really, should be purchased from a store that is commercially available for birds.

No fatty treats like seeds and nuts. They should be really limited. What about making your own bird food? A lot of people do ask if they can make their own food for their bird. I think it makes people feel nice to have the idea to cook for their bird and give them proper nutrition, but unfortunately, in our own homes, we are unable to make the correct mix of vitamins and nutrients in a food for birds. Most pelleted diets are very scientifically formulated to have the correct amount of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin E. We can very easily miss things or even give our birds something that's not appropriate, if we were to try to make our own diets at home.

So, while we may have good intentions by trying to balance our bird's diet, giving them healthy foods that we would eat, a bird cannot really get the right nutrition from the food that we provide alone. So, the answer really is, a good pelleted diet, meant for the species of bird that you own, is the best thing that you could feed your bird.

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