Is a seed diet really bad for your bird?

There’s a lot of talk today in the caged bird keeper community about how bad seeds are for our birds. We should be introducing bird chops to our our birds. If you are not familiar with bird chop – you mix up about a pound of fresh lettuce, beans and vegetables and fruit and serve to your bird.

Most birds will eat less than 1% of that 1 pound of chop which is why we let Popcorn just steal some nibbles from our plates – as long as she does not walk across our plates.

Then there’s the whole pellet argument. Pellets are engineered foods. They pack the most nutrition per kilo/calorie if you will – than any other form of food. We love seeing birds on pellets because we know that they don’t require additional vitamin supplementation which is usually the case with seeds.

rock parakeet Australia

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Hagen Tropimix is a wonderful blend of fruits veggies, seeds and pellets where all of the seeds have had their hulls removed so it’s a very clean blend with minimal waste, virtually 100% of the mix can be eaten. Pellets are less messy than seeds, then again there are no pellet trees in the rain forest.

We get a lot of request to talk about certain species which we try to do – last week it was Caiques. We’ve done posts on Amazons and on Lories but when I mention Australian grass parakeets most people say, “huh”?

The Bourkes parakeet is the exception in coloration in that Rosy Bourke’s have a brilliant pinkish tone – the other six species – Blue-winged parakeet – Elegant parakeet aka Rock parakeet – Orange-bellied parakeet – Scarlet-chested parakeet – Turquoisine parakeet – have grass green backs which helps them camouflage well.

Blue-winged Parrot (Neophema chrysostoma), Mortimer Bay, Tasmania, Australia.JJ Harrison (

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The flip-side is their colors are anything but boring. And I’m using them in this discussion to talk about seeds because the Australian grass parakeets feed entirely on the ground and mostly on (grass) seeds. They have lovely voices and rarely get into trouble.

Is not to say that we are suggesting that you don’t even try to convert them to pellets – just making the point that sometimes seeds are okay although you always want to introduce some form of vitamin and fresh food supplementation.

These small birds don’t have the red bull type of personality budgies do (Who are a cousin to grass parakeets) with all sorts of activity, they’re are a little more laid-back. Because they have short legs and small feet it’s best to leave them fully flighted because they are not built for lots of climbing. The tiny beaks have a hard time gripping many surfaces.

The most commonly known of these pet birds is the Bourkes parakeet which is relatively small, very calm and usually quite tame.

Is this where we segway into what seeds are best, Mitch? For that I will let all of you decide. I will start by delving in to some bird food lines one at a time

Our bird food category is a robust 42 subcategories so I know it spins some people around, especially the newbies. We going to start with the Volkman Seed Company.

This company has been producing birdseed since 1863 and we feel it’s one of the cleanest caged bird seeds available today. They are located in California’s sunny San Joaquin Valley, one of the world’s most fertile agricultural regions for premium-quality fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and seeds.

In addition to serving caged bird keepers you will find their seed in veterinary schools, clinics, zoos and aviaries.

One important note: Volkman is now using NON GMO white corn in their parrot food mixes.

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Seeds are tested in an independent lab for the possible presence of E. coli and Streptococcus, then super cleaned, CO2 flushed, and packed in air-barrier bags to seal in freshness.

Volkman mixes contain over 50 essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids bonded to pre-hulled seeds. Fruits and vegetables are human grade and seeds are germination tested for freshness. They use no dog food, cat food, meat, poultry or fish by-products, animal fats, chemical preservatives or artificial food colors.

We’re offering 31 SKUs of Volkman from their Avian Science Line which are nutritionally balanced bird diets fortified with vitamins, minerals, bonded amino acids and select grains.

Scarlet Chested Parakeet - Neophema splendida. Taken at Cincinnati Zoo. Photo by Greg Hume

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Meaning we have it available for finches, canaries, macaws, cockatoos, and everything in between, including a special non vitamin fortified blend for Eclectus parrots. All mixes contain exceptionally clean, all-natural, human-grade ingredients. And a tradition of trust for generations of healthy birds.

The Featherglow line is a group of specialty mixes and treats incorporating a wide variety of shapes, colors, and textures, including American-made pellets, and convenient Soak ‘n Serve or Soak ‘n Cook entrees. Volkman calls Featherglow “The Smart Solution for Brighter Birds”.

And they are all packed in re-sealable zip-lock poly bags for added convenience and use multi-layer lined bulk bags for added freshness. They were also the first bird company to introduce nitrogen-flushed bags for extended shelf-life.

written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing
approved by nora caterinao

your zygodactyl footnote in

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Mitch Rezman

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they visited monthly birdie brunches in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

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