A trio of picky parrots – conure, cockatiel and parakeet are picky eaters – help!

budgies eating millet

From: Wanda  <xxxxxxx@gmail.com>

I have 3 birds, a conure, cockatiel and a parakeet. My birds are really fussy about their food. I feed the parakeet Hartsfield, the cockatiel is very fussy, I’m trying  to teach her to forge her food. She just throw her food out of the cage and use her dish as a toilet. The conure is very fussy too but she does look for her food until she finds what she wants.

Hi Wanda,

You didn’t mention how your birds are housed so I must assume they are each in their own cage of appropriate size. If they share a big cage or aviary, the dynamics of the situation change somewhat. 

You mentioned that you feed the parakeet Hartsfield. This is not a brand I’m familiar with nor could I find it on the internet. I believe you mean Hartz Mountain, a common brand of small bird food sold in cardboard boxes in superstores and grocery stores. I can’t recommend using that type of food because it may have been on the shelf and in warehousing for a very long time since it was packaged. The food can be old and won’t provide good nutrition for your little keet. The same is true if you are buying food for your cockatiel and conure at places that do not specialize in the freshest, healthiest bird diets. It can contain moth larvae that eat the inside of the seeds, leaving nothing for the bird and only causes seed moths to fly around your house unless you are unusually clean about removing every single seed every day. 

Any all seed diet requires supplementation or you are slowly starving the bird to death, significantly shortening its lifespan and leaving it open to opportunistic diseases. All your birds may fit into this category. More about supplements further on.

Birds that are on all seed diets can be converted to pellet diets with which no supplements are required. The conversion can be very easy with some birds but require a little longer with others. You find your birds to be picky eaters but they would convert over time. In fact, we have a plan on how to do the conversion as easily as possible. This plan happens to refer to Hagen pellets, a very good balanced option available for every size bird but the concepts are valid for any brand of pellet diet. 

Great choices in pellet diets include those available for your size birds from Higgin’s Intune line of pellets or Harrison’s Organic NonGMO pellet line. Either of these choices are available in sizes for every parrot species and they are great for foraging by hiding some in foraging toys.

We have found that Hagen Living World parakeet seed is a very excellent, fresh product that comes in factory sealed bags. It has a “use before” date, just like human foods so you know you are not feeding old, stale seed. The fresher the seed, the more nutrients it has available for the bird. Higgins Vita Seed with Probiotics is also available for your parakeet as well as your other parrots.

lorikeets eating meat outside

we have learned these Australian lorikeets are carnivores

You didn’t mention what you are feeding the cockatiel and conure so I imagine you are feeding them seed diets as well. You’ll find a great choice for each in Hagen Living World Cockatiel blend and Hagen Living World Small Parrot blend or choose the appropriate size Vita Seed blend from the Higgins link above.

You mentioned the conure picks through the food until it finds what it wants. The problem with this is that it is only eating some of the types of seed in the food. All too often they choose the high fat seeds like sunflower, rejecting all else. Cockatiels sometimes do the same thing with their food. By choosing a no sunflower blend like  in the size for cockatiels to conures, you’ll avoid the “sunflower addict” problem and round out their nutrition. Or choose one of the other no sunflower foods for your cockatiel and conure.

You mentioned foraging and birds need to forage for some of their food. It is more like the experience they have in nature. You can use special treats, fruits, veggies and Lafebers AviCakes and Nutriberries to provide enrichment in their diet and lives.

If you do choose to stick with a seed diet, and many parrot parents do choose to do so — me included, you can add Avitech Avivita Plus multivitamin supplement or Nekton S multivitamin supplement.  If you have a specific health problem, your vet may recommend additional supplements which you will find in the Avitech and Nekton sections of the site.

Good luck and please let us know how you decide to proceed and your experiences.

written by nora caterino
approved by mitch rezman

your zygodactyl footnote

 

Proper Bird and Parrot Cage Placement

sulfur crested cockatoo on top of cage

One of the first things I evaluate with a problem bird is their cage. Where it is located, size, shape, and how it is set up.

Many behavior problems can be attributed to having your parrot in improper surroundings. Their cage should be a safe haven for them with plenty of things to keep them busy.

A good bird cage should be easy to keep clean, and it should not be round. The bar spacing should be appropriate for the type of bird or parrot that is housed in it.

Read moreProper Bird and Parrot Cage Placement

Light Up Your Bird Cage with Florescent Budgies a Gift from NASA

budgie wearing space helmet

Okay that’s a bit of a stretch but if you could see what budgies see – not so much.

A couple weeks ago we talked about not fully understanding the effects of ultraviolet lighting on our birds. Something that not a lot of us including myself fully understand.

Leave it to NASA to set the record straight on the correlation between parrots and the center of our galaxy. Admitted science geek that I am, lots of interesting content crosses my desktop daily.

Rummaging through the archives of Science Magazine there’s an article from January 2002 entitled ”Fluorescent Signaling in Parrots” by Katherine Arnold At the University of Glasgow.

Find all our higgins bird food here

About a week later in the Journal of Nature you’ll find reports on the fluorescence that has been seen in the Galactic Center in an article by astronomer Q Daniel Wayne of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The first article explains how ultraviolet light is absorbed by budgies (as well as other parrots) feathers on the crown and the cheeks and then the light gets re-emitted – as yellow light which is a longer wavelength.

budgies shown under ultraviolet light

Figure 1. Budgerigar’s head (A) under white light and (B) under UV illumination to induce yellow fluorescence. (C) Crown irradiated with UV light only (dashed line), resulting in human visible fluorescent emission (solid line). (D) Normalized visual difference between the emission spectrum of plumage, measured as radiant emission from feathers (solid line) and the spectral sensitivities of the four single cones classes of the budgerigar’s retina (dashed lines) (4). (Credit: K.Arnold et al., Science, 295, 92)

Basically what Ms. Arnold found was that both boy and girl budgies used the fluorescence of birds of the opposite sex and their glowing feathers that fluoresced in a light spectrum range that neither you nor I can see as an indicator for the quality of a possible mate.

Find all our higgins bird food here

Going back to the second story the geeky science astronomer guys and gals using pics that mere mortals have no access to because they have the Chandra X-ray Observatory to play with and made really cool images of the Milky Way Check it out!

A 400 by 900 light-year mosaic of images located about 26,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius.

This Chandra image exposes a wealth of exotic objects and high-energy features at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. In this new and deep image from Chandra, red represents lower-energy X-rays, green shows the medium range, and blue indicates the higher-energy X-rays.

Hundreds of small dots show emission from material around black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs. A supermassive black hole — some four million times more massive the Sun — resides within the bright, blue-white region on the right.

The diffuse X-ray light comes from gas heated to millions of degrees by outflows from the supermassive black hole, winds from giant stars, and stellar explosions.

This 400 by 900 light-year mosaic of several Chandra images of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy reveals hundreds of white dwarf stars, neutron stars, and black holes bathed in an incandescent fog of multimillion-degree gas. 

The supermassive black hole at the center of the Galaxy is located inside the bright white patch in the center of the image. The colors indicate X-ray energy bands – red (low), green (medium), and blue (high).

Now that I’ve got you spun around scientifically, what the science guys and gals are saying is, forgetting fluorescence from parrot feathers for a moment, if you look at iron atoms that happen to take up a really big portion of the Milky Way galaxy (see image above), this fluorescence happens when – following x-rays that bump into electrons knocking said electrons out of the insides of the iron atoms which somehow excites the atoms so much so they produce more energy.

 

fluorescent suits are NOT chick magnets – you’ve been warned
Rounding third base here: The atoms calm down emitting a fluorescent x-ray which is a longer wavelength and is basically the same process that causes budgies to glow fluorescently (I think I made that word up) in the eyes of other budgies.

caveat: 

Some people are able to reflect the light that lands on them, to take directions or assets or energy and focus it where it needs to be focused. This is a really valuable skill.

Even more valuable, though, is the person who glows in the dark. Not reflecting energy, but creating it. Not redirecting urgencies but generating them. The glow in the dark colleague is able to restart momentum, even when everyone else is ready to give up.

Find all our higgins bird food here

At the other end of the spectrum (ahem) is the black hole. All the energy and all the urgency merely disappears.

Your glow in the dark colleague knows that recharging is eventually necessary, but for now, it’s okay that there’s not a lot of light. The glow is enough. Seth Godin

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

your zygodactly footnote
(no inventory of budgies in space videos so we’re going with our favorite animals in space video)

Teaching Bacon the budgie to fly with clipped wings

lue budge on perch white backdrop

From Birdie Brunch reader Betsy Lane:

File under “the universe is too complicated to be arbitrary” which begs the question “does a dyslexic agnostic believe in dog?”

THANK YOU for today’s (9/11/16) birdy brunch!  It was perfectly timed….

Yesterday evening, a Quaker parrot landed on my friend’s head while he was out on his deck (near Lawrence and Kedzie) . I took the bird overnight and am trying to find its owner (it’s not wild). I’ve used the links in your post, as well as spreading the word on FB and among my bird-rescue friends. We can’t keep this guy (already have one bird in quarantine–now two–and a hubby recovering from pretty major spine surgery), so hopefully his rightful owner will surface soon.

Just wanted to say thanks!

That’s CRAZY in a good way – best of luck – shoot us a pic and contact info and we’ll post it on Facebook

Thank you!

quaker parrot monk parakeet eating a morel of food

Bungees & other Soft Perches

The bird is currently being fostered, and I’ve asked the foster “mom” for contact info. In the meantime, here are a few pics of the little guy. He landed on my (male) friend’s head in the 4900 block of N Francisco last Saturday late afternoon.

He ate peanuts off his head and then rode around on his shoulder for awhile (which is how they got him inside and into a cage). He was stressed but seemed healthy and really acted like someone’s pet bird as opposed to a wild one.

Hi again!

Kathy at Happe Parrots Rescue helped me with this situation. She has the contact info for the foster, and is happy to talk to you if you have a minute. (I asked her for contact info to send to you directly, but I think she was more comfortable doing it this way.)

I really hope we can find this guy a good home soon. Seems like a nice bird!

Thanks again for all the great tips in the last Birdy Brunch!!!

And thank you for a great opening act Betsy

Geek warning

Whether it’s a child learning to tie it shoes or pilot learning how to fly a 747 the four stages of learning are the same.

1) unconscious incompetency – you don’t know what you don’t know – as in “we’re going to teach you how to tie your shoes today, Susie”.

2) which now makes Susie a conscious incompetent – she now knows that she doesn’t know how to tie shoes.

3) it becomes conscious competency – you’re able to accomplish a task but you need to think about each step – “put one lace over the other – create two loops – one loop under another and pull it tight”.

4) unconscious competency is you driving a car – you’re thinking about where you have to be – paying bills – where the kids are – you’re not thinking about the mechanics of driving – they are being taken care of at some other part of your brain.

You bring a new bird home – it’s always been in a cage. Boy it would be fun to see the bird fly. The bird flies into a wall not hurting himself but you say, “they were right on the Internet you should not let your birds fly in the home, because they will fly into a wall or a mirror.”

Have you given this much thought, Martha?

Bungees & other Soft Perches

I would imagine most of you reading this are drivers. There’s probably some aspiring drivers as well. Let’s go back to that day when you got your learners permit and dad takes you out to the big parking lot.

You get the seat adjusted – the mirrors, the seatbelt. Foot on brake – put the car into drive – hands at two and ten – and you accelerate slowly. Dad calmly says “let’s try a stop.”

Which you did and somehow the airbags didn’t deploy when the two of you were thrown towards the front of the car due to near Newton’s third law (Google it)

This is when dad said, see this will never work out, you will never drive, get out, let me drive home and call it a day.

find all our hagen bird food here too

Even if you went solo you found yourself maybe coming too close to another car making a turn too fast, and it took a number of miles over a number of months or even years before you were comfortable driving.

A subtle change in our rebranding program with the new website is the retiring of the tagline Simply Everything for Exotic Birds. Which means we have a lot to sell the caged bird keeper – which we do.

The new tagline We Speak Bird @ Windy City Parrot is meant to convey that we understand how birds think and we want you to learn their thought processes.

There is and always will be the debate between clipping birds and allowing birds to be flighted. We are advocates of flighted birds BUT it’s not that simple. Parrots in the wild can fly dozens if not 100 miles or more each day seeking food.

Recently a self driving Tesla rear ended a truck killing a person. At the time the vehicle relied on cameras for positioning around other vehicles.

The forensic investigation discovered that it was a very bright day and the truck was very white so the car’s computer decided the white truck was sky. Tesla has now installed radar in the self driving cars as an added level of safety.

So here’s a hypothetical, your bird flies across a room for the very first time in flies into a wall? Is it possible for the bird to know the difference between wall and cloud or sky?

Birds don’t know what glass is. A male canary will argue with the other male canary in the mirror until it drops – which is why you never put mirrors in canary cages.

find all our hagen bird food here too

We are going to work with Bacon the way we started with our cockatiel Popcorn – who flew into a wall and landed behind a dresser less than an hour of being in our home.

Last night we clipped Bacon’s wing feathers. This accomplishes a couple of things. The birds confidence level is reduced – a good thing in this case because it’s only temporary and the chance of flying into a wall has been diminished.

That said don’t ever think for a minute a clipped bird cannot fly – you’ve been warned

Next we’ll see how much lift she has out of the cage (yes, Bacon is a girl).

your zygodactyl footnote
(I was having a problem replacing my toner cartridge and came across this video)

 

Bacon (the budgie) In Our House – A Blue Bird of Paradise Finds Us

blue white budgie parakeet seed husks stuck to face

Editor’s note: We have quietly rehomed a number of large birds found by the Chicago Police and Fire Departments over the years. We found Popcorn, (a citizen calling to say a white bird was stuck in the bushes). We post pictures to Facebook and local neighborhood groups.

Here’s the story if you’ve not seen it: read this

How To Tell If Your Budgie Is Male or Female – As Well As Age

While we were having dinner together, I casually brought up to Mitch that I took in a stray parakeet today. A man passing by saw it in a tree and asked me for a net and a ladder to catch it. I supplied him with the items, not knowing if I would ever see him again much less my ladder and net. But only 5 minutes later he returned with the bird in the net and a big smile on his face.

man with rescued blue budgie in net

 

He didn’t want the bird as his concern was mainly for the bird’s survival and safety as he knew it would not know how to find food in the wilds of Chicago. I think he enjoyed the chase and having saved the bird.

He gave me the bird to find it a home and left. So I put it in a small cage we keep on hand (this has happened before), gave him some fresh food and water and parked him in the shop for the night. I identified it as a boy due to its light blue cere. He was eating when I left him.

Editors note: In case you don’t know, the cere is the area on birds where the nostrils are located. In adult parakeets it has a somewhat leathery appearance while parakeets under one year of age have a smooth often pinkish-brown cere in both genders. Once the budgie reaches about one year of age, the cere will, in most mutations, turn blue in males and anywhere from dark pink to deep brown in females.

2 green budgies on branch one sleeping

A few of the mutations are a bit difficult to differentiate this way with absolute certainty, but Bacon is not a member of one of these subsets. Catherine was therefore able to easily be sure that Bacon is a male of greater than one year of age. 

So, I was concerned Mitch would grouse that now we have a parakeet to deal with for awhile since he is used to a bigger bird, but no. He perked right up at the news and went right into the shop to get it. He was gone awhile because, of course he came home with the bird and an armload of supplies and treats.

Refresher post from 2 months ago Birds are like soul mates & should find you – right?http://www.birdandparrot.info/blog/2016/07/07/birds-like-soul-mates-find-right/

Mitch immediately started setting up Popcorn’s old cage. Changing the light bulb, changing out old toys and perches for new ones. Then he brought over the little cage to the big cage for the transfer. Bacon (the budgies new name, LOL) was not startled enough by my tapping the cage to leave the cage so I reached in and scooped him out bare handed and deposited him in the larger cage. I felt him try to beak me but not hard, his struggles were strong but not wild. I think he may be partially tame. He did not bite.

Right now he is fully feathered so he will stay caged for his safety. He saw the Tidy Seed Feeder with food in it and he was kind of confused dancing around trying to figure out how to get the food, then just scurried over to the side of the cage, climbed down and hopped right into the feeder. Took about 2 minutes in case anyone wants to know how hard it is to get a budgie to eat out of one. LOL.

Editor’s note: BTW Bacon (who I named in about 4 minutes) the blue budgie was brought to our home. No post was found in our three Ukrainian neighborhood Facebook groups for a lost bird. No small bird missing on Parrots 911 and my guess is the bird probably escaped from a pet box store – I’ve seen their caregivers in action.

Mitch was totally jazzed. He was glowing at our new little house guest. He immediately set up the camera to record the event and I hoped the little guy was as happy to be here as we were to have him here.

Let’s talk about parakeets, a misunderstood species. You’ll look at Bacon and call it a budgie although technically it is an American “pied” parakeet with clear marking on its wings (making him a “clear flight” mutation) and unusual color markings across its abdomen.

The reason we do not outsource that advertising is, unless you’re a caged bird keeper you really don’t understand – the keeping of caged birds.

I’d like to remind the audience that there is only one species of dog but more than 10,000 species of bird. We specialize in approximately 350 species of parrots and 372 species of parakeets.

Yes Martha the budgie is a species of parakeet but there’s another several hundred dozen more that we need to chat about (roughly 372) Or so we’re told.

http://www.birdandparrot.info/blog/2016/09/14/growing-list-every-parrot-parakeet-species-planet/.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again “every conure is a parakeet but not every parakeet is a conure”.

So here’s this many conure species alone – you may have never heard of.

many sun conure parakeet on branch

Getting back to Bacon, I’ve had him out of the cage a couple of times during his stay.

I’ll open the door to his cage while I’m working having all the other doors closed in the room so he can’t get too far but he hasn’t shown an interest in coming out of the bird cage.

Yesterday I thought he might like to take a shower with me. I grabbed him in the cage & got him onto the shower rod but the sound of the running water spooked him and he flew directly to some crown molding.

I didn’t catch him up there. He flew off and made it to the shelf in the shower where I grabbed him.

Today I pulled him out of the cage and had him on my hand for a while. then he flew off to more crown molding (between 8 and 9 1/2 feet above the floor). I was able to trap him between the window and shutters so I returned  him to his cage where he was clearly happy to be.

In that we had a similar issue when we rescued Popcorn, if he ends up staying with us, we’re going to follow the same protocol and clip his wings one time to restrain his confidence and then give him flying lessons and teach him landing zones as his wing feathers molt out and grow back, which they will quite quickly.

To my darling wife Catherine

I know you’re concerned that budgies are not considered parrots and we were talking about a bigger bird. I think we will still eventually get one. But Bacon is a magnificent creature – and budgies are very smart.

If bacon is here to stay, I see a long-lasting, loving relationship for the three of us because the 3 of us have one thing in common. We speak bird.

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

your zygodactyl footnote

List of every parrot & parakeet species on the planet we know so far

3 budgies on tree branches

It is our understanding there are approximately 10,000 species of birds on the planet. We know that the single species – human – is really good at killing other species and an alarming amount of birds are rapidly on the way to extinction.

At Windy City Parrot we have chosen to provide care for pet birds classified as parrots and parakeets. The numbers bouncing around the Internet inferred that there’s about 350 species of parrots and 370 species of parakeets.

That’s not including hornbills, soft bills and wax bills. Thus we try to hone our own knowledge base focusing on a little under 1000 feathered species. A pet project of mine is to actually create a list of all known birds falling under the soft bill – hook bill – hard bill and wax bill family.

I’m a database guy so I thought I would start a list. This has been a pet project of mine and it is ongoing.

Read moreList of every parrot & parakeet species on the planet we know so far

Page 1 of 2
1 2
Click to email me when this item is back in stock We will inform you when the product arrives in stock. Just leave your valid email address below.
Email Quantity We won't share your address with anybody else.