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What Is A Good African Grey Breeding Diet?

Jean Pattison gives advice to a breeder.

Jean Pattison

African Grey Parrots

Q: We have a small family-owned farm in Florida. We have a couple of African grey Congo and timneh pairs. All of them are around 12 to 15 years old. We bought this farm three years ago, and since then we do not have babies from these pairs. We got them DNA-sexed to see if they are pairs, and our avian vet did check our females to see if they are able to lay eggs. Everything seems to be OK. We are not experienced breeders. Would you please help us figure out what we are doing wrong? I know their breeding season is when the days got shorter, but what about the diet? We feed them a mixture of sunflower seed, horse feed, millet feed, veggie and fruits (1/5 of  the mixture — apple, pear, paprika, sweet potato, zucchini) then cooked corn, beans (1/5 of the mixture). I would say they should get more veggie and fruit. Would you please help us? I love those birds and would like them to be strong and healthy.

Jean Pattison explains a proper diet for breeding African greysJean Pattison, also known as "The African Queen," explains:
Putting partitions between the pairs, so they cannot see each other often helps. Parrots need to feel secure and not threatened by neighboring birds. See my website — I have articles on "How to Breed African Greys”, that may help you.

Diet is a very controversial and personal thing. I personally would caution using any pelleted diet that is not made for birds (e.g. the horse feed). Most food made for mammals may have some bacteria that would be harmless to mammals, but can be harmful to birds. With all the research that has been done for avian pellets, I see no reason to use pellets made for other species of animals. Also, after feeding vegetables in huge amounts for over 15 years, I cut my vegetables down to almost nothing. My production went way up and many non-breeding birds began breeding. The fruits and vegetables may have been diluting the nutrition in the pellets. African greys do very well on a pelleted diet with a very small amount of fresh foods. Keep in mind that I am only talking about the species of greys, not macaws or Eclectus, etc. Diets for other species may vary by quite a bit.

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Posted: December 3, 2007, 11:00 a.m. PDT

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