Margaret A. Wissman, DVM
How do I convert my pet bird from eating only seeds to eating pelleted bird foods?
The most important rule when attempting a dietary conversion is to take your bird in to see your avian veterinarian and get a clean bill of health prior to putting your bird (and yourself) through this stressful procedure. Often a bird may be harboring a sub-clinical infection or condition, and the stress of attempting a dietary conversion to pellets may cause a bird to suddenly break with illness.
If you're trying to convert your pet bird over to pellets, gradually increase the amount of pellets in her food bowl.
There are many methods to attempt conversion to pellets. Ask your avian veterinarian to advise you as to which method is best for your pet bird. Regardless of the method used, get in the habit of weighing your bird daily with a good-quality gram scale, first thing in the morning preferably, to closely monitor for any weight loss.
A brief overview of the different conversions methods are:
Gradually increase the percentage of pellets in the food bowl daily, and decrease the amount of seeds.
Offer your bird pellets in her bowl all day, and only offer it the regular seed mix for 10 minutes twice a day.
Allow your bird to observe another bird that eats pellets, hoping for the "monkey see, monkey do” effect.
Some birds prove very resistant to conversion to pellets and, in those cases, sprout fresh seed. Sprouted seed is lower in fat, healthier and has the texture of a fresh vegetable, which may entice a bird to consume vegetables as its food acceptance grows.
Want to learn more about bird food?
Is Your Bird Eating His Pellets?
Bird Food Myths & Facts