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Is Your Bird Eating Enough?

Most birds will consume the foods they need, but find out times when your bird might overeat or might not be eating enough.

Margaret A. Wissman, DVM

Q) How do I tell if my bird is eating enough?

A) A normal, healthy bird will naturally consume adequate calories and nutrients during the day, as long as the proper foods are provided. Foods high in fat, such as seed, may be over-consumed, resulting in an overweight bird. Sedentary birds may take in too many calories, resulting in the bird gaining weight, as well.

A bird will maintain its weight as long as there is a balance between calories taken in and energy expended. A bored bird, especially one consistently offered a diet high in calories, may overeat, because there isn’t much else to do.For this reason, bird toys are important, and supervised playtime is also very valuable in expending calories.

Meyer's parrot eating bird seeds

Parrots might overeat high-fat bird foods such as bird seeds.

I recommend that all bird owners purchase a good-quality scale that measures weight in grams and that owners get into the habit of weighing their bird at least once a week at the same time of the day. Keeping track of a bird’s weight is the best way to ensure that a bird is maintaining a correct weight. Any gain or loss of more than a few grams in a small bird or 10 grams in a larger bird should prompt a phone call to your avian veterinarian.

A sick bird may still be eating, but it may end up losing weight, as it is expending a lot of calories just fighting infection, so food consumption can be deceptive. This is why weighing your bird periodically is very important.

Want to learn more about bird food?

What Do Parrots Eat?
Bird Food Myths & Facts

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Posted: April 28, 2014, 12:00 a.m. PDT

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Is Your Bird Eating Enough?

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Reader Comments
I just wanted to mention that this article seems more about preconceived notions and "popular wisdom" about what makes humans fat rather than any scientific study of birds. I would challenge the authors to find birds who are fat simply because they over consume high fat foods - animals self regulate quite nicely. In fact I would urge the author to look at research indicating that, actually, fat doesn't make people fat either!
Sunstone, International
Posted: 11/3/2015 1:03:20 PM
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