By Dr. Gregory Rich
For decades now avian veterinarians, avian nutritionists, bird breeders and bird owners have been asking, “What is the best diet to feed a parrot?” While few of us will come up with the same answers, most of us have come to agree that there are bad food items on which to base a bird’s diet.
Many of us have heard the saying that a bird has the mental capacity of a 3-year-old child. Well, suppose we expound on that basis and feed a 3-year-old child the same type of diet many bird owners feed their birds; a high-calorie, fatty diet, such as seed-based diets. Compound this problem by limiting the child’s exercise program, and we would end up with what many bird owners have; an overweight child with mood swings and, in some cases, hyperactivity syndromes. To put it simply, think of what would happen if you fed a 3-year-old child only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day for every meal for five to 10 years. This child would probably have nutritional imbalances, high cholesterol and probably high blood sugar. Of course this is preposterous, but this scenario is closely related to many diets being fed to avian patients.
**For the full article, pick up the January 2009 issue of BIRD TALK**
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