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New Food Acceptance

Getting a parrot to try new foods takes time and persistence.

By Pamela Clark, CVT, CPBC

You learned what to feed African greys in the January 2010 issue of BIRD TALK Magazine. Now learn ways to get your bird to try new foods.

Understanding what to feed is only half the battle, when it comes to finicky eaters. I am often challenged by owners who describe their parrots as “picky” eaters and who assert that they are not able to get their parrots to eat a variety of healthy foods. However, in my experience, this is merely a training issue and almost always depends simply on just doing the right thing for long enough.

Acceptance of new foods for parrots is based upon their visual experience. Anything new is likely to be avoided. However, with persistence, a parrot will slowly grow to accept and enjoy greater variety in the diet, especially if carbohydrates are limited. While there are essential fatty acids and essential amino acids, there are no essential carbohydrates. Not only do excess carbohydrates in the diet contribute to overweight parrots, they appear also to have the effect of “perverting” the natural appetite. Thus, acceptance of healthier food choices will occur more readily if a parrot is not fed foods containing simple sugars or starches, such as pasta and white rice.

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