Companion parrots should not be in control of what they eat. The idea that they will instinctively eat what is good for them is a myth. There is some truth to the belief that wild parrots eat what is available to them seasonally and, therefore, consume certain nutrients during certain times of the year. However, companion parrots have to be exposed to healthy foods on a regular basis for them to be able to select what they need. We must be vigilant that the nutritious food we buy for our parrots actually get eaten.
Pellets provide solid basic nutrition, but supplement them with other healthy foods for behavioral enrichment and for foraging opportunities. Companion parrots can be very reactive and often reflect our food likes and dislikes. If you make an excited fuss every time you give your parrot a piece of pizza, she will probably love pizza. On the other hand, if you frown and make an "Ugh” sound every time you try to get her to eat a bit of broccoli, it is doubtful that she will eat it no matter how often she is exposed to this nutritious vegetable.
I always smile when I give my parrots a new food, and they are often quite adventurous in trying them. I have had my double yellow-headed Amazon, Paco, for more than 34 years, and because she has had such a variety of foods throughout her entire life, she eats almost anything I put in her dish. Of course, she does have favorites.
Parrots have incredible color perception and can see in the ultraviolet range. Color is important to them in foods, but so is the shape and texture of foods. Provide a variety of healthy foods in different configurations until you find a way your parrots will eat them. For example, a miniature carrot can be fed raw, cooked, as part of a mash, whole, diced, sliced, in strips, mashed, grated, puréed, juiced and so on.
Food rejection seems to be important to parrots. When introducing manufactured diets, mix several quality pellet brands together in a bowl to give the parrot something to reject while selecting the pellet types it finds appealing.
If you’ve ever seen wild parrots devour the fruit, leaf matter, seeds or flowers in trees, you quickly realize that they are wasteful when it comes to food. Perhaps this is nature’s way of planting foods for the parrot’s future generations? Plan on wasting food! Parrots are messy eaters, especially when you try to get them to eat new foods.
Want to learn more?
Get Your Bird To Eat Healthy Foods
Will Work For Food! Parrot Foraging Ideas