Feeding your bird well: In the wild, some birds are granivorous, others are insectivorous, frugivorous (they feed on fruit) or nectarivorous (of nectars). Those we adopt are mostly granivorous, which makes our task easier. However, not everyone wants the same seeds!
1. Small birds: every day a little bit
2.Parrots and parakeets: beware of imbalances
Commercially available mixtures are suitable for most captive birds. Beware, birds have the annoying habit of sorting their seeds to eat only the ones they prefer. Not only do they put them everywhere, but if you don’t change their food daily, the seeds left at the bottom will rot and cause digestive problems. Also think of fresh water and a cuttlefish bone to leave available.
Small birds: a little bit every day
Their needs are modest: for example, 5 to 6 grams of seeds per canary per day are sufficient. Ready-to-eat mixes are available in specialized stores and correspond to the specific needs of each bird: this is by far the most practical solution. For those who want to start a home-cooked meal, it gets more complicated: roughly speaking, you need canary seed (65%), oatmeal (20%), turnip greens (5%), flax (5%), hemp (3%) and niger (2%) for a canary. The zebra finch also takes canary seed, but rather mixed with millet. And the proportions change depending on the birds (ask your veterinarian for advice).
To give them also, in small quantities: a piece of lettuce leaf (to be changed every day) and a piece of fresh fruit (apple, pear, cherry, etc.), not treated with pesticides. Once a week, it’s Byzantium: you can give your canaries some animal protein in the form of mealworms, flies, aphids or dehydrated ant eggs (available in pet stores).
Parrots and parakeets: beware of imbalances
Quantitatively, the needs of a parakeet are double those of a canary: 10 to 12 grams per day. Here again, the simplest way is to buy a “special parakeet” mix in the shops. Otherwise, you need canary seed (50%), white (14%), yellow (14%) and red millet (5%), oatmeal (10%), paddy rice (5%) and hemp seed (2%). For pleasure, a little sunflower seed can be given but not too much because of its high fat content. As for millet, parakeets love it to the point of sulking all the other seeds: here again, the quantities distributed must be very small. A piece of fruit or salad (untreated) is welcome, including a few flax seeds during the moulting period. Finally, a little weekly animal protein (worms, flies, aphids or ant eggs) is useful.
For parrots, complete feeds in granulated form are commercially available (this prevents the bird from sorting its seeds, but not all birds like the formula) or seed mixtures consisting of 70% grain and 30% oilseeds. We can add in very small quantities, nuts, almonds, fruits, vegetables, even a little chopped and cooked meat…