1. A healthy diet
2. Clean water
3. What NOT to feed your parakeet
4. Non-stick Cookware
5. Pellets v.s Seed
7. Sprouting Seeds
A Healthy Diet
The more varied your birds’ diet is, the better off it will be. A parakeet raised only on parakeet seed will eventually develop some form of malnutrition. The Association of Avian Veterinarians recommends the following diet for a parakeet:
• 50% cooked beans, whole wheat bread, cooked rice, pasta, and seed
45% fresh broccoli, carrots, spinach, dandelion greens, lettuce other green/orange fruits and veggies, and even sprouted parakeet seed
5% eggs, tuna (Make sure it is packed in water), well-cooked meat
Owners tend to give parakeets too little food, thinking a seed cup is full when it’s really full of the seed hulls the parakeet has already eaten. These hulls look like seeds from far away. A good way to prevent your parakeet from starving is to stir the food dish every day. Gently blowing on the top of the seeds will easily remove all hulls so you can see how much seed is left. Be sure to refill your parakeet's food supply daily and to give it lots of fresh foods in a separate cup too.
Make sure your parakeet always has fresh water available. A good way to tell if your bird is dehydrated is to check your bird’s poop. If it’s really small and dry-ish (If your bird is on your shoulder, it may even roll right off your shirt immediately after elimination), then your parakeet isn’t getting enough water. If your parakeet is dehydrated, check the water bottle and make sure it is working properly. Also add another open cup of water. Healthy, clean water is critical for your parakeet’s health. Give your bird water only you would drink yourself. Don’t put open water (Or food) cups under perches. This will prevent your bird from pooping in it, therefore contaminating it. I don’t advise you to put any supplements in your bird’s water. It will make it taste funny and the bird may not drink it. One of the most important things is to change your bird’s water daily.
Parakeets, and all other parrots, are what you could say, lactose-intolerant and cannot eat dairy products. This is because they lack the enzymes they need in order to digest Lactose. Milk, yogurt, cheese, Ice-cream, anything that is considered dairy is extremely hazardous to give to your bird.
Giving your parakeet chocolate is a death sentence, and the area around avocado pits is highly toxic, and Rhubarb is also poison. Salty, sugary, or fatty foods, such as pretzels, candy, and potato chips (to name a few) shouldn’t be given either. Millet is a popular treat with parakeets and other small birds but give it sparingly, too much can cause obesity and of course, tummy aches.
Beware of non-stick cookware. If you have a parakeet, or any other bird for that matter, don’t buy this type of cookware. If you ever accidentally leave one of these pots or pans on the stove and it runs dry, the odors put off from the cookware are fatal to parakeets, It can kill them in seconds. Sadly, this is a common fate for parakeets with owners who don’t know better. It's far safer to not have any in the house than to take that chance. If you already have Non-stick pans in your house, keep your parakeet as far away from the kitchen as possible, and close the door while you’re cooking, to reduce the risk. Some stove-liners can also be toxic when kept at a certain temperature. And then there’s Microwaves If you stand in front of one while it’s cooking, the radiation waves are hazardous to your parakeet’s health. Your best bet is to keep your bird away from the kitchen, Period.
This is one of the great debates among many bird owners and authors around the world. The bottom line is, it’s personal. Bird pellets are small, crumbly like things that have much higher nutritional value than seeds. If you choose to have a pelleted diet for your bird, Get some formulated for budgies/parakeets, that are as free of artificial ingredients and preservatives as possible. Some people say budgies do better on a diet that contains larger amounts of seed because they are primarily seed eaters in the wild. There are risks to feeding both seeds and pellets. Seed is often stored in silos after harvesting, where rats eat and leave droppings on it. Although washed before packaged, bacterial residue still remains, and cannot be eliminated by freezing or microwaving either. Also, when seed is stale it can be harmful to your bird. An easy way to find out if your bird’s seed is stale is to sprout them (See Sprouting seeds). Pellets as a main part of a small birds diet is known to lead to kidney failure and similar problems. With pellets, you shouldn’t feed over a certain amount of fruits and veggies because your bird might actually end up with too much vitamins. In most cases, too many vitamins can make your bird just as sick as not having enough vitamins in the first place! Either way a 100% pellet or seed diet is pretty boring. It’s best to offer, mainly seeds/pellets, with a lot of fruits and veggies and breads to offer not only health, but enrichment too.
Grit is shell-like rock pieces that are commonly found in pet stores. These are for a parakeet to swallow, and the grit helps grind-up food in the stomach. This is not necessary at all, and poses more health hazards than benefits to the bird. Only birds who cannot break the hull of the seed need any, and then only a small amount is needed. It can even cause blockages and impactions in your Budgies’ digestive system!
Stale seeds can be very harmful to your parakeet, and you want to offer only fresh seeds. A good way to tell if your parakeets’ seed is stale, is to sprout them. Place a jar on a windowsill and fill it up with moist paper towels, them, grab some seeds and place them in the jar. Then, Wait a few days and see if anything happens. If the seed is still fresh, little plants will sprout from them. If they are stale, nothing will happen. It’s always a good idea to have an extra, unopened bag of fresh seeds around for backup, in case your other seed is stale. You can even feed the sprouts to your budgies if you’d like.