You're out of finch food and all the pet supply shop has in stock is parakeet seed. You make do when your choices are limited, but maybe you're concerned about whether it's safe to feed your finch parakeet seed -- or possibly you just wonder what's the difference between the two.
Brand Names are the Biggest Difference
For the most part, finches and parakeets not only eat but will thrive on the same kinds of seeds. In some cases the only difference you'll find when comparing a package of finch seed to a package of parakeet seed is the brand name on the front. Various types of millet seed are favorites of both birds, but in a commercial mix you'll find other common ingredients in both including niger, sesame, canary grass seed, hemp, small sunflower seed plus some whole oat groats.
They Both Need Variety
Finches and parakeets both need variety in their diets. You wouldn't want to eat the same item day after day, and neither does your little bird. Providing a flavorful and interesting diet is the reason that commercial finch and parakeet seeds usually contain at least three or four different types of seed, with some mixes boasting over 10 different kinds. Whether you have a finch, parakeet or both, your little ones' diet should include a quality seed mix, but you should also provide them with fresh vegetables too. Both types of birds enjoy greens like watercress and dandelion leaves.
Enjoying sprouted seeds are another way finches and parakeets are similar. If your feathered friend is hooked on seeds and stubbornly refuses to try anything new, he just might take to some sprouted seed. With enhanced nutrition over unsprouted seeds, sprouts are healthier and will help bring your bird's diet into balance. To add a healthy mix of protein and carbohydrates to your finch's or parakeet's diet, provide soaked and germinated oil and starch seeds like niger, rape and canary millets.
Seeds in Moderation
Seeds shouldn't make up the majority of a finch or parakeet's diet. Although they're a valuable part of their diets, seeds have a high fat content and aren't complete nutritionally. If you read the label of a quality bird food you'll see that seeds are only one ingredient alongside eight to 10 others. Parakeets and finches are notorious for finding a favorite seed type or two and eating them almost exclusively. Don't let your bird build his own diet. Always offer him a balanced choice of foods rather than feeding him only the foods he likes, such as seeds. Just like a human child, your bird kid needs some direction from you as to what's good for him so he doesn't end up malnourished.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.