Giving your pet parakeet (also known as a budgerigar) a variety of food choices will help support a happy, healthy bird. Commercial foods can be supplemented with a variety of other foods to create a balanced parakeet diet. A balanced diet is likely to help your budgie live a longer, healthier life.
Parakeets love to eat seeds, but the amount of seeds you feed your bird should be kept to less than 10 percent of the total dietary intake. Feeding bird seed alone is not a balanced diet for your parakeet. Seed diets often contain low levels of certain vitamins and minerals he needs to stay healthy. Also, high fat content in seed can lead to obesity. Feeding two teaspoons of mixed seed per day is the maximum amount recommended.
Good quality parakeet pellets should be the staple food of your bird's diet. Since parakeets prefer seed food to pellet food, moving them slowly from seeds to pellets may be a difficult process, possibly taking several weeks to accomplish. Changing to pellets is well worth it for your feathered friend's health. Pellets can be made into a mash and mixed with seed, which makes it more appealing to your parakeet during food transition.
Parakeets enjoy eating fresh fruit. Feeding a variety of fruits each day will help meet your bird's nutritional requirements. Some parakeet favorites include apples, pears, melon, kiwi, berries, grapes and oranges. These types of fruits can provide your budgie with a nutritional source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as minerals, like potassium or manganese. Remove all uneaten fruit after two hours to prevent growth of harmful bacteria.
Parakeets can eat many kinds of vegetables. Green leafy vegetable, such as kale, dandelions leaves, romaine lettuce, spinach and sprouted seeds, provide your parakeet with numerous vitamins and minerals. Many contain vitamin A, which is important for a healthy parakeet. Your budgie will enjoy other vegetables, like carrots, broccoli, beets, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potato and squash. Also, cooked corn and beans can be given. Beans can provide additional protein to your bird.
Calcium is a particularly important mineral to parakeets. It helps keep their bones healthy. Provide calcium to your budgie by giving him cuttle bones, hard-boiled eggs crushed with the shells or oyster shell grit. Eggs provide protein as well. Parakeets that don't get enough sunlight may need supplemental vitamin D to help absorb dietary calcium. Vitamin D can be given by feeding them less than 1 mL of cod-liver oil mixed into 1 kg of food. Parakeets can eat most foods you eat, such as whole wheat toast, cooked pasta and chicken.
- Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital: Parakeets -- Basic Care
- The Journal of Nutrition: The Nutrition of the Budgerigar
- Wisconsin Veterinary Referral Center: Feeding a Budgerigar (Budgie)
- Budgerigar Association of America: A Full Spectrum of Nutrients
- American Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals: General Bird Care
- Tri-State Budgerigar Society: Caring for Your Pet Parakeet (Budgerigar)
Based in Michigan, Keri Gardner has been writing scientific journal articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in such journals as "Disability and Rehabilitation" and "Journal of Orthopaedic Research." She holds a Master of Science in comparative medicine and integrative biology from Michigan State University.