Once you've brought your new parakeet home, you'll have to provide him with a high-quality diet to him healthy. Your little avian friend can be picky -- parakeets often are -- but once he gets used to healthy eating, he will soon look forward to feeding time.
Most parakeet owners feed their pets a seed mixture as a basic diet. A good seed mixture will include a few different kinds of seeds along with other components, such as vitamin pellets, dried fruits or greens. However, even the best seed mixture doesn't have everything your bird needs, so keep in mind that seeds are just a core component of a more varied diet. A small dish of seed mixture should be available at all times so your bird can nibble all day. Because parakeets only eat from the top layer, you'll have to remove the seed cup each day, clear out the empty seed hulls and refill the cup with fresh seeds. It's also a good idea to clean the food dish completely every few days or whenever your bird makes a mess of the bowl.
About 10 percent of your pet parakeet's diet should be fresh fruit and vegetables. If he doesn't get enough of these components, he might develop a vitamin deficiency, which can leave him vulnerable to illness. Every day, offer a few teaspoons of chopped carrots, apples, broccoli, sweet potato, leafy greens, cherries or grapes. Provide your bird with a wide variety by offering different things each day so he doesn't just pick out the things he likes best. Parakeets can also develop a protein deficiency, so offer your bird a teaspoon of cooked egg, low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt every one to two days.
Commercial pellet diets are typically more complete than seed mixtures, but many parakeets raised on seeds have a tough time adapting to pellets. If you want to switch your parakeet to a pellet diet, start by mixing pellets in with your normal seed mixture and gradually increase the amount of pellets you give. Continue to offer plenty of fresh foods in addition to the pellet diet because it is always healthier for your bird to get his nutrients from different sources.
Chocolate and avocado are both deadly for birds, so don't offer your parakeet a taste of your candy bar or guacamole even if he seems interested. Other foods that can potentially cause illness in birds include raw beans, fruit pits, eggplant, potatoes, tomato leaves, rhubarb leaves and nutmeg. Also avoid feeding your bird things that would be unhealthy for a human in large doses, such as caffeine, alcohol, foods high in sugar and fried foods. Because your bird is so little, his body is affected by these foods much more quickly and strongly than a person would be.
Bridget Coila specializes in health, nutrition, pregnancy, pet and parenting topics. Her articles have appeared in Oxygen, American Fitness and on various websites. Coila has a Bachelor of Science in cell and molecular biology from the University of Cincinnati and more than 10 years of medical research experience.