Seeds are the pasta of the parakeet diet -- nutritious in a sense, but fattening and unhealthy if eaten to excess. A balanced parakeet diet includes fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Unfortunately, some parakeets are so used to seeds that they turn their noses up at everything else.
Start as Soon as Possible
If you want your parakeet to have a varied diet, you need to start offering him healthy food as early in life as possible. If your parakeet gets used to a seed diet, he may not want to stop and try something new. It’ll taste funny to him; he won’t realize it's food, or he'll prefer the fatty deliciousness of seeds and treats. It’s up to you to introduce him to the diverse and colorful world of fruits and veggies.
Offer Them as Treats
One way to get your parakeet to eat fruits and vegetables is to offer them as treats. If you regularly hand-feed your parakeet, start giving him bite-size pieces of fruits and vegetables. He’ll think, “You've always offered me tasty stuff before, so this must be good, too.” Keep regularly offering him fruits and vegetables until he knows what they are and has a taste for them. Then you can leave some in his cage as snacks.
Make Them the Only Option
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Another trick is to drench a green, leafy vegetable in water and clip it to an easy-to-reach part of the parakeet's cage. Then take his water bowl out of the cage for a few hours. Hopefully, your thirsty parakeet will drink water from the leaf and munch it a little. After your parakeet has had a taste, replace the water and keep clipping vegetables to the cage. Your parakeet will now think of them as crunchy, edible treats.
Don’t give your parakeet fruits and vegetables just once in a blue moon or as a rare treat. Your parakeet should be eating fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. A couple of grapes, a leaf of spinach clipped to the side of his cage or a little dried fruit mixed into his seed can encourage your parakeet to eat a variety of foods without much fuss. Even if your parakeet is stubborn and ignores fruits and vegetables, keep offering. He might change his mind.
June Mebei is a Virginia-based writer who earned her B.A. in English at Georgia State University. She began writing professionally in 2008, and has published narrative essays, editorial articles, short stories and poetry.