Feeding my parrots vegetables has gotten easier and better. Several months after I’d gotten my cockatiel, Luna Love, I went back to the exotic parrot store and asked how to encourage the veggie-eating, because Luna Love and Key Lime, Xelha’s budgie, were having none! They told me to be persistent, and they were right!
We kept offering veggies to our birds and now they are much better about it. Note, it took months of offering veggies to our budgies, cockatiels, Indian ringneck and quaker before their portions had enough eaten that I could see a difference in the serving.
I have a hard time letting Luna Love (my cockatiel) eat my salads with me because – although she loves to eat with me — she does two things I can’t take: she walks into my salad and she sorts it. By ‘sorts it’ what I mean is that birds often pick out the foods that they do not want to eat, putting them out of their site. Milo, my indian ringneck, is the queen of the sorters! (Yes, I know, Milo is a male’s name, but that’s the name I wanted for my pretty indie). Milo litters all the lettuce, carrots, peas, little orange peas (I forget what they are called), and anything else in her dish – onto the floor! So rude! LOL Messy, so messy!
Phoenix, my caique, is much better about salad-sharing with me. She loves the quinoa on my salads, which most of my other birds don’t prefer, and pecks at a few other things. I wish she’d eat some truly green veggies, like the spinach, but each bird has it’s preferences. Xelha’s conures love, love, love carrots (Duke, the male, eats so many that his poops turn a shade of orange!). Phoenix, on the other hand, shows no interest in carrots. Just like people, parrots all have their own personalities, likes and dislikes.
Birds give new meaning to the cliche “creature of habbit.” We sometimes laugh (lovingly) at them because they can even freak out when they encounter something new. I don’t know if it is just parrots, but a new toy in their cage, for example, can back them into a corner, fearing the toy, which is soon-to-be their next best friend. Yes, in a day or two, that toy that they now fear more than a scary clown, will be their favorite thing, their greatest entertainment and the next thing they take apart!
So, by constantly introducing a variety of veggies to your caique or other parrots, you will find that they might change their mind about what veggies they like.
In addition to offering veggies once (or twice) a day, we also make sure that pellets are always available for them. Phoenix is a young caique, so I suspect that she may need more seeds than older birds. I have found that our older birds like pellets and, when these are always available, they get eaten. Often just pellet dust is left in their dish at the end of a day or two.
Pellets are ‘a perfect’ food. They are designed to provide a well-balanced diet that promotes health and longevity. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that they are tasty – nevertheless, most all our birds eat these. We, of course, always leave a water dish out for them and seeds. The water dish allows them to drink or bathe the water when they are out of their cages, otherwise, they have water, veggies, pellets and some seeds in their cages at all times.
In order to encourage my young caique to feel at home in our home and with the flock and to encourage her to feel that her cage is her ‘safe space,’ I put some seeds in her cage daily. Once she is settled and older, maybe once she’s 4 to 6 months old and settled in the cage she will be living in, then I’ll start to offer more pellets and veggies to her during the day, while still giving her some seeds.
My caique, along with all my other parrots and birds, are very special to my family and me, so we make sure to give them the healthiest experience, food and environment we can.