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Getting them to eat anything other than seeds


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#1 jonathon

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 05:08 AM

I just got my two budgies from petco about two weeks ago. I've tried giving them pellets, but to no avail. I bought a bag of mixed fruit and veggies from a bird expo and left that in there today, and still no luck. The seed mix I have they pick through and will ONLY eat the seed. Any ideas? I've only had them for a very short time and they're still young, but I'd like to get them to eat other than just seed as soon as possible

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#2 ownedby4

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 06:02 AM

Well, hope you have better luck than me. Today I gave my pair some (shaved) broccoli, apple (finely diced) and carrot (grated) in with their seed. Ping, Ping, Ping, look over and there is Billy picking all carrot and apple out and dropping it on cage floor. Cheeky little boogers, LOL
I do know if I shave the broocoli, they do eat it cos they cant get it off see cos its too small, but anything else, no way. Might as well be a foreign object as far as they are concerned. I do still offer once/twice a week tho, maybe one day, *sigh* If you succeed, let me know your trick

#3 jonathon

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 06:06 AM

Yeah, it's stressful. I know how important the diet is to their longevity. I read somewhere about making them not having food readily available and giving them the food after about six hours. Seems cruel to me...
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#4 Monica

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 05:19 PM

Perhaps these would help...

Completed journal of my battle to get a stubborn tiel to have a good diet.
Converting Parrots to a Healthier Diet - Tips
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#5 steveknight

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 06:45 PM

to get my budgies to eat pellets I put them in the seed for several weeks. a few times their seed ran out and I found some of the pellets were getting eaten. so I let them run out of seed for 1/2 the say and they started eating them. once they ate pellets and if I only gave them pellets they started eating other foods. greens and sprouted seed and grated veggies.

#6 hungrybird

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 11:45 AM

I would start by introducing a few fresh veggies. My cockatiels and budgies do not really eat fruit at all but they love veggies. I would start hanging a piece of fresh leafy greens in the cage every day. My budgies really love baby bok choy and kale. You can try collard greens too. Look for darker green leafy veggies, not the lime green ones. Just keep putting a tempting leaf in every day and they should start munching on it. Pick a good location to put it in, one where there are a few perches nearby so they can access it easily without having to sit right next to each other to eat. If a few weeks pass and they still haven't touched it try a different location. You can put more than one piece of course and sometimes I weave pieces of kale in between their bars, especially in spots they spend a lot of time in.

At the same time you can also start introducing veggies mixed in with their seeds. I would suggest you get a bag of organic frozen mixed veggies. The regular peas, carrots, corn, string bean mix is the one I would use. Defrost a small portion of the veggies and mix them in with the seeds. Mash everything together with a spoon so the seeds get some veggie juice on them. I found that my budgies took to the corn immediately. They would eat all the seeds and all the corn and then scream angrily while smashing their food bowl into the bars of the cage. When they realized this wasn't motivating me to add more seeds and corn to their bowl they eventually gave up and started eating the rest of the veggies too. This did not happen quickly though! Budgies are the most stubborn creatures on the planet. Don't give up.

An excellent way to get them to start eating other things is by offering quinoa as well. It looks a lot like millet so they may take to it quickly. It is very healthy and very easy to prepare. I would cook up a little quinoa and add some millet and mixed veggies to it. The millet will get them to try it.

Other things to consider:

- It's a good idea to make sure there are two bowls in the cage if your budgies don't want to share. At first Romeo refused to share food with Juliet so I had two or three food bowls in and they would play musical bowls. Now they are fine and share one bowl.

- Like I said, budgies are stubborn little monsters. Make sure they don't starve themselves to death! What I did was give them a special breakfast every morning that had their seeds and the mashed veggies mixed in. I only put a small amount of seeds so they quickly finished them. There was nothing else to eat but veggies so they could either not eat anything or eat what I gave them. I let them sit there and think about it for an hour or two every morning. After a while I would remove the seeds and veggies and give them enough food to last however long I was gone. Then when I got home I gave them veggies. They would get so angry! They would scold me and smash the bowl. I would just leave the veggies there and maybe sprinkle a tiny bit of seeds on top to drive them mad. They would get the torture of having veggies as the only option for another hour or two and then get a meal of something they liked. After a while they figured out if they ate all the veggies as well I was very likely to give them some seeds as a reward.

- An important part of this process is not giving them too much food or too little. You definitely don't want to starve them or even limit their rations. I think it is cruel and I cannot stand training methods that include food deprivation. I love eating and don't believe my animals should suffer like that. Giving them too much food will not motivate them to try the new stuff though. Obviously you should do this on days where you know you will be home at a certain time.

- Start small and work up from there. Leafy greens and frozen mixed veggies are very commonly accepted. Other foods may take much longer. Don't overwhelm your birds and start offering tons of different things in all shapes and sizes.

- It may take a long time. It took my guys a long time to come around. They still get angry from time to time if I give them something new. Every single time I make a fruit salad for the birds Romeo and Juliet refuse to even try it. Absolutely refuse. At least Squeaky and Iggy come down to take a bite before rejecting it. It took all four (Squeaky, Iggy, Romeo, and Juliet since it was before I had Malachite) of them months and months before they would even consider trying Volkman's Soak And Simmer. Even after trying it they hated it and it took months after that before they would actually consent to eat it. Once they finally decided they liked it I bought some red palm oil and added it in. They hated red palm oil and went on strike. Now they gobble up Soak And Simmer with red palm oil and it is one of their favorite meals.

- Pretend this is normal. Get them into the habit of eating what is in their bowl first thing in the morning. When Romeo and Juliet did their screaming/cup bashing act I would come over and look in the food bowl to "see what they had". Then I would tell them that's perfectly normal, that's what breakfast is. I wish I had recorded their outraged expressions. Once they realized I was well aware of what I had given them and wasn't regretting it they grudgingly gave in. After a while. They have an amazing amount of will power but I am much more stubborn than they are.

Okay. That was a very long post. I hope it helps somewhat. I didn't discuss pellets because that would make my post much longer. I will gloss over it quickly though. The only pellet brands I would consider feeding are Harrison's, Totally Organic Pellets, and Goldenfeast Golden'Obles. My budgies love Harrison's Adult Lifetime Fine. It is the only pellet they really love. They refused to eat Totally Organic Pellets for a very long time but now they like them. They also refused to eat Golden'Obles for a long time. I would not use Golden'Obles as a large part of the diet due to the molasses in them but they are really fun pellets. Have you tried Harrison's for your budgies yet? I was able to pick up a small sample bag in a local bird store and that's how I discovered the brand and discovered how much Romeo and Juliet (and everyone else) liked them. I think if you contact the company they should be able to help you to get a sample bag. Like I said, my guys love Adult Lifetime Fine. They will not touch the High Potency no matter what the size is. In fact none of my birds will eat High Potency, not even Iggy.

Good luck. If you want I will post a few pictures of some of the meals my birds like the best.
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#7 RXK

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 08:03 AM

Hungrybird, excellent post!! very informative/helpful!

Jendu (my beloved Jenday) won't touch High Potency either!
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#8 treespirit

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 05:58 AM

I have one tip with broccoli that my parakeets cannot resist. Take a hanging food or water bowl put a little cold water in, then take a clean, large head of broccoli. I know, I thought that the bigger it is the less likely that they'd touch it, but that's not the case! So you put the cut/stalk edge into the water with the bushy part sticking up, so that it comes out the top....like flowers in a vase. That way they have to work for it. It's food and a toy at the same time. I think they enjoy ripping into it. Sometimes I take thin strips of carrot and lodge them in...again like a flower arrangement. Be sure to remove it all when they are done and before it gets icky.

I think most of my guys are on the Harrison's superfine. I have 8, so it's really hard to tell. =S I think 2 of them might have been starving themselves without the seed in there. =(( So now they are separated from the others, and I need to figure out what I am going to do. Needless to say they are now enjoying seed again so that they don't starve! "Stubborn" is the perfect word to describe them.
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#9 Pruzel

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:12 AM

My parakeet used to do this too. I gave her fresh carrots then she found they were good so she ate packaged ones, apples had same result. Try that and see if it works.

#10 RXK

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 02:21 AM

treespirit, love your Broccoli idea. will have to try it someday :).

also, please keep in mind that, from what i understand, pellets shouldn't make up the majority of a Budgie's diet. seeds are essential in addition to a variety of other things. please use the search tool for more information (Monica's posts on this are a great resource as well).
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#11 Johnni Gade

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:23 PM

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#12 Chew

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 11:01 PM

What little I know is wild budgies primarily eat seeds. In my experience, fresh greens and a few pellets is good for them but their diet is primarily seed based. My current
Budgie is a fussy eater and picks pellets out of his seed. However he does like a few cheerios split into small pieces once in awhile.

My first budgie ate anything, and especially liked stuff that was bad for him. It was the 1970s and information was not as available as it was today about proper care so that little guy had (in addition to seeds), pizza, hamburgers, eggs, bacon, crackers, and it was a very difficult job to keep him away from Budweiser cans. For some
unknown reason whenever he saw the red and white Budweiser can he would puff up his feathers and do head bobs. He would then attempt to land on the rim and
drink whatever back splash he could find. He lived a perfectly healthy life until one day my landlord painted the hallway in my apartment building using lead based paint.

Today I know how poor my first budgies diet was, but I did the best I could back then as a college student and although my little budgie may have been headed for a coronary I do know he loved every minute of life from the poor diet to the CB radio in my car (yes, I was "one of those guys" back then).
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#13 Animal_Kingdom

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 08:01 AM

I wish there was a way to delete my post, I accidentally posted when using a quote from hungrybird (which is brilliant) to help a couple of others who could use some advice. Sorry about the waste of space I tried deleting the words you were forced to read.

#14 RXK

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 09:04 AM

I wish there was a way to delete my post, I accidentally posted when using a quote from hungrybird (which is brilliant) to help a couple of others who could use some advice. Sorry about the waste of space I tried deleting the words you were forced to read.


Hi Animal_Kingdom,

i think you meant the above for another thread, right? in any case, no need to apologize and thank you for your contribution :).
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