A blue and a green parakeet eating broccoli florets. Transitioning parakeets to new food

Transitioning parakeets to new food

One of the first things you will likely purchase as a new budgie owner is a supply of food for your new friend. Depending on where your budgie came from, you may want to change his food pretty quickly from a low quality seed mix to something with added dried vegetables, fruits and herbs. Transitioning parakeets to new food is not as easy as making a swap and crossing your fingers, there are some considerations and warnings.

  • I don’t think it’s fair to call parakeets “stubborn”, but they will starve to death rather than eat something they don’t see as a safe food, or as food at all. This is not out of willfulness but because they literally may not view something like a pellet as food, particularly if it’s nothing like what they are used to eating. Please don’t ever totally change your parakeet from one food to another with no transition period. Particularly don’t ever abruptly change from a seed mix to pellets.
  • Instead, start with what they are used to eating and slowly mix in what you are switching them to, increasing the ratio of the new food over several days or weeks. Even if you’re just changing to a new seed blend, this is a helpful way to make sure your parakeet still has something they feel safe eating and won’t starve.
  • This does particularly apply if you are transitioning to pellets, which, I’m just going to be honest, I don’t recommend as a primary source of nutrition. I’ve written about seeds vs. pellets in this post, but in brief, I don’t think that pellets have been proven to be nutritionally complete and they are not mentally stimulating enough. Additionally, budgies are designed to eat seeds.
  • I’ve focused a bit on transitioning from seed to seed or seed to pellet, but you may also need to do some work to get your parakeet trying vegetables and fruits. A great way to start is by chopping a vegetable up very finely and mixing it with millet or your parakeet’s preferred seed mix. Offer that as the only food source for a couple hours and even if they just pick out the millet they are sure to accidentally eat some vegetables too. Make sure not to leave fresh vegetables and fruits in your parakeet’s cage for too long, especially in warmer months as rotting vegetables aren’t anyone’s idea of a good meal!
  • The bottom line is that most budgies should transition fairly easily to a good quality seed mix, no matter what quality the pet store or breeder was feeding. Just take your time and make sure you’re seeing seed hulls in your food cups every day and good healthy poops, which indicate your parakeet is eating.

Hopefully there’s at least some food for thought here (haha!). Healthy feeding is always top of mind for parakeet parents and transitioning parakeets to a new food can be one of the most nerve-wracking hurdles to overcome. But, with a little sly work to transition them to a new food, you’ll have healthy-eating babies in no time.

A blue parakeet foraging in some seed on a plate
Toby loves foraging through her regular seed mix on a plate
Two parakeets trying some sprouts
We did not care for these. Which is too bad, since they were expensive!

 

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2 thoughts on “Transitioning parakeets to new food”

  1. Thank you so much for this post because i am done wasting money on all those fancy treats they are selling now. I’m sure you have seen that artificial millet they sweetened? I will never give that to my “babies”. I always mix their veggies and fruits with their daily Blend like the Molting and conditioning mix and i don’t give the the same combination every day. They do not like the pellets at all so i will never buy them again either. I treat them to the Millet either during the day or in the early evening. They really look forwrd to it and believe you me they let me know that they want it! lol

    1. Hi Trisha!

      I have not seen sweetened millet! Yikes, they definitely don’t need that much extra sugar, glad to hear you won’t be using that as a treat!

      It sounds like you have a really great plan for feeding and using spray millet as a treat 🙂

      I’m super stingy with spray millet, they only get a chunk off the spray when they go back in their cages at our request, so at bedtime or during the day if we have to leave the house. They are definitely willing to work for the millet! LOL.

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂
      Kristen

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