If you've just acquired a pet bird or are planning to, there are a few things you should know about nutrition. While it was once thought that a diet based primarily on bird seed was best, veterinary professionals and breeders now know more about the nutritional needs of domesticated birds. A seed diet provides plenty of fat and protein, but birds need much more than that. They require many of the same vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that people do.

A highly nutritional pellet-type product composed of grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts is a good place to start. Make sure the pellets you choose are specifically for your bird. Small breeds like canaries and finches have nutritional needs that differ from larger parrot-type birds.

Also consider adding fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples, grapes, bananas, corn, broccoli, carrots, yams, sprouts, and peas to your bird's diet. Avoid citrus fruits, unless your vet recommends it, as well as celery and lettuce. Unseasoned cooked beans are an excellent source of protein, and cooked pasta can provide plenty of carbohydrates.  

Some foods can be toxic to a bird and should never be given. Among them are:

  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine or alcohol
  • Table salt
  • Onions
  • Raw milk products, as well as dairy products that contain lactose
  • Junk foods like chips or candy
  • Apple seeds
  • Fruit pits
  • Mushrooms

Of course, your bird needs fresh water and plenty of it. Use bottled water, or let your tap water run and flush out for a minute or two before you fill the water dish. Change it daily. 

Want more information about bird seed or general information about caring for your bird? Consult Smart Pet Guide. It's full of helpful tips that will help you ensure a long and healthy life for your feathered friend.