The parrot diet is one of the most pressing issues for parrot owners. You need to know what exactly to include in your pet’s diet to keep it healthy and strong. Yes, a big part of a parrot’s diet comes from vegetables, fruit, and nuts that you have at home. EVen some “superfoods” are advisable. More on that in this article: Can Parrots Eat Broccoli? However, bird pellets are also a usual addition to the diet. And you need to be mindful of their quality as well.
I’ve already written a bunch of articles about all sorts of vegetables, nuts, fruit, and several other products. And I’ll continue the topic in the future. However, I think it’s time to deal with pellets as this is one of the most popular parrot foods you can buy in a pet shop.
Thus, knowing how to choose and what benefits it will bring is an important skill, don’t you think?
Here, I’ll talk about the benefits of pellets and how to choose the first, and then reveal my top picks! If you’d like to check which ones are the best of best right now, feel free to scroll down to the list right away.
How Are Parrot Pellets Created?
Seeds are the basis of a parrot diet. Many owners stick to a plain diet and offer their parrots only one or two kinds of foods at a time. However, parrots like diversity. Therefore, they prefer when there is a choice of products.
Thus, manufacturers have come up with the idea of parrot pellets. These are primarily sticks that consist of a variety of parrot foods stuck together in a kind of entertaining treat. In the wild, parrots have a great variety of food options to choose from. They are used to all sorts of seeds, nuts, vegetables, fruit, and grass. Thus, a pellet is an excellent choice for diversity.
First of all, pellets do contain seeds. They are the basis together with nuts. However, as seeds and nuts are high in calories, manufacturers also add all sorts of dried veggies and fruit to create a mix of highly nutritious treats that is more balanced than a simple dash of seeds.
The high-quality blends are formulated with vitamins, minerals, and other elements in mind. However, you should know how to choose pellets and read their ingredient list yourself. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers are so mindful of a bird’s health. Some simply want profits and will throw either wrong portions or poor-quality ingredients into the mix.
The best pellets will even be tailored to specific parrot types to consider their needs and issues. For example, if a certain breed is known for its poor digestive health, the pellets would include more fiber and other elements beneficial to a digestive tract.
What Is the Nutritional Value of Pellets?
Experts usually allow a parrot’s diet to consist of around 70% of pellets. But only provided that these are well-balanced pellets that contain all the necessary elements.
Truth be told, I include fewer pellets in my bird’s diet than that. But that is only because I have years of experience keeping birds at home and assisting professional breeders. So I know what my bids need. If you are a beginner parrot owner, you can quickly get mistaken with the portions and food ratios. Thus, for many people, pellets can become a well-balanced base. Such a diet will include essential nutrients like Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, fibers, potassium, iron, and so on.
How to Choose Pellets
When choosing pellets for your parrot, you’ll have to take into account a few factors that can affect your choice.
Though there are generic parrot pallets, many manufacturers focus on specific parrot breeds when creating their products. Yes, overall, all parrots can and cannot eat the same types of foods. However, different breeds have slightly altering needs in terms of nutrients to strengthen their specific “weak spots.”
Another factor that I’ll include to this point is the size of your bird. Quite logically, bigger birds require bigger pellets. Also, they can deal with bigger chunks of nuts and seeds; this should be taken into consideration as well.
I do not include weight into the size measurement as there are specific pellets for weight loss and weight gain. And they have nothing to do with the size but everything to do with your bird’s recommended weight.
The main difference between them is, of course, in the calorie value of ingredients. Pellets for weight gain include more “heavy” nuts and seeds, and don’t shy away from carbs. Weight loss pellets include mostly dried veggies, a bit of fruit, and lots of nutritious yet “lightweight” ingredients.
I hate peppers. Many people hate oatmeal. You may hate olives, and I adore them. All I’m saying is that tastes differ. And even animals have their own preferences. Your parrot definitely likes certain products more than others. And even if I say that corn is perfect for parrots and they eat it in the wild, it doesn’t mean that your bird will also like it.
Therefore, you have to choose pellets based on what your bird likes as well. Always check the ingredient list. You may find certain foods that your bird won’t eat (and you know that for sure!). Do not buy such a pellet, or you’ll get tired of constantly cleaning the bits it doesn’t like and throws away.
In this section, I’d like to discuss two main issues – ingredient quality and pellet’s foraging level.
The first point is quite obvious – you want foods of the highest quality for your pet. It means no pesticides, no GMO, proper storage conditions, only beneficial ingredients, and so on. It’s often hard to check the quality, but leading brands believe in transparency and share such details with their customers.
The second point is essential for a “captive” bird, but few owners ever consider it. Foraging is an integral part of an animal’s life, even if it never will need it. In the wild, searching for resources is an essential part of the bird. And parrots still have such an instinct in captivity. Maybe it’s just a game and playtime for them, but they still need such a kind of stimulation. And “complex” pellets can become such a tool.
Yes, not all depends on your parrot. In reality, every owner has to consider their financial position when it comes to pets. If you can afford luxury brands, go for it! If not, relax; you can still find good pellets on a budget. After all, parrot food is simple and affordable most of the time.
You can always mix and match pricier pellets with rare nutritional values with simple and affordable mixes of regular seeds and nuts.
I’ll try to offer the best pellets in different price ranges. But, sometimes, price doesn’t mean quality!
Note that manufacturers and price tags may differ depending on your country! So I’ll just offer an approximate number provided by Amazon and eBay!
Let’s start with the one that comes with a great quality/affordability balance. Kaytee Exact Rainbow and Kaytee Forti-Diet for Parrots.
I love Kaytee. You can find this brand name on many pet items in my home. I also buy rabbit food and toys of this German brand.
Both pellets are meant to support a parrot’s heart, brain, feather, and visual health. Exact Rainbow contains Omega-3, essential for the immune system. The pellets are suitable for African Greys, Amazons, Conures, Senegals, small Cockatoos. The Forti-Diet is marketed for parakeets but is suitable for all small parrots.
Both packs are full multi-colored parrot mixes (no use of artificial colors, though!) of various forms, which encourages foraging as well. All in all, you get a massive bag of parrot food for a relatively low price, considering the high quality.
Weight: 1,13 kg/ 2,5lb
Best for Weight Loss
When choosing parrot foods for weight loss, I always recommend ZuPreem. This brand has a few options suitable for the task. The best of the best in its Smart Selects Parrot & Conure Bird Food.
This is a healthy blend of nutritious foods that provide energy and all the necessary elements without too many calories.
Note that there are several options in the Smart Select line:
- for Canaries, Finches, and other very small birds
- for Parakeets, Budgies, Parrotlets
- for Cockatiels, Quakers, Lovebirds, Small Conures
- for Conures, Caiques, African Greys, Senegals, Amazons, Eclectus, Small Cockatoos
- for Amazons, Macaws, Cockatoos
When it comes to weight loss, the size of your bird is of utmost importance. Thus, such packs that consider this factor are high-quality by default. Not to mention the variety of top-notch ingredients, including additional vitamins and minerals.
Check the full list of ingredients and feeding directions on the official website following this link.
Weight: 2lb – 4lb
Top’s Parrot food is a premium choice for me. It has all the labels a pet owner would like to see on their food – nonGMO, USDA-approved, certified organic, with no artificial flavors and colors.
This is truly a pricey one, though! 1 pound costs$16.79 on the official website. Retail stores usually sell for more.
Note that this is a non-corn parrot mix due to the protection against GMO corn, a hot issue for USA manufacturers.
However, the brand promises a variety of naturally-preserved foods containing vitamins, minerals, and amino acids essential for a healthy parrot.
Here are the measurements and price of the biggest pack:
The Perfect Middle
A parrot pellet brand that has everything in bits and is affordable is Vitakraft. I sometimes buy small 500g packs that cost a bit over 8 dollars. These small packs are usually a quick fix when I run out of the bigger muti-pound bags!
It’s a regular mix of grains, nuts, seeds, and dried veggies that contains the basic vitamins and minerals to healthy a strong immune system!
Also, you can try the brand’s Kraker mix – a set of three parrot sticks with interesting flavors:
- banana sesame
- herbs and bell pepper
- kiwi and lemon
I’d also like to mention one separate brand of pet foods and accessories that is of good quality – Trixie.
The accessories are often too pricey for me, but I’ll buy some on sale. Try this brand sometime if you see it in a local shop or on sale online!!
For parrots, the brand has great pecking stones to increase mineral supply and for general beak care!