By Dr. Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)
As an avian veterinarian, I am often asked by bird owners when they should introduce a blended product, such as ZuPreem’s Sensible Seed or Pure Fun, into their birds’ diets. Ideally, these products can be fed to birds already eating a nutritionally-complete, pellet-based diet, as long as they are offered after birds have already consumed their daily ration of pellets and not available all day long. Blends are not meant to be fed as a complete diet. So, if your bird mainly eats pellets along with a smaller amount of table food, such as fresh veggies and fruit, blended products can provide your bird with added variety in his or her diet and opportunities to forage for the foods they like best. The key is to limit blends to no more than 30% of their total diet. On the other hand, if your bird is on a high-fat, all seed/nut diet, and you are trying transition him or her to a more nutritious pelleted diet (according to the methods described in the “pellet conversion” section of the ZuPreem website), ZuPreem’s blended products are a great way to help in this transition by keeping nutritionally-complete pellets always in the food cup, even when your bird is given a chance to forage through the cup, seeking the foods he or she likes best. This constant contact with pellets helps familiarize birds with pellets’ texture, taste, and smell, so they may be more apt to try pellets when they are fed exclusively in the food cup, as part of a pellet-based diet. This constant contact is particularly helpful if your bird does not take to new foods readily or is older and has been on the same, typically seed-based diet, for years. The trick with feeding blended products, whether you are offering them as a complement to a pellet-based diet or as a transition food when converting your bird from a seed-based to a pellet-based diet, is to not overfeed them or feed them too early in the day, before offering pellets, to prevent your bird from only wanting to eat the blended food and not the pellets.