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Bird Food: Add Some Variety to a Bird’s Diet

Birds like it when you mix it up.

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MILLENNIAL PET NUTRITION expert Meghan Arriola gives advice on animal diets every week to her 150K YouTube subscribers — usually with a pet like Berry, a Rose-Breasted Cockatoo, perched on her shoulder. “When I’m feeding birds, I do vegetables and fruits in the morning, and save the seeds for later in the day,” she said. “Birds seem to like it when you mix it up.” 

Healthy Plates

“Companion parrots eat differently than in the wild,” says Arriola, who feeds more than 70 pets on her El Paso farm every day, and shares her online experiences as a video blogger at Happy Tails on YouTube. To get picky birds into vitamin-rich foods, Arriola’s trick is to feed kale, cilantro and squash early, when birds are hungrier and more likely to eat.

Pure Fun for Parrots & Conures
ZuPreem

KEY FEATURES: Peas, corn and pistachios are blended with papaya, pineapple and grapes to make a balanced dinner plate.

SALES TIP: The Pure Fun line matches birds big to small with right-sized food pieces to minimize wasted food.

zupreem.com, (913) 962-8887

$12.99

Tropical Carnival Ultimate Avian Diet
F.M. Brown’s

KEY FEATURES: Whole-grain brown rice blended with fruit and vegetables make a complete diet that prevents selective eating.

SALES TIP: Put out a sample. The bright colors, sweet scent and interesting textures will catch customers’ eyes.

fmbrown.com, (800) 334-8816

$10.99

Grains & Greens Nutritional Supplement for Cockatiels
ECOTRITION

KEY FEATURES: High-powered veggies like broccoli, leeks and peppers are backed up by healthy grains like buckwheat and barley. 

SALES TIP: This food combo implements diversity to keeps birds interested in their meals. 

ecotrition.com, (800) 645-5154

$3.99

Fruity Flavor

Feeding all of those animals means a lot of prep work. Each night, as Arriola mixes food for her chinchillas, snakes, alpacas and horses, she chooses two new fruits to add to the daily bird chop. “I like to add orange peppers and apples one day, blueberries and bananas the next,” she said. “It keeps the diet changing, and it keeps their interest in the food.”

Blueberry Tesoro Treat
Top’s Parrot Food

KEY FEATURES: Blueberries are matched with organic pumpkin, sesame and flax seeds, then topped with turmeric, cinnamon and dulse.

SALES TIP: The ingredients in this proprietary blend are germinated then gently dried to keep the nutrition alive.

topsparrotfood.com

$7.95

Fruit-Mania Instant Treats
San Francisco Bay Brand

KEY FEATURES: A fruit basket for the masses filled with bananas, blueberries, strawberries, mangoes and papayas, plus kiwi, apples and pears.

SALES TIP: Birds will love the surprise ingredient: bee pollen.

sfbb.com, (510) 792-7200

$22.99

InTune Natural
Higgins Premium

KEY FEATURES: Bananas and citrus fruits replace sprayed-on flavor in this natural bird food.

SALES TIP: Fake colors don’t fly here. The vivid colors in this line come from natural sources like annatto seeds and turmeric root.

higginspremium.com, (305) 681-4444

$13.99

Seeds, Beans & Grains

“My parrots would eat seeds all day if I let them,” Arriola says, but she doesn’t, of course, because indoor birds don’t burn as many calories as birds in the wild. “Birds in captivity don’t fly for miles. They’re not searching for food to stay alive.” She feeds her birds seeds later in the day, for a second meal or an evening snack.

Tropimix for Cockatiels and Lovebirds
Hari

KEY FEATURES: Birds get a burst of peanut flavor in this blend, which includes Tropican granules to encourage vibrant feathers and strong bones.

SALES TIP: This blend is 100 percent edible — free of all shells and husks.

hari.ca, (800) 361-6753

$11.99

Nyjer Seed
Wagner’s

KEY FEATURES: Finches and small songbirds love the high fat and protein of Nyjer, or thistle, seed.

SALES TIP: Use in wild bird feeders that have smaller holes and tiny perches — perfect for the finches but frustrating for larger birds.

wagners.com, (516) 933-6580

$16.99

Bean Cuisine
L’Avian Plus

KEY FEATURES: A bean-forward combination of kidney, lentil, pinto and peas, specially formulated for hookbills.

SALES TIP: After the boiling and soaking prep, bird owners can freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays to measure out perfect future portions.

lavianplus.com, (800) 543-3308

$25.99

Michelle Lange writes about hamster food, bath scrubbers and bird toys — all the new pet products coming to market.

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