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by Diane Burroughs March 24, 2016 2 min read

The Hazards of an All Seed Bird Diet

Seeds are not bad for birds. It’s no question that for hundreds of years birds have been fed seeds . The problem now, though, is that all seed diets – consisting of nothing but seeds for birds – is actually incredibly bad, and does not carry the right amount of nutrients and protein that birds need to maintain their health. An all bird seed diet actually shortens the life span of of pet birds. Here are the reasons why, and other alternatives rather than giving birds simply an all seed diet.

There are three reasons parrot seed diets cause malnourishment, toxicity, or even worse harm to birds.

1. Most Seeds Contain Insecticides & Toxins

The number one reason bird seed diets are harmful to birds is the insecticides, pesticides and fungicides sprayed on the seeds. When nurturing and harvesting seeds on farms, they are sprayed – usually daily – with different forms of chemicals from insecticides to fungicides. Though this practice prevents he seeds from being damaged by insects, funguses, and mold, it does coat the hull with potentially toxic chemicals that birds ingest. If you feed seed, look for organic mixes.

2. Picking And Choosing Out Favorites Leads To An Imbalanced Diet

Even if a bird seed diet is scientifically formulated and contains added fruits and vegetables, picky birds pick and choose their favorite tidbits and leave the rest.  A bird can have a full bowl of fresh seeds all day long and still run the risk of malnutrition. Their stomachs are too small to ingest a large amount, so what they do ingest matters very much to their well-being and nourishment. This is a big problem with seed mixes.  Did you know that the number one problem avian vets see are the effects of malnutrition from an all seed diet?  The seed mix itself has enough of a balanced amount of nutrition and formula to nourish a bird, but birds are picky – they will only eat what they enjoy eating, so they typically do not each certain parts of the mix, making it very difficult for them to gain the proper nutrition they require.

Notice on the Bird Food Pyramid above that bird seed comprises of a small portion of a proper parrot diet.  Pellets are the mainstay with a portion of veggies, fruits, sprouts and grains.  Variety is truly the spice of life for pet birds.

3. Switching Your Parrot to a Nutritionally Sound Diet 

So, you understand the hazards of feeding your parrot an all seed diet and want to improve your pet's well-being and longevity.  With patience and maybe even help from your avian vet.  Here's a thorough post on how to go about converting your parrot to a pelleted diet.  With patience and persistence, your bird will begin enjoying a healthy diet rich of nutritional pellets, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that can help to reduce the risk of heart disease 

Congratulations on your efforts to improve your parrot's lot in life!

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