Close

by Diane Burroughs February 13, 2022 6 min read

What if you had the information on what kinds of food your exotic bird needed to be happy and healthy? What if you could make dishes that made them happiest, both emotionally and physically?

It's a known fact that an unhealthy diet can cause neurodegenerative diseases in people. But what about our birds? Do the same rules apply?

It may surprise you to learn that, yes, birds are susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases and other disorders as well.  But, their diets can be optimized for better brain health!

Here's how to keep your bird's brain working like it should so it doesn't have any diet-related behavioral issues...

Why is my parrot so moody?

Parrots are very intelligent and emotional creatures. In fact, they’re capable of experiencing true happiness, sorrow, depression, frustration and anger. Just like us, parrots can get into a bad mood if they’re lacking in certain vitamins or minerals, so it’s important to be aware of what you feed your bird every day.

While your parrot’s diet is one of its biggest indicators of how it’ll behave, it isn’t their only factor. A parrots mood can be affected by environmental factors like

  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor socialization
  • Chronic hormones
  • Lack of enrichment

So, check for signs that your bird is struggling and adjust to a new lifestyle before assuming that you need to supplement its diet.

What does a moody parrot look like?

If your parrot is perpetually hyper, acts pretty miserable, is persistently agitated or aggressive, or shows signs of anxiety, they may need a few diet changes.

The number one sign of a parrot that’s not feeling 100% is moodiness. What does this look like?

  • Depression like inactivity and lack of interest in their environment
  • Excessive fearfulness
  • Aggression
  • Constant screaming

A happy, health bird wakes up rested and enjoys staying busy throughout the day. It enjoys foraging for food, climbing around and exploring its environment, and playing with a variety of toys.

A healthy parrot should also sleep well at night; check for over-stimulation from too much TV or other exposure to artificial light (like lamps) before bedtime. These are just a few tips on how to spot bird mental health problems early—the sooner you address them, they better chance you have at treating them successfully.

Pay attention to how energetic your bird appears to be; if you notice major changes in its behavior, do an extensive vet checkup to ensure nothing is medically wrong with it. You can find an avian vet here. If there are no avian vets within a reasonable driving distance, opt for an exotic pet specialist.

calming bird chop recipe

8 nutrients that help bird brain health

Omega-3 fatty acids - These healthy fats are a must for your bird’s diet. They promote healthy nerve function and support brain development in young birds. Proper brain functioning wards off both depression and anxiety. Consider. feeding your bird walnuts and other nuts, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, chia seeds.

Selenium - This trace mineral is important for proper thyroid function, which is responsible for energy metabolism. Plus, it plays a role in cognitive functions. Your bird may benefit from spinach, tomatoes, and boiled lentils.

Lycopene is found in tomatoes, apricots, red peppers and watermelons. Lycopene boosts your bird’s antioxidant levels to protect against oxidative stress on cells. Cell oxidation can cause lesions in the brain.

Vitamin B12 - Deficiency of Vitamin B12 leads to some unpleasant effects like depression, anxiety and fearfulness. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep nerve cells healthy in brain and throughout the body. If your bird is acting tired and weak, low vitamin B12 may be the culprit. Banana's, apples, and berries are great sources of vitamin B12.

Vitamin C - This vitamin has been known for its anti-stress effect when it comes to humans but did you know that birds need Vitamin C too? Some studies show that vitamin C may lower the stress hormone cortisol in the body.

Vitamin D - is crucial for your bird’s overall health, including their mental and emotional state. Although most birds get vitamin D from spending time in sunlight, during certain times of year or in certain climates, it’s important to make sure your bird gets a supplement such as UnRuffledRx Bird Calcium, magnesium and D3.

Magnesium also plays a role in reducing bird anxiety. Some of your bird’s favorite foods are sources of magnesium: whole grains and greens such as spinach, carrots, beans and peas are good sources of magnesium. Try adding them to his meals to help alleviate stress-related behavior like feather plucking and vocalization.

Calcium - Similar to magnesium, calcium is another mineral that can have a calming effect on birds, especially during stressful times like molting, hormone season, thunderstorms, or vet visits. Calcium can be found naturally in many leafy, green vegetables.

Teach your bird to eat veggies

Calming Bird Chop Recipe 

You know what they say. Birds of a feather flock together. That’s why us bird lover's have to work together to come up with ideas on how to get our picky parrots to eat a variety of plant-based foods.

Bird chop is a finely chopped mix of fresh, raw foods that your bird will love. It’s an easy way to offer a wide variety of foods daily, as mixes can be made in a big batch and frozen, thawing a daily amount as needed.

You might think bird chop is just a mix of seeds and pellets. But there's so much more to it than that! Try a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, grains and even proteins like lean chicken. Mix it up with different textures - some crunchy, some smooth. You never know what your bird might like best!

There are endless varieties to bird chop. The idea is to get your bird used to eating a variety of nutrient dense foods. Try mixing 15 to 20 different foods. Start off with about 1/3 of the mix being foods that your bird already eats. That way your bird is much more apt to try the new stuff!

But what if your bird doesn't eat fruit or vegetables yet? No worries. You can add your birds usual seed mix into the chop and slowly taper it off.

PREP

Clean and coarsely cut the foods and then run them through a a food processor on low to chop them up. If the pieces are rice sized, your bird is more apt to each a larger variety of foods. 

Calming Bird Chop

1 cup cooked quinoa 
2 carrots
1 broccoli
1 cup fresh leafy greens
1 tablespoon UnRuffledRx Bird Calming Tea
1/2 cup berries
1/2 cup red pepper 
1 Tablespoon UnRuffledRx Red Palm Oil
1 Tablespoon raw UnRuffledRx Hemp Seeds
1/2 T. tumeric

Feed the chop first thing in the morning when your bird is most hungry and more apt to try new foods. A little goes a long way.

Small Birds: 1 - 2 Teaspoons per day
Medium Birds: 1 - 2 Tablespoons per day
Large Birds: 3 Tablespoons per day

Refrigerate 2 servings and freeze the rest in 1-2 day sized portions. Silicone ice cube trays work well.  Defrost in the microwave. 


Make it a point to change ingredients with subsequent batches. Try changing vegetables and fruits in subsequent batches. For instance, use fresh spinach one week, kale, the next, and swiss chard the following week. Swap carrots for sweet potato's or yams.

As a rough guide, I would aim for 60% vegetables, 20% nutrient rich fruits, 10% cooked grains/legumes, 5% herbs & spices, and 5% nuts & organic raw seeds.

Related Posts

 8 Critical Vitamins That Make Your Bird's Feathers Glow

Vitamin A Deficiency In Bird's Is More Common Than You Think

Feeding Your Bird A Well Balanced Diet

References

https://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/ss/slideshow-calming-foods

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-foods-that-reduce-anxiety#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322652#takeaway

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/diet-recovery

https://www.melbournebirdvet.com/chop/


Diane Burroughs, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist trained in ABA therapy techniques. She specializes in avian anxiety disorders and is certified in Nutrition For Mental Health. Diane has written a number of bird behavior books and she offers behavior consultations. She's developed a range of UnRuffledRx Science-backed Parrot Wellness Supplies.

Diane's products have been featured in the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery and at Exoticscon, a conference for exotic pet veterinarians. Her bird collars & supplements are stocked in avian vet clinics and bird stores throughout the US. With over 30 years in the field of behavior, Diane has created thousands of successful individualized behavior plans that help pets thrive.

TAGS: #BirdChop #BirdChopRecipe

SHARING IS CARING! PLEASE SHARE ON YOUR FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA NOW!


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.