A Healthy Parakeet Diet
The native parakeet grew up in the grasslands of Australia, living in eucalyptus trees. Those grasslands provided the parakeets what they needed to live. They would eat the fresh greens, the fruits and berries they found there, and the seeds that came in the fall.
So while parakeet seed is ONE part of what a parakeet's diet should have in it, it is definitely not ALL, and a parakeet raised solely on parakeet seed will have some form of malnutrition. Even the fortified seeds you find in stores are usually fortified with a powder sprinkled on the outside of the seed. Since a parakeet "shells" its seeds before eating them, leaving behind that outer skin, the fortification does little good.
The Association of Avian Veterinarians recommends the following diet for a parakeet:
50% cooked beans, whole wheat bread, cooked rice, pasta, and seed.
45% fresh broccoli, carrots, yams, spinach, kale, other green/orange fruits and veggies.
5% eggs, tuna packed in water, well cooked meat.
Remember that fresh fruits and vegetables can spoil pretty fast so don't keep it out for more than a day or two.
You should provide a cuttlebone for your parakeet. A cuttlebone is the bone of a cuttlefish. Cuttlebone is an excellent source of calcium and a good way of keeping your parakeet's beak properly worn down. Also try to keep some sort of a mineral block in your bird's cage.
Parakeets are lactose-intolerant and cannot eat a lot of dairy product. Also, parakeets are HIGHLY allergic to chocolate and avocados and should never be given either. Don't feed a parakeet caffeine, alcohol, lemons, oranges, grapefruits, peanuts, eggplant, rhubarb, or raw and green potatoes. Junk food such as pretzels, potato chips, etc., plus foods that are spicy or contains a lot of salt and seasoning, aren't good for a parakeet either! You can feed a parakeet fresh fruit such as apples and cherries, but be careful about the seeds because those have toxins in them. Lettuce is fine, but it really has no nutrients in it. It's better to give them other, healthier greens.
Parakeets do NOT overeat, though they are prone to obesity. If anything, people tend to give them
too little food, thinking a seed cup is full when really it's just full
of the empty shells of the seeds the parakeet has already eaten. Be sure to
refill your parakeet's food supply daily and to give him or her lots of
fresh foods too.
( A little more on obesity: Obesity can lead to the development of fatty tumors. These are commonly found over the chest or abdomen. Obesity also develops, in most cases, a layer of fat over the entire surface of the body under the skin. Obese budgies usually have some degree of liver problems. Budgies with liver disease may have overgrown toenails and beaks.
The main reason for obesity and vitamin deficiencies is when they are protein-deficient. Budgies need a certain level of protein to tell their brains that it's time to stop eating. If they don't get enough protein from their diet, they will overeat calories searching for that protein, so they tend to get obese. Try feeding your parakeet less seed, and if you do, feed them millet because millet has the lowest amount of fat. Give your bird more fruits and vegetables or nutritious pellets. Encourage your parakeet to exercise and play with toys frequently to prevent obesity.
To watch out for obesity, use a weighing scale. Find one that weighs in grams as opposed to ounces to monitor your parakeet's weight. The normal weight for budgies ranges from 26 to 30 grams. )
Just like most people feed their cats and dogs "kibble" (processed pellets) instead of their natural foods some people also feed their parakeets pellets. They are nutritionally balanced and a great way to meet all of the parakeet's food requirements easily. Some parakeets love these pellets, others are convinced they want to eat "real food". Whichever way you go, be sure to give your parakeet a diet that is balanced and healthy.
You'll find millet in many pet stores. This is very high in fat
and is a treat for parakeets. It should only be fed to them
occasionally. Parakeets in the wild certainly did not have millet
Some people who have just purchased parakeets from a LOCAL PET STORE tend to feed them something different from what they are used to eating. At first, your budgie may not seem to eat, but don't let that worry you. If they are hungry enough, they won't starve themselves. The best way to approach this is by buying the food your parakeet was used to eating and mixing it with the food you intend on feeding your bird. Day by day, reduce the amount of the "pet store food" until your parakeet has adjusted to his/her new diet.
Healthy Water for your Parakeet
Be sure your parakeet always has fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water. Water is CRITICAL for a healthy parakeet, and it has to be clean. You should change your parakeet's water daily. Parakeets enjoy fresh water. Water that sits still for a while gets stagnant and scummy.
Try to keep the water dish high up where it won't have things falling into it. This can include seed shells, feathers, millet, or other such things. Sometimes the occasional feather will drift in anyway, but again if you're changing the water daily, it shouldn't matter much.
Don't put any supplements or other items into the water. Some salesmen try to get you to buy "liquid vitamins" that you put into your bird's water to provide extra minerals. Those vitamins can make the water taste funny, so the bird might not even drink the water and will get sick. The vitamins also promote bacterial growth, which can also make your bird ill.