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Energy Level Basics

A balanced companion bird  diet includes a healthy variety of:

Low- to Medium-Energy Vegetables (70% by volume)

Pellet* (20% by volume) 

*Not recommended for Eclectus parrots as there are reports that some Eclectus are sensitive to added vitamins in pellets.

Fruit and Tree Nuts  (10% by volume)

This is your bird's 100% daily diet.


LOW ENERGY- Kale, Collards, Chard, Beet Root (stem and leaves) Alfalfa, Red Cabbage, Capsicum (all colors), Chili, Cauliflower, Arugula  

Medium Energy- Beetroot, Carrot, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Squash

High Energy - Fresh Corn (dried and ground is low energy), legumes (sprouted are low energy) Chia, pumpkin, sesame flax and celery seeds (please never feed commercial seeds, these are stable energy seeds) Millet and seed treats.

Keeping in mind what we have discussed regarding the low energy needs of companion birds,staying to the lower side of things will  help you provide proper nutrition and avoid the intake of extra energy.


Note** pluckers should avoid hot chili (the capsaicin causes a skin irritation). When in doubt you can post to our FB group for help ParrotProblemSolving101 FB forum.  We are always happy to chat about diets.

 "CHOP." is how most people feed these veggies daily.


What is Chop?

It's a finely-chopped or processed mix of fresh and cooked foods prepared for birds. Breeders have been making mixes like this for many years but popularity has recently increased in pet birds because it's a sure-fire way to get them to try (and even learn to enjoy) their veggies. Chop mixes are a great way to introduce new foods to birds who are fussy about what they eat. It is 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. 


Chop may look foreign to your bird so he will need to be taught to eat it. Find a favorite and mix it in with what you want them to eat. This could be nut flour, almond butter or organic unsweetened applesauce. As they forage out the chosen pieces, they will learn that indeed it is all food and eventually eat it all.


How do I start my bird on Chop?

Ok so you have your determination in hand and are ready to do this.  At 6pm remove all food, leaving the water  (including pellets) .In the morning, you will have a very hungry bird, give  a SMALL  serving  (the size of the head) of chop.  This is where we find out if your bird recognizes this as food and jumps right in or if she will need to be taught . If she does not eat it wait an hour and remove the food and wait 20 minutes and put it back. Try this  a few times. You can add their favorite enticing food. You can also eat it with them showing them it is not poison. Tis can be a harrowing time but I assure you a hungry healthy bird will eat and NOT starve. You are the flock leader and you can teach them to eat.


To start they will pick and choose , but over time they will grow brave enough to try it all.Fresh sprouts are a great addition to the chop mix , many birds forage these out first. Br a bit stingy with the goodies, you don't want your bird to live on the goodies instead of trying the chop. 


By afternoon, feed a normal helping of pellets (about the size of your bird's head). At 6PM remove all  so you can start again the next day. When you are assured your bird is eating, this will not be necessary. 


Do not leave uneaten chop in the cage for more than 24 hours, toss it. 


How much should I give my bird to start?

 a rough guide to serving size 

very small birds like budgies should be fed 1-2 tsps;

Small birds like Cockatiel/Conure/Ringneck,1–2 Tbsps;

Medium sized birds like Eclectus/Galah/Cockatoo/Amazon, 2-4 Tbsps;

Large birds like Macaws 4-6 Tbsps.


If they eat it all, give them more. They can have as much Chop as they will eat.


Check out the Blogs on "The Couch" that describe how to Dress It Up and make it more enticing. 



Learn Chop

Developed by Sandra Witt

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