by Sandra Witt
We all love our birds, they're like our children and we want to make them happy, keep them safe, and reward them when they're good ... oh, and maybe bribe them a little so they will love us more. You know it's true, we all slip into the 'humanization' of our parrots and that's where we start to get into trouble.
We get in the habit of over-indulging them and giving them more 'treats' than they should have. Then, we think, "hmm, what if they're bored with these treats? What else can I give them." So we run to the parrot section of the nearest pet store or we go to the Parrot Expo or the "inter-webs" in the search for new and different treats. What do suppose we find? Well, there is a plethora of options for our dear little feathered babies. But ARE these treats really "healthy" at all or are we being TRICKED into paying for things that will turn our sweet babies into wild animals, or worse ... endanger their health?
It is impossible to cover every treat out there so if you want to purchase treats then please READ THE INGREDIENTS. If you see dried fruit as an ingredient, remember, the drying process concentrates sugars. Since the volume of food is smaller and concentration of sugar is higher, they can eat a lot more of it which means you can raise their sugar intake significantly, which will not end well.
When I consider buying something new for my birds, the first thing I do is I turn the package over and read the ingredients; 99% of those things get put back on the shelf. I'm serious! My birds are happy and excited to get a nut in the shell, they never turn their beaks up at a nut. I can give them some fresh apple or a strawberry ... that's a treat for them even though they get fruit daily (heck they would eat only fruit if I allowed it). How about some air-popped corn or some pomegranate pips? These are all treats to a bird. I like making my own treats anyway, mostly because that way I know the ingredients but also because it's fun. If you want to "mix it up"a little then bake some bird bread or make your own treat from the recipe files but remember treats are an occasional indulgence so please feed responsibly.
Originally published October 16, 2016. Revised by original author and republished with permission.