Complete Foods

Published on January 18, 2012 by in Articles, Feeding


Pellets are complete nutritional foods that do not require vitamin or mineral supplementation.  They are widely used by many zoos, especially to feed parrots.  Pellets are also becoming increasingly popular amongst parrot breeders.  Pellets are a complete nutritional food that provides birds with a balanced diet.  However, birds fed on pellets have a higher water intake than birds fed on a seed diet.  For this reason, it is important that fresh water is available to the birds at all times.  The recommended maintenance dietary ratio of a pellet based diet for grass parakeets is 60 – 70% pellets, 20 – 25% seeds and 10 -15% green foods and other dietary supplements.

  Initially it might be difficult for the birds to accept pellets into their diet, especially if they are already mature birds and are used to a diet seeds.  A suggested solution is to progressively include an increasingly greater amount of pellets in their seed mix and to check what is being eaten.  After several days they will generally start to eat the pellets and you can start to reduce the amount of seed being offered until they eventually become used to their new diet of pellets.

 There are two types of pellets; these are described below as per the manufacturer’s (Australia) notes.  Pellets are also manufactured and available inSouth Africa.


Compressed Pellets.

The ingredients are ground and mixed, and then steam cooked at a low temperature.  The mixture is then pressed through a die.  This compresses the mixture, giving it a very dense and soft texture.  This process leaves intact the vitamins, probiotics and bacteria naturally present in plants.


Extruded Pellets

The ingredients – oily seeds, cereals, carrots and vegetable oils – are ground and mixed with water.  The mixture is then pressure cooked at a high temperature, pressed through a die and expanded and shaped into a pellet.  The texture is uniform and harder than compressed pellets.  All bacteria, natural flavours, vitamins and provitamins are destroyed in the process.  Manufacturers then add vitamins, minerals, trace elements and fruit or honey flavouring.  Because they are low in fibre, extruded pellets are digested very quickly.

 Extract from A Guide to Neophema & Neopsephotus Genera and their Mutations by Dr Alain Campagne MD.  English revised edition as translated by Christine Leah BA (Hons) Translation edited and published by ABK Publications,PO Box 6288, SouthTweedHeads, NSW Australia. Published in 2008

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