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**KAZ**

Rabbit And Guinea Pig Pellets For Budgies ?

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Yesterday when I was buying my whey protein powder at the stockfeed place for my budgies, I bought a small bag of rabbit/guinea pig pellets to try for the budgies. They looked fresh and greenish and from a reputable supply source.

As the key ingredients are healthy grass, lucernes and grains etc for the rabbit/guinea pigs I thought maybe the budgie may like to try them out. Way cheaper than budgie pellets which I do not believe in at all. These were bought as an additive to the diet the budgies are on and as a little experiment.

Nothing happened at the budgies eating time last night but today they are fully being eaten. The budgies seem keen on them. I served them in a seperate bowl in the middle of a seed tray.

 

002-14.jpg

 

003-23.jpg

 

These are some of the possible kinds of ingredients in rabbit and guinea pig pellets..............

 

DEHYDRATED ALFALFA

SUNCURED ALFALFA

OAT/RICE HULLS

SOYBEAN HULLS

BEET PULP

GRAIN SCREENINGS

ENERGY

BARLEY

OATS OR OAT GROATS

OAT MILL FEED

CORN, HOMINY OR MILO

WHEAT / WHEAT FLOUR

GRAIN PRODUCTS

RICE BRAN

WHEAT BRAN

WHEAT MIDDLINGS

SOYBEAN MILL RUN /FEED

WHEAT MILL RUN / FEED

CANE MOLASSES

PROTEIN

COTTONSEED MEAL

SAFFLOWER MEAL

SOYBEAN MEAL

WHEAT GERM MEAL

PLANT PROTEIN PRODUCTS

WHEAT PROTEIN

DRIED WHEY

ADDITIVES

OILS (SOY OR CORN)

PLANT STEROL (D2)

ANIMAL STEROL (D3)

VITAMIN/MIN. SUPPLMENTS

PROBIOTICS/BREWER YEAST

Edited by KAZ

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How did you know if it was safe or not but then it's no different than me using racehorse mix :D Ha ha I am just using a faster mix :D .

Kaz still can't get the whey protein here du :P mb town

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so is it safe? i might try it although i would have thought there wouild be alot of fat ? :P thanks kaz

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How did you know if it was safe or not but then it's no different than me using racehorse mix :D Ha ha I am just using a faster mix :D .Kaz still can't get the whey protein here du :P mb town
This person will post to you I believe GNANGARA. City Livestock, 727a Gnangara Road, 08 9302 3027Its where I buy mine.
so is it safe? i might try it although i would have thought there wouild be alot of fat ? :D thanks kaz
My research shows there is 6% fat in bird pellets and 1-2% fat in rabbit pellets. I stand to be corrected if this info is wrong. I guess it depends on brands.
Kaz still can't get the whey protein here du :D mb town
try here............ http://thehorseshop.com.au/store/index.php...facturers_id=29kohnkes_MuscleXL.jpg you can buy it online. Edited by KAZ

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Keep in mind I'm a relative newbie but I hadn't heard of feeding budgies whey protein...but it sounds like a great idea. How much, how often and how do you include this in their diet? I see it's horse whey powder you are using so that must mean there isn't a specific one for birds? I'll have to see if I can get something like that here in western Canada.

 

Kaz, you said you don't believe in budgie pellets...I'd be interested to know why. I give mine an enriched seed but so often I see owners and breeders who advocate a pellet only diet and I don't know why. My birds get an assortment of fresh veggies and fruit and egg each week plus the enriched seed mix. Your thoughts would be most appreciated.

 

Interesting about the guinea pig pellets...I might give that a try. Why is this better than budgie pellets?

 

Sorry for so many questions but I'm still learning !!!! :P

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Keep in mind I'm a relative newbie but I hadn't heard of feeding budgies whey protein...but it sounds like a great idea.

How much, I use around a tablespoon per large bowlful of soft food in my preparation.

how often everyday they get soft food

and how do you include this in their diet? in their soft food

I see it's horse whey powder you are using so that must mean there isn't a specific one for birds? No...most people ( show breeders ) use whey protein powder for humans. this one has a higher percentage of protein

I'll have to see if I can get something like that here in western Canada.

 

NOTE>>>>>>>I use the whey protein powder to enhance the size and physique of my show budgies. I dont think its necessary for pet type budgies at all.

Kaz, you said you don't believe in budgie pellets...I'd be interested to know why.

I dont believe in the propaganda promoted for budgies to go onto pellets as compared to a good seed diet. This I believe is brought about by vets trying to promote pellets as a complete diet. If we more responsible budgie owners feed a VARIED diet, full of vegies, fresh leaves and branches as well as seed, they are getting a complete diet.

Read this article http://forums.budgiebreeders.asn.au/index....showtopic=18890

That reflects my feelings on the topic of pellets.

I give mine an enriched seed but so often I see owners and breeders who advocate a pellet only diet and I don't know why.

Vets are promoting pellets due to budgies being presented with certain illnesses that they put down to seed only diets, therefore they push the pellet diet as a complete meal...much in the same way as dry food is promoted for complete meals for cats and dogs ( I dont believe in that either :D ) They forget that a lot of us budgie owners give massive variety in our birds diets...therefore I think variety is KEY to a budgies best health, not some pasty constructed pellet of unknown origins.

My birds get an assortment of fresh veggies and fruit and egg each week plus the enriched seed mix. Your thoughts would be most appreciated.

 

Interesting about the guinea pig pellets...I might give that a try.

 

Why is this better than budgie pellets? Dont know........I wont use bird pellets. BUT I am using this as an extra to my birds varied diet......There would be little of a natural element that my birds do not get....they get it all. I am trying this just as another thing they have a choice about eating.

 

Sorry for so many questions but I'm still learning !!!! :P

:D These are only my thoughts on this topic

Edited by KAZ

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Keep in mind I'm a relative newbie but I hadn't heard of feeding budgies whey protein...but it sounds like a great idea.

How much, I use around a tablespoon per large bowlful of soft food in my preparation.

how often everyday they get soft food

and how do you include this in their diet? in their soft food

I see it's horse whey powder you are using so that must mean there isn't a specific one for birds? No...most people ( show breeders ) use whey protein powder for humans. this one has a higher percentage of protein

I'll have to see if I can get something like that here in western Canada.

 

NOTE>>>>>>>I use the whey protein powder to enhance the size and physique of my show budgies. I dont think its necessary for pet type budgies at all.

Kaz, you said you don't believe in budgie pellets...I'd be interested to know why.

I dont believe in the propaganda promoted for budgies to go onto pellets as compared to a good seed diet. This I believe is brought about by vets trying to promote pellets as a complete diet. If we more responsible budgie owners feed a VARIED diet, full of vegies, fresh leaves and branches as well as seed, they are getting a complete diet.

Read this article http://forums.budgiebreeders.asn.au/index....showtopic=18890

That reflects my feelings on the topic of pellets.

I give mine an enriched seed but so often I see owners and breeders who advocate a pellet only diet and I don't know why.

Vets are promoting pellets due to budgies being presented with certain illnesses that they put down to seed only diets, therefore they push the pellet diet as a complete meal...much in the same way as dry food is promoted for complete meals for cats and dogs ( I dont believe in that either :D ) They forget that a lot of us budgie owners give massive variety in our birds diets...therefore I think variety is KEY to a budgies best health, not some pasty constructed pellet of unknown origins.

My birds get an assortment of fresh veggies and fruit and egg each week plus the enriched seed mix. Your thoughts would be most appreciated.

 

Interesting about the guinea pig pellets...I might give that a try.

 

Why is this better than budgie pellets? Dont know........I wont use bird pellets. BUT I am using this as an extra to my birds varied diet......There would be little of a natural element that my birds do not get....they get it all. I am trying this just as another thing they have a choice about eating.

 

Sorry for so many questions but I'm still learning !!!! :D

:D These are only my thoughts on this topic

Completely endorse all Kaz's comments. :D

 

My only question is, I see why these rabbit/guinea pig pellets would do no harm BUT what is the specific nutritional benefit from feeding your budgies these? I mean if you are feeding your budgies a healthy seed & veggie diet why add these as well? :P

Edited by renee

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My only question is, I see why these rabbit/guinea pig pellets would do no harm BUT what is the specific nutritional benefit from feeding your budgies these? I mean if you are feeding your budgies a healthy seed & veggie diet why add these as well? :P

 

 

In my case, I was just trying an experiment....whilst my budgies will not eat budgie pellets in the past...they took to these bunny pellets with gusto :D I guess its extras....we dont feed our budgies lucerne or alfalfa or molasses....these pellets contain these ingredients and extras....also probiotics and brewers yeast.

 

Well, they must be tasty, as more than half the container has been eaten for their breakfast.

You may ask then...why bunny pellets instead of budgie pellets ? So far its a price thing and my stubborn nature to refuse budgie pellets as a food for my budgies :D

 

I could be totally wrong here, but so far the experiment has had a positive result.

Edited by KAZ

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My only question is, I see why these rabbit/guinea pig pellets would do no harm BUT what is the specific nutritional benefit from feeding your budgies these? I mean if you are feeding your budgies a healthy seed & veggie diet why add these as well? :P

 

 

In my case, I was just trying an experiment....whilst my budgies will not eat budgie pellets in the past...they took to these bunny pellets with gusto :D I guess its extras....we dont feed our budgies lucerne or alfalfa or molasses....these pellets contain these ingredients and extras....also probiotics and brewers yeast.

 

Well, they must be tasty, as more than half the container has been eaten for their breakfast.

You may ask then...why bunny pellets instead of budgie pellets ? So far its a price thing and my stubborn nature to refuse budgie pellets as a food for my budgies :D

 

I could be totally wrong here, but so far the experiment has had a positive result.

Well you may be on to something here :D

 

I have been frantically trying to find the reference in The Challenge to the benefits of feeding alfalfa and lucerene .... I am pretty certain that Gerald Binks recommends Hulled Oats and Lucerne as part of the budgies diet as they contain substances vital to vitality and fertility.

................................................................................

................................................

okay, found the reference, NOT in The Challenge but in Rob Marshall's latest book The Budgerigar :D

p84 in CH Nutrition for Exhibition Budgerigars-

"Most cultivated seeds a re deficient in two essential amino acids lysine and methionine. These two proteins are known as the "breeding" amino acids because of their importance for breeding success. They are the most difficult to balance as they are not found in significance amounts in many cultivated seeds. Oats, wheat and triticale are good sources of lysine. Sunflower contains high levels of both lysine and methionine. For this reason oats, wheat and sunflower are often used in soft food recipes in order to provide good levels of lysine and methionine during the breeding season. Millets offer a good source of methionine but along with canary grass seed, not a reliable source of lysine."

 

So, I guess I have to correct earlier comments and say the following ingredients are of great benefit:

DEHYDRATED ALFALFA

SUNCURED ALFALFA

OAT/RICE HULLS

SOYBEAN HULLS

BEET PULP

GRAIN SCREENINGS

ENERGY

BARLEY

OATS OR OAT GROATS

OAT MILL FEED

CORN, HOMINY OR MILO

WHEAT / WHEAT FLOUR

GRAIN PRODUCTS

RICE BRAN

WHEAT BRAN

WHEAT MIDDLINGS

SOYBEAN MILL RUN /FEED

WHEAT MILL RUN / FEED

CANE MOLASSES

PROTEIN

COTTONSEED MEAL

SAFFLOWER MEAL

SOYBEAN MEAL

WHEAT GERM MEAL

PLANT PROTEIN PRODUCTS

WHEAT PROTEIN

DRIED WHEY

ADDITIVES

OILS (SOY OR CORN)

PLANT STEROL (D2)

ANIMAL STEROL (D3)

VITAMIN/MIN. SUPPLMENTS

PROBIOTICS/BREWER YEAST

Edited by renee

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Although I don't feed these pellets at the minute I did use to provide similar when last I was in the hobby. I came across a poultry mix completely different from the usual sold. I tweaked it a bit and provided it to my birds daily. One of the main ingredients was Lucerne also known as Alfalfa. Lucerne is widely used by livestock breeders but it is not fed in high concentrations. It is an extremely good source of calcium.

 

I have always supplied yeast in the birds soft food. My only change over the years would be that I do not feed any Soy products. My original soft food mix base was Soy meal. Over the years there has been many studies on the phytoestrogens in Soy that have been for the most part negative in nature. I decided to discontinue it's use and change the mix. Before anybody asks for the receipe I don't have it. It was in my head and I sort of forgot it. I am going to have to work on it over time to try and remember the ingredients.

 

As far a budgie pellets go. I don't use and never have used them. Vets with little or no knowledge of birds generally are the ones pushing there use.

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its good your birds are loving it kaz next time try getting a mix with the actual chaff as well with tad of malaise birds love it and still get the pellets

its good as a prevention against eating the poo on floor as the prefer to nibble the little sticks of weet and grasses

my birds love it

i get one called jack rabbit :D its cheep as per 20 kg and lasts for ever if stored right

 

i was told red hen chicken pellets but haven't tried as yet so....

Edited by GenericBlue

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Kaz, at a guess the reason they have taken to them may be the molasses content. We used to have guinea pigs and different brands had varying quantities of molasses. The guinea pigs soon showed a preference to the ones with more molasses which were sweeter. Don't know if budgies have a sweet tongue but that may be a reason.

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I give my birds race n grow and it has molasses they love it. :wub:

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Am I wrong or is molasses a great source of iron as well as energy ?

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I am completely in agreement with kaz and splat and others about the budgie pellet debate. All propaganda in my opinion. However, I am also completely FOR finding alternative pellets that offer variety and supplementation.

 

My addition to this discussion comes in the form of a question. I have often heard tell of various breeders who use "a spoon full of this" and "a handful of that" or a "table spoon here and there" in there soft food regimes. Now while I don't doubt that they have honed their recipes down over time and their birds benefit greatly, but do we really know what we are feeding them?

 

I have lost a great amount of weight in the last few years (over 30kg), and my interest and knowledge of human nutrition has grown with my passion for health and wellbeing grew. As such I came into contact with calorie counting software over the internet, with the main benefit that it tracks vitamins/minerals, calories and protein/carb/fat ratios. With this tool, I went and looked around for budgie nutritional info which is still somewhat lacking as not much money or time has gone into big studies for budgie nutritional requirements specifically. However I did find a general consensus among some GOOD solid info that regular budgies should be on an intake with protein/carb/fat ratios of 19% / 71% / 9-10%. Breeding budgies can have protein/carb/fat ratios of 25-27% / 62% / 11%. Now its basically impossible to manage seed in that way because seed is very high in fats, in order to bring the ratios down you would have too add carbs for the main part but I ignore seed for now (try to give the best mix, but dont worry about it just now).

 

What I *DO* try to do is make my soft food conform to the required ratios so I know that at least something im giving them is in accordance with what I am reading thus far. I use a mixture of egg powder for protein and fats, milk arrowroot powder (100% carbs, great for adjusting the ratios), wheatgerm (packed full of vitamins), bread crumbs (mainly for texture, but i use wholemeal bread crums for added fiber since budgies need about 9g fiber every 100g of food if memory serves). To this is added shredder broccoli for more vitamins etc, carrot, and beetroot. The final ratio at the moment using the software to work out exactly how many grams of each food item to put in allows me a final mix ratio of 19% protein, 71% carbs, 10% fats. This is the daily soft food I use in the aviary. The breeders get a higher protein version.

 

I may look into whey protein as it is purely protein if I recall. Wheatgerm, wheatbran etc are all great sources of vitamins and minerals. This is why Im interested in those pellets Kaz mentioned, as the wider variety of alfalfa and all those other ingredients is of interest to me..

 

If anyone is interested, google "Cron-O-Meter" for the food tracking software I use. It takes a little bit of getting use to but I find it another invaluable tool for my birds wellbeing. I hope to continue researching and honing my softfood so my birds nutrition can be optimised year round.

 

Thoughts?

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Interesting thread, but time for me to chime in as I believe the poor old pellet is not getting a fair go in this thread. First, let me declare that I feed a varied diet that includes mixed seed, bird pellets, vegetables and various sprouted seeds to try to meet the carbohydrate, protein, fat, fibre, vitamin and mineral needs of my birds.

 

Dean, I think you're on the right track with trying to achieve different ratios of protein/carbs/fat to meet the needs of your birds at different times of the year. I've tried using egg protein powder also but, after repeated attempts my birds would not accept it.

 

Now! It seems that without exception all of the posts above agree that bird pellets are bad for birds. This may be true for some of the cases mentioned in the American link posted by Kaz, but painting all pellets with the same brush seems unfair. That would be like saying that all cars are rubbish because your first car was a Lada Samara (anyone remember these?).

 

One point agreed by all in this thread is that variety is the key to healthy budgies (and to which I whole heartedly agree). Yet why are bird pellets so condemned? This is where the points made in this thread have become unbalanced. It has been agreed that it's okay to feed guinea pig pellets to SUPPLEMENT a budgie's diet, but it is not acceptable to feed a supposed complete budgie pellet as a SOLE dietary source. For all those who are against the feeding of bird pellets as the sole diet, why would you simply not feed them as a SUPPLEMENT to your varied seed diet? That is, to supplement your budgie's diet with a pellet developed specifically for the diet of a bird and not that of a rodent with different dietary needs. I'm all for experimentation with different foods but when a suitable pellet has already been developed wouldn't that be the first choice? I agree that some of the prices charged for some bird pellets border on highway robbery so you need to shop around. Later I'll link to a pellet I'm currently using which I believe is also good value. Also, palatability varies with brand and you need to find something your birds will want to eat. Younger birds will accept them more readily.

 

Looking through the ingredients of the guinea pig pellet there seems to be a fantastic array of suitable foodstuffs. In an earlier post I mentioned that the guinea pig pellets also contain molasses. Molasses is high in energy (which can be good at certain times of the year) but as molasses comes from cane sugar then this energy is derived from sugar. The diet of the budgerigar does not normally take in sugar and with good reason: sugar can provide food for any yeast residing in the crop and thus encourage the development of crop fungal infections. Not good.

 

Next, protein supplementation. At the moment I try to meet the protein needs of my birds with the variety of foods mentioned in my opening paragraph. But, as with most of us, our birds' diets are dynamic and I may well change in the future. As for using whey protein powder I'm afraid I can't agree with that either. Budgerigars are generally lactose intolerant and therefore their digestive system does not effectively assimilate protein from milk sources. Whey protein is dairy based and comprised of 70%+ lactose. Hence why I've tried to follow what Dean mentioned and get my birds (unsuccessfully) to accept egg powder protein. However, if you think you're getting good results from the Whey powder with no side effects then I guess go for it. Another thing to consider is that massive amounts of protein will be harmful to your birds anyway. Plus, the addition of extra protein won't make your bird grow to Herculean proportions. If it were that easy then gyms would be out of business and all of us males would be Arnie lookalikes simply by eating super high protein. Budgies don't lift weights so all that the extra protein can do is assure the birds reach their genetic potential, nothing more.

 

One thing borne out in this thread is that we all feed a different diet to our birds and we can learn from each other. There is no one superior diet and diets are often tailored to suit both owner and bird. However, given the bad rap that bird pellets seem to have gotten in this thread I'm going to try an experiment of my own and report the findings, good, bad or indifferent, back to this forum. I currently have a cull cage which has 7 birds aged from 2 to 6 months old and a 5 year old cock. Instead of offering them the usual mixed seed dish, separate pellets and my soft food mix I am going to replace the seed with pellets only. I plan to do this for the next 4 months. They currently eat all the pellets I offer so the conversion should be fairly easy (although I'll keep a closer eye on the 5 year old to make sure he's actually eating). Below is a picture of the dish I have offered the birds today. It is a mix of seed and pellets, but contains only enough seed for about 2 days. When it is devoured I will replace it with just pellets.

 

seedandpellets.jpg

 

Just to be clear, although this pellet is marketed as a complete food, I am with the majority on this thread in that I would NOT feed it as such. These birds will still receive all of the additional foods that the rest of my birds receive. But I believe the pellets may be superior to the basic canary/millet mix alone which is deficient in essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Anyway, time will tell.

 

Here is a link to the pellet I'm feeding. I can't speak highly enough of the products offered at this establishment (the seed is the cleanest I have ever seen), but the web site is a bit of a shocker!

 

Small Bird Pellet

 

The one I use is called Small Bird Diet. Basic specs are listed at the bottom of the page.

 

Here's a picture of the soft food mix my birds get. It generally consists of sprouted mung beans, sprouted grey sunflower, sprouted corn, sprouted racehorse oats, sprouted wheat, grated carrot and chopped broccoli. I'm still experimenting with the ratios. I sometimes like to add a few other things but this takes enough time in the morning as it is. Here are 2 pictures of the soft mix:

 

softfood.jpg

 

Closeup:

 

softfoodcrop.jpg

 

Each cage gets enough so that where possible it's all eaten by mid afternoon. I feed this all year round. Naturally enough any birds feeeding chicks eat a greater quantity of it.

 

Another change I made to my feeding regime recently (encouraged by this forum) was to replace the cuttlefish bone with a mineral powder mix for economic and dietary reasons. It is the pink powder at this link. I offer it in a separate small bowl (others would probably use finger drawer feeders for this). The birds eat it sparingly but it will last MUCH longer than the cuttlefish.

 

One important point with feeding bird pellets is to use the right one. On the site I have linked to above you can also find reference to a Breeders Pellet. I used to use this one when breeding Rosellas a few years ago. Although tempting with it's higher levels of protein, this pellet is NOT suitable for our budgies. The main reason for this is the increased calcium levels. Excessive calcium can lead to kidney problems amongst other things. Hence why I'm generally not in favour of adding liquid calcium to the bird's water (meaning they MUST take it in) when you have already taken other steps (ie the pink powder, the pellets) to ensure they can, if required, select foods containing calcium. The right amount of calcium is good but too much of a good thing is bad.

 

Finally, whilst taking the photos of the seed/pellet mix I decided to add another photo of something else I do. Some on here like to add millet sprays to the next box to encourage the chicks to begin eating. Weather permitting (ie, not too cold) I like to move the babies to the main seed bowl just before they are due to leave the nest. Here they will be fed by the parents and, as they are living in the seed dish, will usually begin cracking seeds within the first day. The trick here is to use a bowl of sufficient size that the chicks cannot escape until they are able to move fairly well around the cage. By this stage they will also be eating fairly well, although probably still being fed by the parents. It also helps to free up the nest for the hen and prevents her having to begin laying with a nest of reluctant to leave chicks who may play soccer with the new eggs. Here is a picture of 2 young chicks who I put into their bowl today. They are a bit younger than normal, but it is so hot here at the moment that my reason for booting them out was also for some respite from the heat.

 

birdsinbowl.jpg

 

This is simply a dog bowl purchased in Woolies. You can see that the deep side walls prevent them escaping until they've grown quite a bit more. The deep dish also means less husks being spread around. Only downside to this arrangement is making sure the seed remains clean so it means having smaller quantities of seed available in the bowl than I normally would so wastage is minimised.

 

Well, once again this turned into an epic. I hope you may have perhaps picked up something useful from the above rant.

 

Cheers

 

Daryl

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Interesting thread, but time for me to chime in as I believe the poor old pellet is not getting a fair go in this thread. First, let me declare that I feed a varied diet that includes mixed seed, bird pellets, vegetables and various sprouted seeds to try to meet the carbohydrate, protein, fat, fibre, vitamin and mineral needs of my birds.

 

Dean, I think you're on the right track with trying to achieve different ratios of protein/carbs/fat to meet the needs of your birds at different times of the year. I've tried using egg protein powder also but, after repeated attempts my birds would not accept it.

 

Now! It seems that without exception all of the posts above agree that bird pellets are bad for birds. This may be true for some of the cases mentioned in the American link posted by Kaz, but painting all pellets with the same brush seems unfair. That would be like saying that all cars are rubbish because your first car was a Lada Samara (anyone remember these?).

 

One point agreed by all in this thread is that variety is the key to healthy budgies (and to which I whole heartedly agree). Yet why are bird pellets so condemned? This is where the points made in this thread have become unbalanced. It has been agreed that it's okay to feed guinea pig pellets to SUPPLEMENT a budgie's diet, but it is not acceptable to feed a supposed complete budgie pellet as a SOLE dietary source. For all those who are against the feeding of bird pellets as the sole diet, why would you simply not feed them as a SUPPLEMENT to your varied seed diet? That is, to supplement your budgie's diet with a pellet developed specifically for the diet of a bird and not that of a rodent with different dietary needs. I'm all for experimentation with different foods but when a suitable pellet has already been developed wouldn't that be the first choice? I agree that some of the prices charged for some bird pellets border on highway robbery so you need to shop around. Later I'll link to a pellet I'm currently using which I believe is also good value. Also, palatability varies with brand and you need to find something your birds will want to eat. Younger birds will accept them more readily.

 

Looking through the ingredients of the guinea pig pellet there seems to be a fantastic array of suitable foodstuffs. In an earlier post I mentioned that the guinea pig pellets also contain molasses. Molasses is high in energy (which can be good at certain times of the year) but as molasses comes from cane sugar then this energy is derived from sugar. The diet of the budgerigar does not normally take in sugar and with good reason: sugar can provide food for any yeast residing in the crop and thus encourage the development of crop fungal infections. Not good.

 

Next, protein supplementation. At the moment I try to meet the protein needs of my birds with the variety of foods mentioned in my opening paragraph. But, as with most of us, our birds' diets are dynamic and I may well change in the future. As for using whey protein powder I'm afraid I can't agree with that either. Budgerigars are generally lactose intolerant and therefore their digestive system does not effectively assimilate protein from milk sources. Whey protein is dairy based and comprised of 70%+ lactose. Hence why I've tried to follow what Dean mentioned and get my birds (unsuccessfully) to accept egg powder protein. However, if you think you're getting good results from the Whey powder with no side effects then I guess go for it. Another thing to consider is that massive amounts of protein will be harmful to your birds anyway. Plus, the addition of extra protein won't make your bird grow to Herculean proportions. If it were that easy then gyms would be out of business and all of us males would be Arnie lookalikes simply by eating super high protein. Budgies don't lift weights so all that the extra protein can do is assure the birds reach their genetic potential, nothing more.

 

One thing borne out in this thread is that we all feed a different diet to our birds and we can learn from each other. There is no one superior diet and diets are often tailored to suit both owner and bird. However, given the bad rap that bird pellets seem to have gotten in this thread I'm going to try an experiment of my own and report the findings, good, bad or indifferent, back to this forum. I currently have a cull cage which has 7 birds aged from 2 to 6 months old and a 5 year old cock. Instead of offering them the usual mixed seed dish, separate pellets and my soft food mix I am going to replace the seed with pellets only. I plan to do this for the next 4 months. They currently eat all the pellets I offer so the conversion should be fairly easy (although I'll keep a closer eye on the 5 year old to make sure he's actually eating). Below is a picture of the dish I have offered the birds today. It is a mix of seed and pellets, but contains only enough seed for about 2 days. When it is devoured I will replace it with just pellets.

 

seedandpellets.jpg

 

Just to be clear, although this pellet is marketed as a complete food, I am with the majority on this thread in that I would NOT feed it as such. These birds will still receive all of the additional foods that the rest of my birds receive. But I believe the pellets may be superior to the basic canary/millet mix alone which is deficient in essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Anyway, time will tell.

 

Here is a link to the pellet I'm feeding. I can't speak highly enough of the products offered at this establishment (the seed is the cleanest I have ever seen), but the web site is a bit of a shocker!

 

Small Bird Pellet

 

The one I use is called Small Bird Diet. Basic specs are listed at the bottom of the page.

 

Here's a picture of the soft food mix my birds get. It generally consists of sprouted mung beans, sprouted grey sunflower, sprouted corn, sprouted racehorse oats, sprouted wheat, grated carrot and chopped broccoli. I'm still experimenting with the ratios. I sometimes like to add a few other things but this takes enough time in the morning as it is. Here are 2 pictures of the soft mix:

 

softfood.jpg

 

Closeup:

 

softfoodcrop.jpg

 

Each cage gets enough so that where possible it's all eaten by mid afternoon. I feed this all year round. Naturally enough any birds feeeding chicks eat a greater quantity of it.

 

Another change I made to my feeding regime recently (encouraged by this forum) was to replace the cuttlefish bone with a mineral powder mix for economic and dietary reasons. It is the pink powder at this link. I offer it in a separate small bowl (others would probably use finger drawer feeders for this). The birds eat it sparingly but it will last MUCH longer than the cuttlefish.

 

One important point with feeding bird pellets is to use the right one. On the site I have linked to above you can also find reference to a Breeders Pellet. I used to use this one when breeding Rosellas a few years ago. Although tempting with it's higher levels of protein, this pellet is NOT suitable for our budgies. The main reason for this is the increased calcium levels. Excessive calcium can lead to kidney problems amongst other things. Hence why I'm generally not in favour of adding liquid calcium to the bird's water (meaning they MUST take it in) when you have already taken other steps (ie the pink powder, the pellets) to ensure they can, if required, select foods containing calcium. The right amount of calcium is good but too much of a good thing is bad.

 

Finally, whilst taking the photos of the seed/pellet mix I decided to add another photo of something else I do. Some on here like to add millet sprays to the next box to encourage the chicks to begin eating. Weather permitting (ie, not too cold) I like to move the babies to the main seed bowl just before they are due to leave the nest. Here they will be fed by the parents and, as they are living in the seed dish, will usually begin cracking seeds within the first day. The trick here is to use a bowl of sufficient size that the chicks cannot escape until they are able to move fairly well around the cage. By this stage they will also be eating fairly well, although probably still being fed by the parents. It also helps to free up the nest for the hen and prevents her having to begin laying with a nest of reluctant to leave chicks who may play soccer with the new eggs. Here is a picture of 2 young chicks who I put into their bowl today. They are a bit younger than normal, but it is so hot here at the moment that my reason for booting them out was also for some respite from the heat.

 

birdsinbowl.jpg

 

This is simply a dog bowl purchased in Woolies. You can see that the deep side walls prevent them escaping until they've grown quite a bit more. The deep dish also means less husks being spread around. Only downside to this arrangement is making sure the seed remains clean so it means having smaller quantities of seed available in the bowl than I normally would so wastage is minimised.

 

Well, once again this turned into an epic. I hope you may have perhaps picked up something useful from the above rant.

 

Cheers

 

Daryl

 

 

I actually baulk at the propaganda aproach vets take to inisiting on pellets as a "better way" than seeds...therefore my reluctance to use them, especially since my birds get a huge varied diet.

Interestingly your comment re molasses

Looking through the ingredients of the guinea pig pellet there seems to be a fantastic array of suitable foodstuffs. In an earlier post I mentioned that the guinea pig pellets also contain molasses. Molasses is high in energy (which can be good at certain times of the year) but as molasses comes from cane sugar then this energy is derived from sugar. The diet of the budgerigar does not normally take in sugar and with good reason: sugar can provide food for any yeast residing in the crop and thus encourage the development of crop fungal infections. Not good.

and the link to your pellets I find that the pellets you are using ALSO have molasses in them as a key ingredient :D

http://www.birdandpet.com.au/documents/products_7.html

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and the link to your pellets I find that the pellets you are using ALSO have molasses in them as a key ingredient :laughter:

http://www.birdandpet.com.au/documents/products_7.html

 

Wow, you're right, I never saw that before and I've looked at it quite a few times. I'll have to ask the guy how much is in it and why it's there. Interesting.

 

It might also be worthwhile checking that the guinea pig pellets you're using are not the ones listed at this link as they contain the following warning:

 

This feed is scientifically formulated for the intended species of animal and should

not be fed to any other animal. It may contain medication and ingredients that may

prove harmful if fed to other species.

This isn't meant to be a go at you in any way because I know in the past I tried using turkey starter pellets :D and later found out they have all kinds of nasty things in them. I just think it might be worth looking into. Your birds certainly seem to be doing well on them and as I said they contain a lot of worthwhile ingredients.

Edited by Daryl

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Thank you very much Daryl for that very interesting expose. Food for thought indeed. :D

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This softfoodcrop.jpg Looks good enough for me to eat :D

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This softfoodcrop.jpg Looks good enough for me to eat :blink:

 

That's exactly what my wife said when I showed her the photo :D

 

But then added, "Too bad you can't make a meal for us like that" :laughter:

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and the link to your pellets I find that the pellets you are using ALSO have molasses in them as a key ingredient :blink:

http://www.birdandpet.com.au/documents/products_7.html

 

Wow, you're right, I never saw that before and I've looked at it quite a few times. I'll have to ask the guy how much is in it and why it's there. Interesting.

 

It might also be worthwhile checking that the guinea pig pellets you're using are not the ones listed at this link as they contain the following warning:

 

This feed is scientifically formulated for the intended species of animal and should

not be fed to any other animal. It may contain medication and ingredients that may

prove harmful if fed to other species.

This isn't meant to be a go at you in any way because I know in the past I tried using turkey starter pellets :D and later found out they have all kinds of nasty things in them. I just think it might be worth looking into. Your birds certainly seem to be doing well on them and as I said they contain a lot of worthwhile ingredients.

Its okay Daryl...I am not taking any of this personally....I am interested enough to treat this as a fact finding expedition....purely educational. :rofl:

 

And I am sure there would be many many formulations for these pellets....knowing EXACTLY whats in each kind would be beneficial for sure.

 

Another interesting thing of note....I am now looking at ingredients more closely as it seems we feed some things being a good bit unaware of actual ingredients.

You said about the whey protein

As for using whey protein powder I'm afraid I can't agree with that either. Budgerigars are generally lactose intolerant and therefore their digestive system does not effectively assimilate protein from milk sources. Whey protein is dairy based and comprised of 70%+ lactose.

 

I know many breeders who use whey protein. Some used to use soy protein but have given the soy one up in favour of the whey protein.

In researching the difference between the two kinds...whey and soy I found this

 

 

The debate over whether whey or soy protein is better is not a simple one, but it can be simplified into a matter of how both are produced.

 

Soy protein isolate is made in a process where soybeans are crushed under pressure into soybean meal and defatted. The other components of the soy are removed through further processing by caustic alkaline solution to remove fibre and soluble carbohydrates, then an acid wash is used to precipitate the protein out of the meal.

 

Solvents may be used during processing to assist in the removal of more unwanted components to give a purer protein isolate, which leaves traces of these sometimes dangerous chemicals left in the final product.

 

This harsh processing to isolate the protein denatures it as well as removing most of the soybean's actual flavour and characteristics.

 

Whey protein isolate is produced through cheese-making processes that have existed for centuries. Milk is separated into curds and whey, and the curds are used to produce cheese while the whey is passed through a series of ceramic filters to separate other components such as lactose and fat out to concentrate the whey protein. This filtration is continued under cold temperature to further purify the product into whey protein isolate, and is not highly denatured like soy proteins.

 

Whey protein has a full spectrum of amino acids, whereas soy protein is naturally deficient in the amino acid methionine, which is artificially extracted, processed and substituted into the final soy protein powder to try and deal with this issue.

 

These two processes for producing the product alone are enough to convince most people that whey protein is superior.

 

On top of its highly unnatural and possibly dangerous production, soy protein contains huge amounts of trypsin inhibitors which tax digestion of protein and the function of the pancreas.

 

Soy is infamous for its goitrogenic effect, meaning it affects the thyroid gland's hormone balance, leading to hypothyroidism.

 

The phytoestrogen content of soy has been shown to have an effect on the endocrine system, causing reduced fertility, and having an overall hormonal estrogen effect. This effect is less than natural estrogen, but even a small change in the body's natural balance of hormones can have detrimental consequences.

 

Weighed against each other, whey protein is considerably safer and healthier, and is far more beneficial as soy protein only adds its own problems to weigh out the benefits the huge scamming companies tout

 

In a search for more detail for my own knowledge base I find that BUDGIE STARTER which I and many other breeders use also has whey protein as an ingredient. Also whey protein is a key ingredient in Hand rearing formula, egg and biscuit mix, and all pelllets I have ever come across. :laughter:

I know breeders who have used bread soaked in milk for their birds and others who dip bread in s76 a baby milk formula as well.

I think there are many breeders who are and have been using dairy based milk products for many years without adverse affects. It takes me back to growing up as a child and we all fed bowls of milk to our pet cats and dogs. These days all we hear is how cats and dogs are lactose intolerant.........why now as opposed to all our healthy dogs and cats in years gone by ? If birds are lactose intolerant, where are all the sick birds that cannot tolerate the whey protein or dairy products we have been giving them. No evidence of gastrointestinal issues under the birds perches. The only thing I am noticing since using it is my baby birds by 6-8 months of age are way better than before and the babies in the kindie cage tuck inot this soft food with gusto.

I also use whole egg powder.

Then there is the topic of feeding meat protein to birds....many a top breeder advocates the use of meat protein for the birds.....they say its why they are breeding those power birds. Breeders have used meat meal, chicken carcasses, .........heck even a top breeder here cooks steak for his birds. He also uses whey protein powder and his birds sell for thousands Australia wide.

They must be doing something right.

In general, animal proteins are considered to be “high quality” proteins, while proteins from vegetable sources are felt to be “incomplete” or low quality (lacking one or more of the needed amino acids).

 

I was at a top national budgie breeders earlier today and noticed a vast difference in the size and power of his birds.....knowing him and the birds he had in his aviary a year ago, I know the difference to be the addition of both whole egg powder and meat protein ( essentially chicken based ).

 

Another ingredient of your pelllets is Hemp Seed Oil. A good friend of mine and mentor ( budgie related ) was feeding hemp seed oil and hemp protein powder to his budgies with marked improvements....being as its extremely high in protein. I noticed a huge difference in the size, feather quality and powerful look of his birds during this time.

 

All this seems to indicate to me that protein of many kinds is used to improve show budgerigars. The breeders here where I am seeing massive differences in their birds ARE in fact the ones using whey protein. meat protein, and whole egg powder.

The ones that are using these kinds of additional proteins are the ones with birds in the Nationals. Its no secret, at least not here in W.A.

Edited by KAZ

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Good post Karen. I agree that whey protein is a more complete protein than soy. Which is why it is favoured by body builders over soy. Then again egg protein is supposed to be the most complete, but can be expensive these days.

 

I'm also aware of other breeders besides yourself using whey as an additional protein source and it's encouraging to note that you appear to have no side affects. But if it is true that budgies are lactose intolerant then wouldn't the protein from whey just pass straight through them with little being taken up? Perhaps it's not that they get sick from whey, perhaps it's just ineffective. I don't know.

 

I've used Budgie Starter too, in fact used it for the first half of this year and my birds loved it. I noticed when I bought it that it had whey in it. Perhaps this is added as a convenient source of protein balance for this manufacturer. A very quick Google check of bird pellets found that lots don't use whey in their mixtures but a few do. I asked the retailer of the pellets I use why they had no whey and he also said it was for the reason of lactose intolerance. I'd like to think the animal nutritionists who devise the formulas for bird additives/pellets/extras have a much better idea of their requirements than most of us. But when they're in disagreement then how the *** are we supposed to decide who's right? :laughter:

 

A long time ago I used soaked bread and milk too but, aside from any concerns with assimilation, I'm more concerned with the birds getting sour milk before I can remove any uneaten portion. I think the practice of feeding any suitable soft food in addition to a basic seed diet is going to reap some benefits. As for feeding meat and the like, I also know of a top breeder who feeds chicken carcasses but lost a number of birds after the meat went off.

 

At the end of it all though I still believe the reason that the top breeders have the monster size birds they do is through years of selective breeding (although your point about the breeder you visited is not lost on me). Feeding plays a part in allowing the birds to reach their potential. If feeding played the major part in growing huge birds then I'd expect ALL of the top breeders' birds to be huge, not a select few. If it ain't in the genes then no amount of protein is going to grow a monster size bird. So much for us to learn........ :D

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Good post Karen. I agree that whey protein is a more complete protein than soy. Which is why it is favoured by body builders over soy. Then again egg protein is supposed to be the most complete, but can be expensive these days.

 

I'm also aware of other breeders besides yourself using whey as an additional protein source and it's encouraging to note that you appear to have no side affects. But if it is true that budgies are lactose intolerant then wouldn't the protein from whey just pass straight through them with little being taken up? Perhaps it's not that they get sick from whey, perhaps it's just ineffective. I don't know.

 

I've used Budgie Starter too, in fact used it for the first half of this year and my birds loved it. I noticed when I bought it that it had whey in it. Perhaps this is added as a convenient source of protein balance for this manufacturer. A very quick Google check of bird pellets found that lots don't use whey in their mixtures but a few do. I asked the retailer of the pellets I use why they had no whey and he also said it was for the reason of lactose intolerance. I'd like to think the animal nutritionists who devise the formulas for bird additives/pellets/extras have a much better idea of their requirements than most of us. But when they're in disagreement then how the *** are we supposed to decide who's right? :laughter:

 

A long time ago I used soaked bread and milk too but, aside from any concerns with assimilation, I'm more concerned with the birds getting sour milk before I can remove any uneaten portion. I think the practice of feeding any suitable soft food in addition to a basic seed diet is going to reap some benefits. As for feeding meat and the like, I also know of a top breeder who feeds chicken carcasses but lost a number of birds after the meat went off.

 

At the end of it all though I still believe the reason that the top breeders have the monster size birds they do is through years of selective breeding (although your point about the breeder you visited is not lost on me). Feeding plays a part in allowing the birds to reach their potential. If feeding played the major part in growing huge birds then I'd expect ALL of the top breeders' birds to be huge, not a select few. If it ain't in the genes then no amount of protein is going to grow a monster size bird. So much for us to learn........ :D

I feed chicken carcasses on occasion, but would offer it only at their main feeding time over an hour no more and then remove whats left.....it should never be left in there for hours or long enough to go off. The breeder you mention who lost birds was obviously not being careful enough. Cec Gearing has been known to cook a steak for his birds and feed it to them....watches them eat it and removes whats left in a period of time.

I agree top breeders are doing more than offering the protein, but in all cases I see, protein is whats taking them ahead in bigger leaps and bounds.

This all has opened up room for further investigation and we should all pay more attention to the ingredients on the sides of bird food boxes :blink:

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I am loooving how this thread is going lol. Its great throwing around nutritional info and stories. I wish I had more time to post a reply which will have to be done later.

 

One thing to note is that while meat proteins are said to be complete, when you combine grains and lentils, they do provide a complete protein together. They compensate for the lacking amino acids of the other. Also interesting to note is that I subscribe to a nutritional forum with daily emails and one of the recent topics of discussion was a study showing amino acid competition - certain amino acids dominate and reduce or prevent the absorption of others. The study suggested that it may be better to eat lentils one meal and grains another so that your body receives all essential amino acids ("proteins") during the day, but at different times and levels, allowing for better absorption of some of the less dominant acids. One way around this would be to simply eat more animal proteins - so even if some acids are absorbed less, you end up with more of them anyway. But if you are wanting to provide a certain amount of protein and maximise the uptake, it may be wise to seperate it as can be done with grains and lentils.

 

This could mean feeding lentil soft food in the morning and grain in the evening with regards to budgies.

 

Lastly, if I could feed my birds anything with supreme nutritional confidence it would be sprouted foods! Those things are nutritional powerhouses! If only sprouting was easier, or buying sprouted foods was cheaper :)

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