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Dear Parrots magazine,

The correct diet?

There have been several letters in recent issues of this magazine regarding nutrition and what to feed our birds. But like previous writers, I'm afraid that I am not a fan of pellets as I think they are boring for the birds. I have tried different makes but cannot get my parrots to eat them very well. I thought, to start with, that they would be a good thing but after trying different kinds, I can’t get along with them.

Surely our captive birds must be able to have a choice as they would in the wild. And while I know that they are brought up on whatever we feed them with, natural instincts must surely play a part. Just to sit there and have a dish full of uninteresting looking food stuck in front of them, can't do anything for their interest. It must be like us being fed a capsule each day of the nutrients we need, but not much fun?

And whilst I understand the need for correct nutrition and diet, how can it be right to have the same diet containing the same ingredients, day in, day out. In the wild, all animals will be subjected to varying diets as seasonal foods change and they have to adapt. And then requirements for nutritional intake must surely change, for example, when hens are laying. Their nutritional requirement would be different from that, say, during the winter period.

I don't prevent my birds from pelleted diets but do also give them a wide range of other natural foods like sweetcorn, greens, broccoli, lots of fruit, pineapple, cherries and pomegranate - my Senegal just goes mad when I cut a pomegranate in half and hang it on a fruit hanger. Another thing they all love is peas in the pod, of which they all go mad on. They shuck the pods and then 'skin' them - they are a great favourite.

Next year, I intend to grow a variety of things for my birds so they get natural organic fresh foods and will plant runner beans, broad beans and peas - I might even be able to squirrel some away for myself. But my birds will always come first!

Shelley Richards, Kent




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