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Parakeet Millet

For most people, millet is the go-to feed for their birds. The commonest varieties are white millet and the slightly more expensive red millet. The difference between the two is that red millet has tougher husks. Despite this they are actually both the same species. Panicum miliaceum. This species is sometimes called Proso millet. Foxtail millet (Setaria italica) and Japanese millet (Echinochloa frumentacea) are also available as parakeet food.

Parakeets love the stuff. However, because of its high fat content, millet should be treated with caution.

Parakeet Millet Spray

A good seed mixture will have an adequate amount of millet, but the food is also commonly offered on-the-twig, which are called sprays. This stuff is great for finger-training your bird (see section “Finger Training Your Parakeet” below), and for occasional snacks. However if you fill your birds cage with this stuff too often, they’ll fill themselves up on this and ignore the rest of their nutritious foodstuffs elsewhere in the cage.

young blue parakeet eating millet
Millet is a parakeet favorite

AAs with all other seed supplies, it is important to make sure that your millet sprays are free from pesticides and other chemicals. Most of the time, if a product is much cheaper than others, it is a sign that it has been imported from a mass producer, and mass produce is associated with the use of these spray-on chemicals.

Parakeet Millet Addiction

Some owners find that their parakeets have become addicted to millet. This is a sign that they have been making the stuff too readily available, and the birds have been turned into “millet junkies!” If you happen to find yourself in this position, you must wean your birds off the stuff slowly. Reduce the amount of millet sprays you put in their cage for the first few days. Later in the week you can get remove it altogether.

Parakeet Millet Treat

Once you accept that millet is a special treat, you can add it to the list of goodies that you give to your birds from time to time. Fasten the woody end of the spray to the cage bars, or perhaps hang it from the roof. This will make your birds have to work a bit harder to get at the good stuff, and you can rest easily knowing that they’re burning off some of that fat and not adding to their waistlines.


parakeet upside down on millet
Millet gymnastics

Parakeet Millet Training

Using millet as a lure is a great way of speeding up hand or finger-training for your birds, for getting them out, and back in the cage. It also helps,on the birds early free flight adventure, to have a spray of millet in the cage. At some point during their adventures, your parakeet will get hungry - and, well, who can resist some tasty millet?

Millet is also invaluable when training your parakeet to fly to you or perform other tricks. (See Parakeet Training, below).

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Daniel, 31 March 2021

We made the mistake of trying to reduce the millet in our budgie’s diet too quickly. He was eating about half a spring a day when our vet told us to reduce it to a spring over the course of a couple weeks. So the next day I gave him a third of a sprig, and the day after a fourth of a spring, and so on, all the while presenting him with his usual array of fruits and veggies and pellets. By the third day he had almost completely stopped eating and on the fourth he was clearly very weak. He had lost almost 20% of his body weight in a matter of days. We finally called our vet and they then told us that budgies WILL starve themselves to death if you make a diet change too quickly; it should be done over the course of a month or two rather than a week. We’ve gone back to feeding our budgie half a sprig or so until he returns to his earlier weight and will try again with a more gradual approach to shifting his diet.


Caroline, 23 November 2019

Hi My 2yr old budgie has sloppy poops and has watery ones. He has been on baytril from the vets and has improved a little. He is eating, drinking and active, though his flying is a little less accurate and sometimes his wings seem to quiver when sat. Going to the vet caused him great anxiety. Have you ever come across this before. He has free reign of a double bedroom most of the day and evening with his 12.5yr old house bunny roomy who has had fleas. The vet saw no mites on him. Would you have any advice please? Thankyou for your time and best wishes Caroline


Saru, 23 September 2019

Is it okay to give my budgies different kinds of millets,there are 8-9 kinds,5 of them have 8-12% fibre content.also should I give vitamins/mineral supplement ?