A diet of pellets, seed, fruit and veg, and a little extra protein, is pretty much all your pet birds need. Unhealthy "treats" should be avoided. Having said that, good food is a treat, and many owners prepare food for their beloved birds. These are usually really easy to make, and very satisfying to serve.
And remember - if you buy treats from a pet store, always avoid the things with added sugar and colorings.
Peanut butter cones – the easiest of them all. Simply mix unsalted, sugar-free peanut butter (or grind your own peanuts to make a homemade version) with seeds and larger nut chunks, and press the mixture onto and into a pine cone.
This Rainbow Lorikeet is waiting for a treat from its owner!
Salad – simply chop four types of veg and two types of fruit from the lists given in the fresh food section of this guide. Mix on a handful of sprouted mustard or cress (or chopped dandelion leaves), and stir on a handful of seed until everything is nicely coated. The salad will perish quickly, so only make enough for one sitting.
Bread/cake – you will find all manner of bird bread and bird cake recipes online, but should be mindful of unhealthy shortcuts. Most bread mixes will contain salt, as will most ready-made loaves. Some mixes and loaves have a high sugar content too. The healthiest and easiest method is to mix half a cup of quality organic flour (wheat, rye, oat or buckwheat) with grated carrot or pumpkin/squash and chopped broccoli or kale (half a cup combined weight), and a handful of mixed seeds and chopped nuts. Bind it together with a raw egg, and pour into a small greased and floured cake or bread tin. Bake in a medium oven for 15-20 minutes. When cooled, slice and serve (or freeze the slices). It will keep fresh in a fridge for up to a week.
This yellow-headed Amazon loves his food!
Seed Bells – a shop-bought one is ok as long as it doesn’t contain the usual baddies of sugar, coloring, etc. For homemade treats you will need metal kebab sticks or skewers, or lengths of wire, to bake the mixture on. Take three-quarters of a cup of parrot seed mix and mix in one beaten egg and a tablespoon of organic wheat, rye or oat flour. Divide the mix into four and dollop it rough rectangles on four pieces of oiled and floured waxed paper. Place the stick or skewer on each rectangle of mix and roll it into a cylinder shape, using the paper. Place the coated sticks on a floured baking sheet and bake in a medium oven for 10-15 minutes.
For information on seed containers and seed pests, see our Budgerigar Guide.