You may have heard of pet owners saying that seeds are a no-no to pet parrots. Seeds don’t have much nutrition in them to support a pet parrot’s diet. But seeds may still play a crucial role in a parrots diet, especially to sick and recovering parrots. It’s just a matter of finding the right parrot seeds to feed your pet.
What are the right seeds for parrots?
Despite having low nutritional value, we still have to consider adding seeds in a parrot’s diet. We can’t deny that most parrots are seed-eaters by nature. Cockatiels, parakeets, cockatoos, and macaws are all seed-eaters in the wild. However, these birds can eat a variety of seeds in a day due to their ability to move from one feeding area to another. According to experts, there are more than 60 kinds of seeds that wild parrots eat, and therefore they can get a variety of nutrients out of eating seeds.
But commercially-prepared seeds are different. These usually lack the important balance of nutrients that parrots need, such as vitamins A, E, K and D3. This kind of food also lacks amino acids and calcium which are necessary for good health and proper growth.
When you serve only seeds or commercially-prepared seeds, your parrot will suffer from conditions related to vitamin A deficiency, including a poor immune system, poor-quality feathers and skin, and respiratory conditions.
Oilseeds vs. non-oil seeds
Seeds are not at all poor-quality; you just have to find the best ones. There are two kinds of seeds that are included in the diets of most captive birds: oilseeds and non-oily seeds.
Oily seeds are preferred to non-oily varieties because these are good sources of energy and vitamin E. Oily seeds contain more healthy fats at around 50% however are very low in calcium. Non-oily seeds have very low fat, and usually, the energy present in this type of seed is in the form of starch.
Usually, birds eat the two types together and may also eat more oily seeds, and this can cause weight gain. Some smaller parrot breeds may also become picky eaters and eat non-oil seeds only in a cup of mixed seeds. When this happens, these birds will lose their body condition and will keep feeding on non-oily seeds in an attempt to get nutrients from them. However, no matter what they do, they won’t get anything from these seeds because these lack nutrient levels of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.
But you cannot completely remove oily and non-oily seeds from a parrot’s diet because these can be handy for hospitalized or sick parrots. Aside from intact sunflower seeds, buy hulled ones to feed parrots that are weak to crack open hard sunflower seeds. Here are the most common seeds to feed your pet.
Black oily sunflower seeds
Black oil sunflower seeds are known as the darker variety of sunflower seeds. This is the most common and the most widely used kind of birdseed too. When black seeds are compared to striped seeds, black seeds have a higher oil content and thus called a “meaty” oil source. With this type of seed, your parrots will get more nutrition as well as calories per bite. Also, black oil sunflower seeds have a thinner shell, and this makes it easier to crack open. But you may still buy hulled black oil seeds if you don’t want your pet to make so much effort.
Black oily sunflower seeds have 28% fat, 25% fiber, 15% protein, calcium, iron, vitamins A and B, vitamin E and potassium. To feed your parrot black oiled sunflower seeds, place these on a platform, tray feeder, or a hopper-style feeder. You can also sprinkle it on the ground if you have ground-feeding birds. And to have a regular supply of black oiled sunflower seeds, you can grow your own seeds instead of buying them.
Striped sunflower seeds
Striped sunflower seeds are the second most popular birdseed, and this is because of its good fat content. However, the hulls of these seeds are thicker and harder and thus may be more difficult for smaller birds and birds with softer bills to crack. But you can still use hulled sunflower seeds instead.
You can place hulled striped sunflower seeds on feeding trays, in food cups, or on the ground in case your birds are in an aviary or outdoor area. Parrots are not the only birds that love striped sunflower seeds. This may also be fed to jays, cardinals, and grackles. And when black sunflower seeds are offered together with striped seeds, the black oiled ones get eaten first because these have softer hulls and thus easier to open.
Medium and large birds enjoy eating safflowers, and you can easily find these anywhere because it’s grown all over the world including India, Africa, and Asia. This birdseed is quite expensive and thus, only a small amount of it is mixed with other seeds.
Safflower seeds look like white sunflower seeds but are bitter in taste. And because of its taste, it is left alone by other wildlife like squirrels who like to steal seeds from bird feeders. You can feed your parrots safflower seeds together with sunflower seeds and millet, but be sure to place it in a large tray or dishes and not in hopper feeders because it’s too big to fit in.
Hulled sunflower seeds
This is a more economical birdseed type because you are purchasing seeds without the hulls and thus, there is less waste. As mentioned, sunflower seeds have high oil content and thus will work great for parrots. It is also good birdseed for other bird varieties like sparrows, chickadees, finches, titmice, and cardinals. Simply place hulled sunflower seeds on feeding trays, platforms, and food cups. There will be less of a mess to pick up after since these seeds are already hulled
Thistle seeds are also called nyger and are small, elongated, dark seeds that barely have weight. It is a nutritious seed because it is rich in fat, protein, and oil. Parrots will feed on these heartily, and any spilled seeds from its cage are usually picked up by other wild birds. It is one of the most expensive seeds, more expensive than bigger seeds. This is why pet owners add this type of seed with other seeds to improve their economic value.
You can place thistle seeds inside small feeding cups, feeders with smaller openings, and wire feeders because this will keep the wind from blowing them away.
This is one of the most popular types of seed and is grass seed. It comes in white and red varieties and is perfect for backyard birds. This birdseed is rich in starch, fiber, protein, and fat and good for smaller birds. For medium to large parrots, millet is added to food with larger seeds. You can place millet on your pet’s feeding dish together with other food items, including large sunflower seeds.
Considered as a filler seed with very little nutritional value, milo may come with some form of fiber, calcium, and iron. Game birds love milo, but larger birds like ducks, grackles, geese, and parrots also love to eat it. In feeding parrots, adding milo with other food is the best option.
You will find red milo and white milo seeds. It is large and bulky and thus is the least expensive of all seeds. This is a part of cheap commercial seed mixes and should be offered in little amounts because of its poor nutritional values.
It is not a seed but is part of most seed mixes. It is economical and is easily available in most pet stores and agricultural feed stores. It is ideal for large or small ground-feeding birds but may also be added to parrot food mixes to add weight and to increase the bulk of the mix. You can add this to the dish feeder or in food cups together with other nutritious seeds.
The right parrot seeds are available online and offline. You will find seed mixes or a specific seed in one pack or bag. Here are currently the most popular parrot seeds to feed your colorful pet.
We placed Kaytee seed & mealworm as the first birdseed recommended to pet bids. This is a combination of a bird and mealworm, except that this is packed and formed in a square feeding product. This is a nutritious and delicious feed need by all kinds of birds like chickadees, woodpeckers, and bluebirds.
The Kaytee compressed bird seed is also easy to feed to your pets as you just hang it inside their cage or aviary. You may also place it on a large feeding tray and let your pets have a party! You can order 1.4 pounds or 6-ounce feed cake varieties. This product can prevent picky birds from picking only the food they want because all the seeds are packed together, so they can’t choose only their favorite seeds.
Safflower is one of the most common and more expensive seeds, and thus it is often combined with other birdseed. Safflower is more preferred than other seeds because these are enriched with Omega fatty acids, DHA and probiotics which can promote the health of your pets and good digestion.
The Higgins birdseed for parrots is all-natural with no artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors. In fact, safflower is gourmet birdseed that is very tasty and hence is the most favorite by pet parrots than any other large seeds.
Higgins Vita Seed is a natural food for pet parrots. It comes in a large three-pound bag that has no artificial colors or flavors which can be toxic for your pets. This product is naturally preserved so every bag is fresh, just like the day these were packed.
Vita Seed comes with all the vitamins and minerals your pet needs to grow healthy, strong, and well-rounded. This birdseed is rich in DHA, Omega 3 and probiotics and this can help with proper digestion and good digestive tract health.
Vita Seed is also fun and delicious for pet parrots, and many consumers say that their pets love it compared to just offering one type of seed.
As mentioned a while ago, striped sunflower seeds may have very hard hulls, but these are rich in oil which is an energy source. Because of this, many backyard birds love this pet food. It also appeals to large birds like woodpeckers, parrots, grosbeaks and many more.
Each seed is triple-cleaned to reduce debris and wastage. This product also comes with efficient barrier packaging to make sure that it will arrive fresh and ready to eat. You must place these seeds in a large hopper or on top of platform feeders so your pet can eat this readily. You may combine sunflower seeds with other seeds to create a well-rounded and balanced diet.
The Kaytee Forti-Diet pro health is a blend of top grains and seeds that your parrot will love. This is parrot birdseed that’ fortified with omega 3s, which is necessary to support brain health and heart health. These vitamins will also help improve skin and feather health turning dull and lifeless feathers into vibrant, colorful and healthy plumage.
This bird seed comes in a well-packaged container to preserve the seeds’ freshness. It is a wholesome bird food that is known to promote foraging, a behavior that’s almost lost in caged birds. You can use these seeds as treats, too as you teach your pet new tricks.
And this product may also be used to blend with other seeds as well. It comes in economical 8-pound bags as well as 25-pound large containers as well.
One of the most common bird seeds in most commercial bird seed mixes is hemp seeds. Morning Bird gives you a bag full of this oily seed that contains very high amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and more. Upon careful study, this product contains 20 well-known and very important amino acids needed for good health and lovely plumage.
It contains a large amount of crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, vitamins such as vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, C, D and E. It also has high levels of minerals including calcium, magnesium, copper, chromium, iodine, iron, phosphorous, sodium and potassium.
The Morning Bird comes in an easy to use a thick resealable plastic bag and is available in 2 ounces, 3 ounces, 2 pounds, 10 pounds, and 20 pounds. You can use this with other seeds that are larger or smaller, or you can feed this to your pet on its own.
If you want variety, then you’ll get super seed variety and more with the ABBA Parrot Bird Seed Mix. This mix was analyzed, and results revealed that it has crude fat, crude fiber, ash, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, whole corn, whole oats, buckwheat, whole peanuts, cashews, brazil nuts, milo, wheat, sun-dried pears, apricots, and peaches It also has dehydrated foods like pineapple, papaya, peppers, pumpkin seeds and more.
This seed mix also comes with ground peas, mollusks, eggshells, almonds, whole eggs, bone meal, and shredded coconut. You also get pre-cooked poultry meat, fresh meat, and fresh fish. It is also a blend of dandelion, carrots, grapes, apples, pears, honey, milk, and corn syrup. When it comes to supplements, this is fully –loaded with vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin E, niacin, folic acid, biotin, zinc, ferrous sulfate, copper, cobalt, potassium, magnesium, calcium and more.
The Sleek and Sassy Garden parrot food is for large conures, Amazons, Cockatoos, African Grey parrots, Pionus parrots, and also for small macaws. This product is conveniently packed in 2, 4 and huge 20 pounds for pet owners with several birds.
The Sleek and Sassy Garden brand has been in business for many years providing natural food for birds. It has all-natural ingredients plus natural human-grade vegetables and fruits. It also contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to boost your pet’s health. Most of all, it is a variety of seeds, so even if you have a picky pet, it won’t hesitate to try and taste this bird food.
The Lyric Delite High Protein bird food is made from pre-hulled seeds so there’s no waste. Every ounce of this birdseed is worth buying for your beloved pets. Lyric Delight is known for its delicious smell and taste as it can attract a wide variety of birds, including buntings, woodpeckers, finches, and chickadees.
Also, when seeds are hulled, these won’t have a chance to germinate and thus, you can keep this package longer. You can use this to attract birds on your patio, decks, gardens, and more. For parrots, you can combine this with other larger and more nutritious seeds as well.
This bird food does not contain sunflowers. It is a seed mix that is triple-cleaned and nitrogen-flushed to keep it fresh longer. This contains all-natural ingredients; therefore, it is full of vitamins and minerals that your pet parrots need. It is also known for its great taste and thus, your pet will surely love to eat this again and again.
This bird seed food is all food, no filler, so there are less waste and more value for your money. Regular use will promote brighter-looking feathers and great skin. It is available in large 4-pound bags so your pet can have a steady supply of quality bird feed for many weeks to come.
Now, this is a specialized food for parrots and is formulated with all the necessary vitamins and minerals for good health. It is premium pet food that does not have any sunflower seeds and thus won’t make your pet obese or overweight from eating oil seeds.
This parrot pet food is available in 25 pounds, and thus you’ll get more value especially when you’re buying food for more than one pet. Higgins Safflower is also tastier as per the experience of some pet owners. This safflower seeds may be added to other bird seeds or may be served on its own.
The Volkman Seed Featherglow is a birdseed food composed of many types of seeds, the seeds that are known to be favorites of most parrots and cockatoos. Aside from seeds, it also contains fruit and vegetable mixes such as peanuts, wheat, fish, milk, egg, soybean, tree nuts, shellfish and many more.
However, Volkman says that this their bird seeds is not a complete diet and thus must be supplemented with vegetables and fresh fruits. You may add this parrot treat with other healthy seeds such as sunflower seeds and safflower seeds.
This is a high-variety formula that is made from a good mixture of seeds, tropical fruits, vegetables, and grains. It also has vital nutrients for good health and a good diet. This also contains omega 3 that will keep your bird’s feathers colorful, bright, and dazzling. It also contains DHA to maintain a healthy heart, lung and brain function. This pet food also has calcium that can support bone and beak development. If you are searching for food for more bird pets, Vitakraft is available in 4-pound bags. Very economical for pet owners.
A good variety of seeds is better than using only one type of seed in your pet’s diet. You must only use seeds as a supplement to your pet’s diet and include a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, sprouts, and bread.