Babies on Roudybush

Jean Pattison, 2002

Trying Pellets on African Parrot Chicks

I am in the midst of doing a trial for a pellet manufacturer.

As most know, I have always fed a mash (the beans, corn, and rice diet) and corn-on-the-cob when my pairs have chicks. My staple diet is 70% Pretty Bird with 30% mixed seed (since Jan. 1993). This is all mixed together and fed. Over the years, my greys have started waiting for the mash, refusing to feed hardly any seed or pellet although it is always available. Over the past few years, I have had a few pair consistently have chicks with folding fractures. Naturally I added calcium and other supplements to the mash they were feeding the chicks. Every year more and more pair are waiting for the mash. (Lazy or smart?) My bet is lazy.

When I brought chicks in the crops were huge and the babies were fat. Another interesting side note. Since I have cameras and monitors all over my aviaries, I could hear parents feeding in the middle of the night, and babies peeping.

So this year, I started the trial pellet, and stopped all mash and corn-on-the-cob. The parent birds are devouring the new pellet (I have fed it along with the Pretty Bird and seed mix). I am just adding a cup of the pellet in with their regular food.

First thing I noticed, no peeping at night and no feeding throughout the night. Second thing ... babies crops are not crammed full and stretched. Unfortunately, I have had to work harder to stretch those grey's crops ... LOL The third thing I am seeing is the babies are heavier, but more solid than fat. Fourth thing, I only have to feed once a day rather than mash two or three times a day. And fifth ... so far, no fractures.

So, my assumption is, the babies were not nutritionally satisfied with the mash, begged for more food, the parents fed more, and it was a vicious circle.

I need to add, my Jardine's are not eager to eat the pellets, and "seem" to need mash or some type of soft food. They have always been a little problematic in that department, for me. But, I am trying other things with them.

I am not advocating feeding one way over another, but this works for me.