there is no "official" diet, for birds or people. You can ask many successful aviculturists for their birds' diet, and
you will get many different "recipes." I am basing this on my own experience with my
cockatiels. A beginner breeder may
have to experiment until he finds a menu that seems to work most consistently for his birds. I find that Cockatiels are not
ones to accept new foods too quickly. Don't offer something one day and expect them to eat it immediately. It can take as
long as a month for a bird or birds to accept the new food readily.
To recognize a good basic diet for the cockatiel, one must be familiar with the plains of Australia where the Cockatiel
originated. In these Australian plains that are high winds, months of dry, desert like weather, and crops of small sun-dried
seeds. With these types of conditions in mind, this would explain why Cockatiels are not naturally familiar with many
different types of food.
Water: Fresh water should be provided at least twice a day and whenever the water appears dirty. Various watering
devices have been designed such as pop and plastic bottles and open cups and dishes.
Seed: Try to purchase high quality seed as this makes up 90% of a Cockatiels diet. Most seed is made up of Parakeet
mix, canary seed, millet, oats, & sunflower seed. Other seed varieties include: niger (thistle), Hemp, Safflower, & Millet Sprays.
Supplements: Petamine is the most widely recognized mix. The purpose of supplements is to ensure a balanced diet.
Caged birds cannot thrive or reproduce on just seed alone. Another supplement that is used is "milk sop."
This consists of basically whole-wheat bread (or any other highly nutritious bread) dampened with milk (or water as it
will not spoil as fast as milk). I also boil some eggs for at least 20 minutes and chop them up fine. Then I crush the
eggshells and mix it in with the milksop. My birds love it especially at breeding time.
Greens and Fruit: Greens are necessary and a natural source of vitamins and nutrients. Consider collards, kale,
Swiss chard, spinach, romaine lettuce, watercress, etc., as well as the tops of radishes, carrots, and turnips.
Be sure to wash all greens well before serving to your birds. Common fruits and veggies are apples, corn, and
carrots. NO avocado! This is very poisonous and toxic as is chocolate.
Minerals: While minerals are available from seeds, grains, vitamins, and water, it's simple to ensure a more
adequate supply by offering a cuttlebone, mineral block. Grit-gravel mixes can be supplied also.
Vitamins: We all know that vitamins and minerals are important to proper nutrition in all animals.
With birds these essential nutrients take on added importance, as our birds are limited to what we offer
them in their daily diet. Pet stores offer liquid and powder vitamins. I tend to stay away from the liquid
because it tends to make the water taste funny to the birds and bacteria grow rapidly in warm water.
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