A blue and gold macaw sits on a branch above its food dish.

Feeding and Watering Pet Birds

As with most living creatures, a nutritious, balanced diet is the foundation of a healthy life for pet birds. While it may be tempting to think that providing your bird with a dish of water and some seed is adequate, birds’ dietary needs are generally more complex, and may vary based on their type and other factors.

Want to see how avian experts feed their feathered friends? Join Barry Wisebram and Dr. Kemba Marshall, DVM, DABVP (Avian) in the video below, and keep reading for some important tips!

Providing Water for Your Bird

As demonstrated in the video, Barry uses a hanging water bottle as an alternative to a dish for keeping his birds hydrated. He explains that the reason for this is that with dishes, many birds will tend to slosh their food around in the water, causing the food to disintegrate or spoil quickly. This can lead to food waste, potential health risks for your bird, and an additional hassle when it comes to keeping the cage environment clean.

To enable your bird to easily drink from the water bottle, it’s important to choose a nozzle of the right size and sturdiness. In the video clip, Barry showcases a durable nozzle intended for pigs, which is well-suited for the destructive tendencies of his blue-eyed cockatoo. He explains that nozzles for rabbits also work well for many types of birds.

Feeding Your Bird a Balanced Diet

As Dr. Marshall and Barry discuss in our recent post on bird treats, seeds generally have a high fat content. While this can add an enticing flavor to your bird’s food, it’s crucial to avoid over-relying on seed as a source of nutrition in order to prevent obesity, heart disease, and other health problems. However, the right amount of seed will depend on what type of bird you have; for instance, as Barry mentions in the video, his cockatoo requires less fat—and therefore, less seed—than his macaw.

In addition to providing his birds with the appropriate amounts of seed, Barry offers them a pellet mixture, as well as chunks of green apple and sweet potato. Fresh fruits and veggies are a great way to round out your bird’s nutritional intake, while treating them with a tasty snack. Aside from apple and sweet potato, other healthy choices include carrots, bell peppers, bananas, grapes and more; in fact, most fruits and veggies, except avocados, should be safe and enjoyable for your bird!

If you’re looking for more insight on how to properly feed and care for your particular bird, we recommend consulting an avian veterinarian. Check out our locator tool to find a qualified vet in your area!