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Old 06-20-2010, 10:43 PM
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Getting a cockatiel to eat new food?

My sister got a cockatiel 2 months ago, and he is on a diet of Zupreem pellets (not the yellow ones, he picks around the yellow ones, lol) and seed. That's it. That's all he'll eat. I'm not used to this because my green cheek will eat anything! And it's not just a case of him thinking it tastes bad, or at least I don't think, because he won't even try it! He's afraid of new foods. I've tried bananas, leafy greens, and a few other things, and not only won't he touch it, after we go back to his cage after leaving him with the new food for about 30min-1hr he is in the back of his cage, on a perch, shaking! And he won't come to the front until it's removed. If you move it towards him, he'll freak out. I don't know what to do? I've heard of plenty of parrots turning their beak to new foods, but never a phobia towards them?
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Old 06-20-2010, 11:09 PM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel to eat new food?

My tiel does similar things. This is her vast list of food - Broccoli, corn, peas and green beans. If I'm lucky she will eat a little bit of carrot too. She was bought up on seed so changing here to pellets and F&V has been very difficult.

How big is the food that you are offering? Buddy is scared of anything bigger than her beak, so it all needs to be cut up real small.

In past visits to the vet, their eyes almost pop out when they hear that i have gotten her to eat some fresh food. Apparently its pretty common for tiels not to eat F&V - usually because they are bought up on dry food diets. Try corn (just kernels to start - then off the cob) as this seams to be a favourite. Keep trying, they are VERY picky eaters. At least your sisters bird is getting good nutrients from the pellets (maybe try sprinkling pellets over the fresh food).

Also, look in the recipes section on this forum, there are some very ingenious ways that people have discovered to get fussy birds to eat new foods.

Oh, forgot to add that they are generally more likely to eat veggies than fruit (no idea why), so start with veg and work your way up to fruit. If you are serving things like carrot, peas and beans - try softening them first by cooking them or I just boil the kettle and let them soak in a mug of boiling water for about 3-5 minutes to soften them (especially if they have been frozen) - let them cool a bit, then serve.
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Last edited by Aussie Ben; 06-20-2010 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 06-21-2010, 12:04 AM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel to eat new food?

Thanks for the advice! The sizes were a bit large with the exception of the apple (I cut that fairly tiny), so I could try that. I'll take a look into the recipe section too! That's interesting about them liking vegetables over fruits. I'll have to think of some more ideas! It's so hard trying to figure out their little minds, lol. Can you imagine being scared of a big, scary, banana?
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:44 AM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel to eat new food?

My tiels only eat fruit regularly during breeding season but they do eat veggies and greens all year round (they actually love fresh leafy greens). The trick is to give them small veggies or chop them very small and mix them with cooked whole grains (which they love!). Try corn, diced cooked carrots and/or beets, baby peas and chopped french green beans mixed with cooked brown rice, barley, wheat, and whatever other grain you can find in your supermarket (mine has quinoa and millet, also). You can also add a bit of tomato paste and/or mashed sweet potato to the cooked grains (they will coat them and the bird will be eating veggies without knowing it). But, most of all, it's patience and persistence that do the trick because, sometimes, it actually takes years to get a bird on a good diet after been a seed-junkie.
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Old 06-21-2010, 11:46 AM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel to eat new food?

here's a recipe that might get you tiel to like F&V. mine originally did NOT like F&V until i found this on here. It's called Jalapeno Cornbread. What you need is a box of jiffy mix, 2 jalapenos, and different veggies. follow the normal directions on the box of the cornbread. WARNING, when it says to use a cup of milk, don't use milk since birds are lactose intolerant. use water intead then also add an extra two eggs to make the batter more thick, then chop up the jalapenos and the other veggies, throw them in there, cook it, and feed it to your tiel. see if he likes it!
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:33 PM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel to eat new food?

Quote: Originally Posted by apatrimo94 View Post
here's a recipe that might get you tiel to like F&V. mine originally did NOT like F&V until i found this on here. It's called Jalapeno Cornbread. What you need is a box of jiffy mix, 2 jalapenos, and different veggies. follow the normal directions on the box of the cornbread. WARNING, when it says to use a cup of milk, don't use milk since birds are lactose intolerant. use water intead then also add an extra two eggs to make the batter more thick, then chop up the jalapenos and the other veggies, throw them in there, cook it, and feed it to your tiel. see if he likes it!

Great idea for tricking parrots into eating veggies, Apatrimo. But you might want to consider making your own muffins instead of using Jiffy because, for one thing, Jiffy's mix has lard in it and, for another, nobody really knows how old the mix is (I knew somebody who fed Jiffy to his canaries when they were breeding and the babies got sores on the sides of their beaks from it). Besides, the recipe is so easy that it doesn't really take any extra time to do them from scratch:

Mix together:
1 cup of corn meal
1 cup of whole wheat flour (you can get creative and do 1/2 cup of whole wheat and 1/2 of oat flour or any other combination you can think of)
2 teaspoons of aluminum-free baking powder (they sell it in the supermarket now)
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup oil
1 grated organic raw medium size carrot
1/2 grated organic raw medium size zucchini
1 grated small sweet potato
enough organic apple sauce to make the batter the right consistency
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:12 PM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel to eat new food?

wow, thanks for telling me Birdamor. I now need to be a little careful. And for your recipe, try adding jalapenos because birds only have about 200 tastes buds whereas we have 10,000+. So birds don't taste much like we do. The spicyness of jalapeno gives that punching taste a bird might want and the result, your bird will love the cornbread
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:05 PM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel to eat new food?

Quote: Originally Posted by apatrimo94 View Post
So birds don't taste much like we do.
I'm sure one of us tastes like chicken!

On the trying new foods issue: have you tried putting bits of the novel food in with the zupreem seed mix?
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:47 PM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel to eat new food?

Thanks everyone! I'll have to give all of these a try. I actually have tried mixing it in with his Zupreem, but he won't go near his dish. I'll update once I find something he likes!
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:11 PM
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Re: Getting a cockatiel to eat new food?

Quote: Originally Posted by apatrimo94 View Post
wow, thanks for telling me Birdamor. I now need to be a little careful. And for your recipe, try adding jalapenos because birds only have about 200 tastes buds whereas we have 10,000+. So birds don't taste much like we do. The spicyness of jalapeno gives that punching taste a bird might want and the result, your bird will love the cornbread
You are 100% right about the taste buds and parrots loving spicy food. I use fresh chopped jalapenos, habaneros and chiles as well as chili powder (and this is, by far, their very favorite!), crushed peppers, hot paprika and white and black pepper all the time in their soft food. But not in the muffins or bread because the dogs get to eat the muffins and I the bread and none of us like spicy food -LOL
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