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Old 10-15-2018, 10:30 PM
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Question Green Cheek: Sunflower Seed Addiction

Some of you have already heard about my new addition to the family, a Green Cheek Conure named Bongo.

My question:

How many sunflower seeds do you think I should I limit her to, daily? Is there a safe number, or weight?

Brief background pertaining to my question below:
-She's adopted
-Was fed on a seed-only diet and some fruit, very little veggies
-Had a lot to say to me about how she felt about me pulling the sunflower seeds out of her seed mix!
-Four years old

The sunflower seeds from her original mix are the small black ones. Today I bought two bags of Higgin's seed mix: [Click]
By the way - online it's only 8.99, but in the store it's 12.99!! I printed off this page and got the online price in-store


I have taken to hulling and breaking the tiny black sunflower seeds in half to stretch them out during training, and so she can get more 'rewards' without being over-fed on them.

There is safflower in her Higgin's mix.

I wish to wean her off of sunflower seeds, but I also intend to continue using them as a training treat and for special rewards, as they are VERY high motivators for her.

I am also working on weaning her to a pellet based diet, which will take time. She's nibbled on some of them, so success is being made! In the interm, I wish her to have a quality seed mix, Higgins came highly recommended and was available to me to buy. If you have better suggestions, I'd love to hear them!
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Old 10-15-2018, 10:44 PM
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Re: Green Cheek: Sunflower Seed Addiction

Look Into the Abba seeds, or TOPS!
ABBA SEED
https://topsparrotfood.com/
Both high quality!
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Old 10-15-2018, 10:48 PM
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Re: Green Cheek: Sunflower Seed Addiction

Oooh, these look promising. I also have some websites bookmarked for buying organic seeds from in the near future to try my hand at sprouting them - I'm hoping that might help encourage Bongo to transition from all-seed to accepting more veggies in her diet.

She's been nibbling green pepper and carrot, but nothing fully eaten, yet - but it's more than I was hoping to see so soon!
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Old 10-15-2018, 10:50 PM
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Re: Green Cheek: Sunflower Seed Addiction

Sign up for tops! They are now starting to offer really decent discount!
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Old 10-16-2018, 05:53 AM
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Re: Green Cheek: Sunflower Seed Addiction

My usual...

Harrison's Bird Foods
I feed Harrison's, supplemented by fresh healthy treats. My first, and later, my current avian vet recommended it. My bird loves the pellets now, but to get him converted, my avian vet suggested putting pellets out all day, and putting seeds (his old diet) out for two 15-minute periods a day. That would sustain him but leave him hungry enough to try new stuff. I presume the same technique could be used to get him to eat other healthy stuff, like fruits and vegetables! My guy was eating pellets in a couple of days, and now I can feed a good variety of other stuff, knowing he has the pellets as a basic. Pellets are out all day... fresh treats a few times a day. I also like Harrison's via mail because I never have to worry about out-of-date products.

Good for you, for being so determined!
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Old 10-16-2018, 07:55 AM
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Re: Green Cheek: Sunflower Seed Addiction

The problem is that she doesn't need to be "weaned-off" of sunflower seeds, you simply need to put her on a healthy, low-fat seed-mix that contains no sunflower seeds of any kind, no corn, no peanuts or other nuts, and no safflower seeds, as they are almost as fatty as the sunflower seeds...Higgins makes a great seed-mix called "California Blend" that is available at any Petco or online, and it contains no sunflower seeds at all, no safflower seeds, no nuts, no corn, only good stuff. Or any other seed mix that contains none of the above is fine too, such as Tropimix, Sunseed VitaPrima with no sunflower seeds, etc. There's a bunch of them...and then only give her sunflower seeds as an occasional treat. Then start weaning her from the healthy seed mix onto a pellet as her main staple diet. She'll be fine, and she'll eat the seed-mix without the sunflower seeds, corn, nuts, safflower seeds, etc. just fine...

Again, they can only eat what you give them!
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Old 10-16-2018, 09:59 PM
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Re: Green Cheek: Sunflower Seed Addiction

Quote: Originally Posted by GaleriaGila View Post
My usual...

Harrison's Bird Foods
I feed Harrison's, supplemented by fresh healthy treats. My first, and later, my current avian vet recommended it. My bird loves the pellets now, but to get him converted, my avian vet suggested putting pellets out all day, and putting seeds (his old diet) out for two 15-minute periods a day. That would sustain him but leave him hungry enough to try new stuff. I presume the same technique could be used to get him to eat other healthy stuff, like fruits and vegetables! My guy was eating pellets in a couple of days, and now I can feed a good variety of other stuff, knowing he has the pellets as a basic. Pellets are out all day... fresh treats a few times a day. I also like Harrison's via mail because I never have to worry about out-of-date products.

Good for you, for being so determined!
Ooooh, good idea for having the feeding times for seeds - I may need to try that with Bongo. She's shown herself willing to investigate new foods - veggies too, yay! - but almost only if I'm playing with her, with them... left to her own devices, she'll ignore them and go for the seed mix.


Quote: Originally Posted by EllenD View Post
The problem is that she doesn't need to be "weaned-off" of sunflower seeds, you simply need to put her on a healthy, low-fat seed-mix that contains no sunflower seeds of any kind, no corn, no peanuts or other nuts, and no safflower seeds, as they are almost as fatty as the sunflower seeds...Higgins makes a great seed-mix called "California Blend" that is available at any Petco or online, and it contains no sunflower seeds at all, no safflower seeds, no nuts, no corn, only good stuff. Or any other seed mix that contains none of the above is fine too, such as Tropimix, Sunseed VitaPrima with no sunflower seeds, etc. There's a bunch of them...and then only give her sunflower seeds as an occasional treat. Then start weaning her from the healthy seed mix onto a pellet as her main staple diet. She'll be fine, and she'll eat the seed-mix without the sunflower seeds, corn, nuts, safflower seeds, etc. just fine...

Again, they can only eat what you give them!
This is really helpful info! I had gone with the Higgen's Safflower Gold because my Petco did not have the California blend in-store. I'm doing some research into finding organic seed mixes, especially for trying my hand at sprouting them to offer to her. For the here-and-now, though, I need something I can pick up at the local store.

I might go pick the safflower seeds out for her meals tomorrow hmm.

I am against changing over her seed mix cold-turkey, mostly because I don't want to risk giving her any kind of system shock by removing the things she's been almost exclusively eating. I know parrots aren't dogs or horses, but many animals I have worked with and been around (and humans, too!) more often than not had negative outcomes from a cold-turkey change-over in diet. That is my line of thinking for 'weaning' her off sunflower seeds. She got a lot of them the first few days, and I've gradually decreased the amount. Her previous owners, from as far as I could tell, gave her sunflower seeds frequently, and daily, on top of what was already in her seed dish.

(also helped save me from a very grouchy bird who knew -exactly- who had taken away her favorite seed! You should have seen her trying to find them in her seed mix, then looking at me like: "What gives?")

She actually refused to eat the Higgin's seed mix, at all, the first day it was offered until I added a sprinkle of her old mix to the batch! She's almost as picky an eater as my old betta fish was XD

Last edited by Squeeing_Onion; 10-16-2018 at 10:01 PM. Reason: Clarified information
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Old 10-22-2018, 10:33 AM
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Talking Re: Green Cheek: Sunflower Seed Addiction

I have success!
I ordered a sample of the TOPS small hookbill pellets - Bongo has taken to them with apparent delight.

There is far more waste than I was expecting as she's trying to eat them like she does her seeds, which means she tends to drop 4/5ths of the pellet after taking the first nibble, but as long as she's eating them - yay!
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Old 10-22-2018, 10:53 AM
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Re: Green Cheek: Sunflower Seed Addiction

Tops is a great pellet, along with Harrison's, Tropican, Zupreem Natural, and LaFaber Pelletberries...as well as others...

As far as finding a healthy, low-fat seed-mix, there are many others available at any Petco (which is where I used to buy the Higgin's California Blend as well), such as Tropimix, Higgin's VitaPrima Sunflower-Free, SunSeed VitaSeed Sunflower-Free, Zupreem Sensible Seed, etc. They are all readily available at any large pet shop, as well as some smaller ones...

I wouldn't focus so much on the seed-mix being "Organic", as there are plenty of Organic seed-mixes that are full of nothing but crap, lol. It's much more important that you lower the amount of unhealthy fat, sugars, and starch that your bird is ingesting ASAP...And there is no such thing as a bird going "Cold Turkey" off of fatty seeds, corn, nuts, etc. That's just not true at all, not physiologically OR psychologically. Fat and sugar do not cause "withdrawal" when they are stopped, lol. If you simply switch-over your bird from the junky, fatty seed-mix and put him on one of the healthy, low fat, low sugar ones that contain no nuts at all, no sunflower seeds, no safflower seeds, no sesame seeds, and no corn, and then simply give him a few Sunflower Seeds or healthy nuts each day as "treats", then he'll be just fine, and his overall-health will be all the better for it...His liver with thank you, lol...

***Something else to keep in-mind that we often forget, even for ourselves and our own diets, is that there are "healthy fats", and knowing the difference is a bid deal..For example, giving your birds treats such as Almonds instead of Peanuts is a huge deal. Almonds provide your bird with all kinds of vitamins, minerals, and yes, healthy fats, whereas Peanuts provide them nothing good except for protein, which is also provided by the healthy nuts such as Almonds, Macadamia Nuts, Brazil Nuts, Filberts, Walnuts, etc. Peanuts are just junkfood for birds...And corn is just pointless. I don't know why companies add cracked-corn or whole corn-kernels to their seed-mixes for parrots, but it's nothing but starch, fat, and sugars that turn into fat in their bodies...However, if instead of corn they include dried legumes, such as split peas or some type of dried beans, then they are not only lowering the fat and the sugar, but also adding necessary vitamins, minerals, and protein...
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