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Old 04-12-2016, 10:13 PM
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Weighing diet?

So sorry if this has been asked before, but I'm having trouble locating specific information on this. I'm a husbandry assistant and I prepare diets for a lot of birds at work. I'm given a diet board that I follow, so every day I weigh out a specific amount of pellets and a specific amount of fruits/veggies.

I'm planning on getting a Senegal in the future, after my bearded dragon has passed and I'm not working as many hours, but I'm starting to do lots of research now because I don't want to get a pet like this on impulse. I'm even compiling everything I learn onto a huge PowerPoint lol. Right now I'm looking into diets, and I'm wondering if any of you guys actually weigh out specific portions of food for your birds? I feel like this would be particularly important if your birds are flighted; however, all I'm seeing online is "Make fresh foods this percent, pellets this percent."

I would assume that parrots, like nearly all other animals, would be prone to over-eating (i.e. eating as much as they can when they can since their instincts tell them that they don't know when the next meal will come along). Is this true, or do you think they're better at controlling their impulses, since they need to weigh less to fly?

Honestly, I don't think I would feel comfortable eyeballing the food. So does anyone weigh their birds' diets? Obviously every individual is different, but in general, about how many grams/ounces would you give a Poicecephalus?

Thanks!
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Old 04-12-2016, 10:36 PM
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Re: Weighing diet?

Very good question. There is actually a lot of controversy in the avian community about free feeding VS portioned feeding. There are pros and cons to both methods, and some species are more suited to one method over the other.

Personally, I have an amazon, and amazons are prone to picky eating and overeating/obesity. If I didn't portion out his food and get him used to having to eat within a certain time frame and not have a dish full of food 24/7, he would eat nothing but junk and be overweight. I personally don't weigh his food, but measure it out (like 1/8 cup or 2 tbsp ect....). Don't think there's anything wrong with weighing it, I just personally find it easier to measure it And if at all possible, fresh is best! Pellets can be supplemented in if you wish, but parrots do very well on a balanced fresh foods diet.

P.S. If you need poicephalus specific advice @Ravensgryf would be the one to ask.
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Old 04-12-2016, 11:51 PM
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Re: Weighing diet?

Thanks for the info!!
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Old 04-13-2016, 06:27 AM
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Re: Weighing diet?

I have never weighed any of my fids' foods, and none of them are overweight.

I don't fill the cups to the brim, but they always have access to dry food. I feed Golden Gourmet mixed with pellets. ZERO sunflower seeds.

The cooked foods and fresh mixes are offered twice a day, and I don't leave those in their cages for more than 2 hours since I don't want them to spoil.
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Old 04-13-2016, 08:18 AM
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Re: Weighing diet?

I also don't weigh food, but find specific mealtimes work better for us than free feeding. When not feeding pellets, this makes it a lot easier to monitor what gets eaten to make sure they are getting a variety for nutrition.

I used to free feed and never had problems with overweight birds (they do fly and exercize), however giving meals helped my chronically sick bird gain his weight back and maintain it. When free feeding, he would go off his food all the time whereas meals he eats without issue.
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Old 04-15-2016, 12:45 PM
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Re: Weighing diet?

There is no question that what is feed, when, and how much can be a can-of-worms. But as the mass of owners are switch over to fresh food sources supported by a healthy dry base, commonly pellets with a very wide cross-section of grains, seeds (no sun flower), nuts (no peanuts) and dried fruits/vegs, etc... There seems to be more agreement than in the recent past. A healthy, varied, and high quality diet, which is tapered to the specific needs of a specific species is becoming (all be it to slowly) the new norm.

Weighing the offered diet is more common in 'organizations' that buy in bulk. This allows Purchasing, Inventory Control, and Accounting to control cash flow, set buy points and purchase volumes. This type of diet has been recommended by several writers, especially those who's come from that background. By inserting controls, a wide and varied population can be monitored from afar; i.e., no one has to monitor a specific animal every day to assure that 'it' is not under-fed or over-fed. Thus taking the human factor out-of-play.

It is worth suffering though the threads where diets are the main topic. What you should pick-up is what one forum group is jelling around will be somewhat different then another group. What is and should be driving those differences is the specific species and what their individual needs are.

In the not so very distant past a bag of sun flower seed or a bag of pellets was about it! Now, more and more owners have come to realize that like humans, parrots need a wide cross-section of healthy fresh foods with a supporting base that provides needed vitamins and minerals.

To more closely answer your question: An owner of a single or non-mini Zoo gathering of parrots, manuals, etc... mix as a percentage not as a specific weight volume. This is also due to the fact that most are prepping a couple of days for their small group and not a single day for a large group.

IMHO and assuming they are receiving a well-balance diet: Bored, perch-setting parrots over-eat. Active, well socialize parrots do not.

Welcome to the Parrot Forums, we look forward to your insights and feedback regarding large group vs. your home group care.

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Old 04-15-2016, 07:47 PM
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Re: Weighing diet?

Thanks for the insight! In my department we just have a small number of birds that the full-time keepers regularly weigh, train, and interact with, and those keepers actually determine dietary changes for each individual bird - not any vet or nutritionist (changes are approved by them though). Very accurate records are updated every day. It is indeed a different situation - not a better or worse one, just different.

I've been lurking on these forums for a long time without posting much, but I've decided to become more active, and I'm excited to learn from you guys! This is definitely one of the friendlier forums I've been on, which is refreshing.
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