Beware - Harrison's High Potency Pellets

Birds lover from Hawaii

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Some of you may have watched my thread about my 27 year old Senegal suffering from bacteria infection. According to our vet, he is now undergoing a Convalescence period expected to have some ups and downs before full recovery.

I have recently bought the Harrison's High Potency pellet hoping to help BB to gain some weight. Their website has indicated below:

SPECIAL NEEDS: High Potency formula supports birds that are molting, overweight, underweight, particularly active, housed in a cold climate, recovering from an illness or affected by liver or kidney disease.

I have spoken with their customer service asking if we need to feed this gradually ie 50/50 basis = half the Adult Lifetime pellet (BB has taken for 27 years) + half High Potency. She said it's perfectly fine to offer 100% High Potency if the bird likes it. Yesterday we fed BB 4 High Potency and 2 Adult Lifetime pellets. He seems to like it so he happily ate them all and we were so glad to see. Last night before bed time, we saw a small pool of mucous with some undigested "white soybean" like pieces on the cage floor. No more vomiting seen after so we covered him for the night. This morning, we saw four pools of the same vomit on the cage floor. Oh boy, he looks extremely exhausted, tired and weak with his eyes closed. This has happened before when his regurgitation intensified and could not sleep all night.

We then checked the ingredients of the High Potency pellets on the website and was surprised to see the ingredients and all the protein, oil, fiber levels are exactly the same as the Adult Lifetime pellets. I have then filled in a contact form on their site and asked them why. They responded promptly via email saying they did not know they have not updated their site and have just fixed it. After the update, I realized all the ingredients between the two products still the same but the crude fat jumped from 5.5% to 15%!

High Potency
Crude protein (min.) 18%, crude fat (min.) 15%, crude fiber (max.) 6.5%, moisture (max.) 10%.

Adult Lifetime Coarse
Crude protein (min.) 15%, crude fat (min.) 5.5%, crude fiber (max.) 6.5%, moisture (max.) 10%

We suspect the sudden vomiting likely due to the drastic rise of the fat content that could be way too much for a sick esp a senior one who suffers from GI issues to take in. He was relatively fine the last few days till we fed him the High Potency for just one day.

He has been sleeping most of the day and not eating. He woke up at 3 pm wanted to be held and we fed him a little warm oatmeal. Now he is going back to sleep again.

All these setbacks really driving us crazy and we are also suffering from indigestion too. It's just so hard to watch him suffer for so long.

Posting this thread just to let you know to be extra careful when feeding new food to your bird especially a sick one like ours. We regret that we did not take notice of the ingredients and assumed it must be good as it is formulated for birds that are in special needs.
 
Last edited:

Doscar

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Aug 18, 2021
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Oscar a 13 year old blue gold macaw.
Coco a 21 year old African grey.
Some of you may have watched my thread about my 27 year old Senegal suffering from bacteria infection. According to our vet, he is now undergoing a Convalescence period expected to have some ups and downs before full recovery.

I have recently bought the Harrison's High Potency pellet hoping to help BB to gain some weight. Their website has indicated below:

SPECIAL NEEDS: High Potency formula supports birds that are molting, overweight, underweight, particularly active, housed in a cold climate, recovering from an illness or affected by liver or kidney disease.

I have spoken with their customer service asking if we need to feed this gradually ie 50/50 basis = half the Adult Lifetime pellet (BB has taken for 27 years) + half High Potency. She said it's perfectly fine to offer 100% High Potency if the bird likes it. Yesterday we fed BB 4 High Potency and 2 Adult Lifetime pellets. He seems to like it so he happily ate them all and we were so glad to see. Last night before bed time, we saw a small pool of mucous with some undigested "white soybean" like pieces on the cage floor. No more vomiting seen after so we covered him for the night. This morning, we saw four pools of the same vomit on the cage floor. Oh boy, he looks extremely exhausted, tired and weak with his eyes closed. This has happened before when his regurgitation intensified and could not sleep all night.

We then checked the ingredients of the High Potency pellets on the website and was surprised to see the ingredients and all the protein, oil, fiber levels are exactly the same as the Adult Lifetime pellets. I have then filled in a contact form on their site and asked them why. They responded promptly via email saying they did not know they have not updated their site and have just fixed it. After the update, I realized all the ingredients between the two products still the same but the crude fat jumped from 5.5% to 15%!

High Potency
Crude protein (min.) 18%, crude fat (min.) 15%, crude fiber (max.) 6.5%, moisture (max.) 10%.

Adult Lifetime Coarse
Crude protein (min.) 15%, crude fat (min.) 5.5%, crude fiber (max.) 6.5%, moisture (max.) 10%

We suspect the sudden vomiting likely due to the drastic rise of the fat content that could be way too much for a sick esp a senior one who suffers from GI issues to take in. He was relatively fine the last few days till we fed him the High Potency for just one day.

He has been sleeping most of the day and not eating. He woke up at 3 pm wanted to be held and we fed him a little warm oatmeal. Now he is going back to sleep again.

All these setbacks really driving us crazy and we are also suffering from indigestion too. It's just so hard to watch him suffer for so long.

Posting this thread just to let you know to be extra careful when feeding new food to your bird especially a sick one like ours. We regret that we did not take notice of the ingredients and assumed it must be good as it is formulated for birds that are in special needs.
I have a 12 year old healthy B&G macaw I bought him a bag of this same stuff because he was molting it totally changed his demeanor within a week it wasn’t good I stopped feeding it. I didn’t have a good experience with this food either.
 
OP
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I have a 12 year old healthy B&G macaw I bought him a bag of this same stuff because he was molting it totally changed his demeanor within a week it wasn’t good I stopped feeding it. I didn’t have a good experience with this food either.
Lucky your bird is healthy and young much stronger than my 27 year old sick baby. We have also noticed the color of his poops looked a little dark than normal.
 

Scott

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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Sorry your senior Senegal is struggling, hope his recovery is swift and complete.

Harrison's conversion protocol for large parrots suggests High Potency for no less than 8 months. I transitioned entire flock using advice but switched to Adult Lifetime after 2 months. They acclimated after 2 weeks, didn't seem necessary to over-nourish for nearly a year!
 
OP
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Sorry your senior Senegal is struggling, hope his recovery is swift and complete.

Harrison's conversion protocol for large parrots suggests High Potency for no less than 8 months. I transitioned entire flock using advice but switched to Adult Lifetime after 2 months. They acclimated after 2 weeks, didn't seem necessary to over-nourish for nearly a year!
Thanks Scott! BB seems to have improved slightly and have eaten some food on his own. Keeping our fingers tomorrow will be a better day!

The made up of the Harrison's High Potency formula probably mainly focused on diet conversion; breeding and weening birds. It could be very difficult to know if it really benefit those under the "Special Needs" category esp. those recovering from sickness as every case and every bird is different. Doscar has also mentioned this formula did not do good for Oscar's molting so that's another example that it may not be suitable for those under "Special Need" category.

I remember when I got BB from a breeder 27 years ago, I was told to feed him Pretty Bird pellets. I couldn't remember exactly when and why I switched to Harrison's Adult Life Time. I don't recall seeing anywhere the need to be on High Potency before switching. Maybe they didn't have the High Potency available so no need to switch :(
 

Skarila

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I'm bit baffled by this - I had no idea that different sizes have different ingredients.

High Potency Coarse
Crude protein (min.) 18%, crude fat (min.) 15%, crude fiber (max.) 6.5%, moisture (max.) 10%.
High potency fine and superfine:
Crude protein (min.) 20%, crude fat (min.) 12%, crude fiber (max.) 5%, moisture (max.) 10%.

For Coarse it deff has A LOT more fat compared to the fine, as you stated previously.

A note: we feed our 11 year old senegal with high potency fine, and she doesn't even have a hint of anything wrong (aside of her cracked femur when she was a little chick.). She is an incredibly active bird so for now my partner is very keen on keeping her that way. I don't like the idea because the protein levels are very high, but I cannot decide in his name.

Another interesting thing I found with Harrison's coarse pellets - the power treats. The power treats have less protein than the high potency but exactly the same fat level:

Power treats:
Crude protein (min.) 13%, crude fat (min.) 15%, crude fiber (max.) 7%, moisture (max.) 10%.

And these are supposed to be...treats? I mean, I feed Pascal (my conure) mainly with Roudybush maintenance and the Harrison's high potency fine more as a treat or while I'm around. The power treats are crumbled down and used as training treats. In future, because I will not be able to get roudybush anymore, I really want to switch to the lifetime mixed with High potency pepper fine. (It has Cayenne pepper and I like the sound of it)

Roudybush Maintenance
crude protein min. 11.0%; crude fat min. 7.0% , crude fiber max. 3.5%;

I also think that the sudden fatty pellets (3x more than the previous one almost) might've caused this negative impact to your poor sennie, especially while it is still recovering from the antibiotics. And I kind of don't understand Harrison's, if a bird has liver issues for example, why try to offer a really fatty pellet?
 

Scott

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Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Thanks Scott! BB seems to have improved slightly and have eaten some food on his own. Keeping our fingers tomorrow will be a better day!

The made up of the Harrison's High Potency formula probably mainly focused on diet conversion; breeding and weening birds. It could be very difficult to know if it really benefit those under the "Special Needs" category esp. those recovering from sickness as every case and every bird is different. Doscar has also mentioned this formula did not do good for Oscar's molting so that's another example that it may not be suitable for those under "Special Need" category.

I remember when I got BB from a breeder 27 years ago, I was told to feed him Pretty Bird pellets. I couldn't remember exactly when and why I switched to Harrison's Adult Life Time. I don't recall seeing anywhere the need to be on High Potency before switching. Maybe they didn't have the High Potency available so no need to switch :(
Well said! Conversion ought not take months; either they adapt within weeks to a month or not at all. Wish Harrison's offered more complete guidelines, particularly with seniors.
 
OP
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I'm bit baffled by this - I had no idea that different sizes have different ingredients.

High Potency Coarse
Crude protein (min.) 18%, crude fat (min.) 15%, crude fiber (max.) 6.5%, moisture (max.) 10%.
High potency fine and superfine:
Crude protein (min.) 20%, crude fat (min.) 12%, crude fiber (max.) 5%, moisture (max.) 10%.

For Coarse it deff has A LOT more fat compared to the fine, as you stated previously.

A note: we feed our 11 year old senegal with high potency fine, and she doesn't even have a hint of anything wrong (aside of her cracked femur when she was a little chick.). She is an incredibly active bird so for now my partner is very keen on keeping her that way. I don't like the idea because the protein levels are very high, but I cannot decide in his name.

Another interesting thing I found with Harrison's coarse pellets - the power treats. The power treats have less protein than the high potency but exactly the same fat level:

Power treats:
Crude protein (min.) 13%, crude fat (min.) 15%, crude fiber (max.) 7%, moisture (max.) 10%.

And these are supposed to be...treats? I mean, I feed Pascal (my conure) mainly with Roudybush maintenance and the Harrison's high potency fine more as a treat or while I'm around. The power treats are crumbled down and used as training treats. In future, because I will not be able to get roudybush anymore, I really want to switch to the lifetime mixed with High potency pepper fine. (It has Cayenne pepper and I like the sound of it)

Roudybush Maintenance
crude protein min. 11.0%; crude fat min. 7.0% , crude fiber max. 3.5%;

I also think that the sudden fatty pellets (3x more than the previous one almost) might've caused this negative impact to your poor sennie, especially while it is still recovering from the antibiotics. And I kind of don't understand Harrison's, if a bird has liver issues for example, why try to offer a really fatty pellet?
Oh wow, you found something even more. I am so glad that you did, what a great find!

I have in fact spoken with the same customer service 3 times getting advice on which size of the High Potency should we get. She has repeatedly emphasized that all ingredients are exactly the same, only the size and shape is different. It all depends on our bird's preference, there are some bigger size parrots such as Greys prefer the fine version.

We have started to blame ourselves not checking "everything" more carefully but now realized we may have already done that before they updated their site. The bottom line is Harrison's have given misleading information to their staff as the outcome could be very serious like mine.

We chose the High Potency coarse as BB never likes the fine version. We could use a mixer to grind it into various sizes even powder depends on his condition day by day. I filled out the contact form hoping to find a different person to respond and it works and they updated the site (without any apology). They responded saying "The ingredients are the same, but the order they are listed increases the protein level, fat content and nutritional values in High Potency." They suggested to try the Juvenile Handfeed Formula to feed BB which we dare not to try anything new anymore.

Regarding your 11 year old Senegal still on the High Potency Fine, I really feel you should seriously reconsider switching to the Adult Life Time especially if you also feed him nuts. There is a big difference on the fat content (12% vs 6.5% Adult Life time fine). It may be okay now since your bird is still young but will accumulate over years. I have also bought the Power Treat and now noticed that the fat content is high (15% vs 5.5% on Adult Life time coarse) so we have stopped feeding it.

I agree with you that I don't understand why the Harrison's High Potency is good for birds recovering from liver and kidney disease using such a high oil content formula. Pretty sure BB drastic deterioration is due to that as we have only fed him one time and his poops looked dark green which is not normal.

Good news is BB continues to improve. He has eaten much more today and more energy. I think the world's most gentle full body massage that I gave him yesterday has boosted his immune system way high.

Apologies for the lengthy post again. Can't help it as I am just a detailed oriented person that got nothing else to do after I retired.
 
Last edited:

Skarila

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Apr 19, 2021
417
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Albums
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763
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Parrots
✻Csillam the rescued budgie
✻Pascal the Emma's (Venezuelan) Conure

Previous owned:
✻Archibald the cockatiel (fostered 6 months)
✻RIP - 28 YO Zeleni the mischievous IRN
✻RIP -Sunny the budgie
Oh wow, you found something even more. I am so glad that you did, what a great find!

I have in fact spoken with the same customer service 3 times getting advice on which size of the High Potency should we get. She has repeatedly emphasized that all ingredients are exactly the same, only the size and shape is different. It all depends on our bird's preference, there are some bigger size parrots such as Greys prefer the fine version.

We have started to blame ourselves not checking "everything" more carefully but now realized we may have already done that before they updated their site. The bottom line is Harrison's have given misleading information to their staff as the outcome could be very serious like mine.

We chose the High Potency coarse as BB never likes the fine version. We could use a mixer to grind it into various sizes even powder depends on his condition day by day. I filled out the contact form hoping to find a different person to respond and it works and they updated the site (without any apology). They responded saying "The ingredients are the same, but the order they are listed increases the protein level, fat content and nutritional values in High Potency." They suggested to try the Juvenile Handfeed Formula to feed BB which we dare not to try anything new anymore.

Regarding your 11 year old Senegal still on the High Potency Fine, I really feel you should seriously reconsider switching to the Adult Life Time especially if you also feed him nuts. There is a big difference on the fat content (12% vs 6.5% Adult Life time fine). It may be okay now since your bird is still young but will accumulate over years. I have also bought the Power Treat and now noticed that the fat content is high (15% vs 5.5% on Adult Life time coarse) so we have stopped feeding it.

I agree with you that I don't understand why the Harrison's High Potency is good for birds recovering from liver and kidney disease using such a high oil content formula. Pretty sure BB drastic deterioration is due to that as we have only fed him one time and his poops looked dark green which is not normal.

Good news is BB continues to improve. He has eaten much more today and more energy. I think the world's most gentle full body massage that I gave him yesterday has boosted his immune system way high.

Apologies for the lengthy post again. Can't help it as I am just a detailed oriented person that got nothing else to do after I retired.
Luckily for Aina, she has such a varieted diet with her cooked seed/leguminose mix, her milk thistle seeds she gets as a bonus, her veggies and fruits... but no nuts. Pellets make up perhaps only 50% of her diet, I'd say even less. If she were eating as much pellets as my little conure does, then I would really try to convince my partner to at least start mixing with the other one, but as said, He has the ultimate saying, and he really does know his bird stuff. (From him I learned the most)

Seriously, different customer service representatives told you the same thing, that only the size is different? That's... Quite sad. And worrysome. I mean, who will take responsibility if the bird's health gets worse because you received wrong info? I guess it is always up to us to always check the labels as a final.

I never had coarse pellets so I do not know the consistency. The power treats we have I just slice and dice like a nut - it's hard but oily, so I manage to slice up finely, but there will always be dust. But not a single crumble is waisted, they adore their little treats (for the tiny conure 1 pellet per day is given, and he often doesn't even get half of such pellet if there are no training sessions)

If you already lost your faith in Harrisons, there is always Roudybush. They have several types of pellets, from normal maintenance, simple low fat to senior. Also I am happy to hear that BB is well and kicking, especially after a nice "massage"! Cannot say I'm not jealous, i wanna get a day off work and go for a spa day! I hope little BB keeps improving day by day.
 
OP
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Luckily for Aina, she has such a varieted diet with her cooked seed/leguminose mix, her milk thistle seeds she gets as a bonus, her veggies and fruits... but no nuts. Pellets make up perhaps only 50% of her diet, I'd say even less. If she were eating as much pellets as my little conure does, then I would really try to convince my partner to at least start mixing with the other one, but as said, He has the ultimate saying, and he really does know his bird stuff. (From him I learned the most)

Seriously, different customer service representatives told you the same thing, that only the size is different? That's... Quite sad. And worrysome. I mean, who will take responsibility if the bird's health gets worse because you received wrong info? I guess it is always up to us to always check the labels as a final.

I never had coarse pellets so I do not know the consistency. The power treats we have I just slice and dice like a nut - it's hard but oily, so I manage to slice up finely, but there will always be dust. But not a single crumble is waisted, they adore their little treats (for the tiny conure 1 pellet per day is given, and he often doesn't even get half of such pellet if there are no training sessions)

If you already lost your faith in Harrisons, there is always Roudybush. They have several types of pellets, from normal maintenance, simple low fat to senior. Also I am happy to hear that BB is well and kicking, especially after a nice "massage"! Cannot say I'm not jealous, i wanna get a day off work and go for a spa day! I hope little BB keeps improving day by day.
I do not completely lose faith in Harrison's as afterall BB has been fed with the Adult Life Time for 27 years and was really healthy and active. I have also fed him varieted diet with cooked legumes; fruits, veggies, sprouted seed etc etc. We fed him 1-2 almond in shell each day depends on the size to keep his little mind busy. He could open a small hole in the shell in just 5 minutes and managed to eat the nut little by little. We felt so proud of ourselves that we have taken such good care of him both physically and mentally that he never have once need to be seen by a vet in 27 years. I just hope my experience and our findings can benefit others.

BTW, I spoke with the same rep not different rep and got the same answer. I got a different person to respond via the contact form. I have suggested Harrison's should warn consumers on the Special Need category about the fat content instead of generalized it. Of course, they will not be responsible, it's your decision and if you are in doubt should check with the vet. We hear it all the time in the US on every prescription drug ads on TV saying please consult with your physician = don't blame us if something happens to you!
 

Littleredbeak

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So I have a bag of fine high potency and my pads protein content is 20%. When I get home I'll take a photo and post it. Does your bag say protein 18%?. I also had something simila happen to my bird (frequent regurgitation) and it was due to the high protein level he was consuming (he loves it!). I now offer it as a treat (I do not give anyone bugs due to the potential for parasites.)
 
OP
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So I have a bag of fine high potency and my pads protein content is 20%. When I get home I'll take a photo and post it. Does your bag say protein 18%?. I also had something simila happen to my bird (frequent regurgitation) and it was due to the high protein level he was consuming (he loves it!). I now offer it as a treat (I do not give anyone bugs due to the potential for parasites.)
Mine is the coarse version for some reason the protein is slightly lower than the fine version. Higher protein makes sense for birds recovering from illness but disagree on exceptionally high fat content. BB frequent regurgitation is a common symptom of sour crop caused by bacteria or yeast in the crop that needs antibiotics treatments. Did your vet say high protein level cause frequent regurgitation? If so, did your bird get medication to fix the problem?

High Potency Coarse
Crude protein (min.) 18%, crude fat (min.) 15%, crude fiber (max.) 6.5%, moisture (max.) 10%.

High potency fine and superfine:
Crude protein (min.) 20%, crude fat (min.) 12%, crude fiber (max.) 5%, moisture (max.) 10%.
 

GaleriaGila

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May 14, 2016
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The Rickeybird, 37-year-old Patagonian Conure
Well... just my two cents...
The ol' Rickeybird has eaten this very food for 35 or so years (he's 37 now)...
Go figure.

Edit/added
First and foremost, forgive me for not expressing my support and sorrow for your bird's suffering!
 
OP
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Well... just my two cents...
The ol' Rickeybird has eaten this very food for 35 or so years (he's 37 now)...
Go figure.

Edit/added
First and foremost, forgive me for not expressing my support and sorrow for your bird's suffering!
Wow, 37 years old that's wonderful!

BTW, which version has you been feeding him, coarse or fine? Maybe for a healthy bird not eating nuts, it's okay.
 

Littleredbeak

Active member
May 27, 2020
348
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Just seeing your post! I have the fine.... weird that they are all different with the same ingredients. Are all the ingredients in order?
Oh wow, you found something even more. I am so glad that you did, what a great find!

I have in fact spoken with the same customer service 3 times getting advice on which size of the High Potency should we get. She has repeatedly emphasized that all ingredients are exactly the same, only the size and shape is different. It all depends on our bird's preference, there are some bigger size parrots such as Greys prefer the fine version.

We have started to blame ourselves not checking "everything" more carefully but now realized we may have already done that before they updated their site. The bottom line is Harrison's have given misleading information to their staff as the outcome could be very serious like mine.

We chose the High Potency coarse as BB never likes the fine version. We could use a mixer to grind it into various sizes even powder depends on his condition day by day. I filled out the contact form hoping to find a different person to respond and it works and they updated the site (without any apology). They responded saying "The ingredients are the same, but the order they are listed increases the protein level, fat content and nutritional values in High Potency." They suggested to try the Juvenile Handfeed Formula to feed BB which we dare not to try anything new anymore.

Regarding your 11 year old Senegal still on the High Potency Fine, I really feel you should seriously reconsider switching to the Adult Life Time especially if you also feed him nuts. There is a big difference on the fat content (12% vs 6.5% Adult Life time fine). It may be okay now since your bird is still young but will accumulate over years. I have also bought the Power Treat and now noticed that the fat content is high (15% vs 5.5% on Adult Life time coarse) so we have stopped feeding it.

I agree with you that I don't understand why the Harrison's High Potency is good for birds recovering from liver and kidney disease using such a high oil content formula. Pretty sure BB drastic deterioration is due to that as we have only fed him one time and his poops looked dark green which is not normal.

Good news is BB continues to improve. He has eaten much more today and more energy. I think the world's most gentle full body massage that I gave him yesterday has boosted his immune system way high.

Apologies for the lengthy post again. Can't help it as I am just a detailed oriented person that got nothing else to do after I retired.
 
OP
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Just seeing your post! I have the fine.... weird that they are all different with the same ingredients. Are all the ingredients in order?
Yep ingredients exactly the same. If i have chosen the fine version, my bird may have been okay but the Adult Lifetime coarse only has 5.5% fat while the High Potency Fine has 12% so may not be suitable for a sick bird ta take.
 

GaleriaGila

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May 14, 2016
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The Rickeybird, 37-year-old Patagonian Conure
High Potency Fine... since day one... sometime in 1985, at the recommendation of my vet (who was personally acquainted with Harrison). I've had him since he was a few months old, painstakingly and cringeworthingly (?) documented in our Scrapbook (link in signature).
He is now on Enalapril for heart issues, but still frisky and mean. I will run this all by my current avian vet, and I'll get back to you if he says something relevant.
 
OP
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High Potency Fine... since day one... sometime in 1985, at the recommendation of my vet (who was personally acquainted with Harrison). I've had him since he was a few months old, painstakingly and cringeworthingly (?) documented in our Scrapbook (link in signature).
He is now on Enalapril for heart issues, but still frisky and mean. I will run this all by my current avian vet, and I'll get back to you if he says something relevant.
Sorry to hear that Rickeybird now on Enalapril, I am sure his condition will be under control by the care of his mommy and avian vet. Just curious about pet bird heart issues and accidentally found below which are rather informative (pretty long though) not sure if you and anyone interested to read.


 
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