Could a no pellet diet work?

Greenhouseparrots

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I've had my 7 year old conure for 3 years and apart from the first couple of months of having her, I've always given her pellets in varying quantities. She gets harrisons and pretty bird natural gold. Apart from those first few months of having her, she's always been extremely hormonal and I've tried everything to help her. She isn't happy at all, she screams about 50% of her waking life at nothing. I give her everything she wants or needs and she's still unhappy and screaming half the time. She tries to attack me, will lunge at me even when I'm feeding her, and in general doesn't seem like she's happy at all. I know conures scream. I know they're loud. How she's being is not normal though and I have tried everything except removing the pellets.

I've done all of the standard advice and the more I do, the worse she gets. Covering her for 12+ hours a night makes her worse. Removing seeds makes her worse. Increasing pellets, removing seeds and increasing chop makes her worse. Changing her cage around makes her worse. Having her out of the cage more makes her worse. Spending more time with her hasn't helped, training her more hasn't helped. In the last few weeks I removed seeds entirely, gave her the minimum recommended amount of pellets and unlimited chop, covered her for 13-14hrs a night, changed her cage around twice, got her new toys, trained her every day, had her out in the aviary both weekend days for 8 hours each time and she's worse than she's ever been. She's louder than she's ever been, more aggressive than she's ever been and I don't know what else to do. She seven years old. She's not going through puberty and she shouldn't be this bad when I'm doing everything right.

The only thing I can think of doing that I haven't yet is removing the pellets. She isn't a fussy eater so I'm not worried about her not eating the right foods for her nutrition. She goes outside a lot and I just got an avian lamp so I'm not worried about vitamin D. I can give her unlimited chop and she loves fresh vegetables and fruits so that's not a problem. I can give her seeds in her foraging toys so she works for them which she loves doing, and I can limit the amount she gets as well. I also have loads of pellets left so I'm going to give them to her a couple of times a week so she'll still be getting some pellets.

Do you think this would finally calm her down and enable her to enjoy her life again? It's been three years of her screaming all day everyday and I don't know if I can do it for much longer, let alone the rest of her life.
 

Free as a bird

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Despite the mainstream pushing pellet diets my avian vet and bird shop owner recommend seed/grain diets. They are granivores after all so with holding grain from them is cruel just like with holding meat from a carnivore is cruel.

Pellets are basically just processed seed with other crap in it. It's fake food. I put some in my mix but my birds rarely touch it, they go for the real seed, it's what their beaks and digestive systems are designed to do.

Balance is what everyone agrees on. So why don't you just offer them a mix of seed and pellets and let them eat what they like, instead of forcing processed foods on them and with holding real food from them. That's what I do anyway, they always have seed and pellets on offer and my birds are happy 😊

But before this "seeds are bad" opinion became popular, people had birds for hundreds of years and they were just fine without pellets, healthy birds that lived many years like the many budgies that iv had. My Godmother had a cocky live over 60 years without pellets same as the local bird shop owner
 
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Greenhouseparrots

Greenhouseparrots

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When I first got her I had her on seeds and chop and she was alright and wasn't really hormonal but then when I took her to the vet that's when they told me she needed to be on pellets so I've followed that ever since and I've had problems ever since.

I've also had her on a mix of seed, pellets and chop and I thought she was pretty hormonal then, but since going to 50% pellets and 50% chop it's gotten so much worse. She likes pellets and will actually eat them over seed so I used to give it to her mixed and sometimes she'd leave seed but eat all the pellets.

I think I'm going to give her the pellets when she's in the aviary as they can last longer outside than chop, and when she's inside I'll just give her chop and seeds. I'm hoping this is what's wrong with her, otherwise I think she has a neurological issue. She has a scar on her head where the feathers don't grow so I wonder if she hit her head before I became her owner and has something more going on with her.
 

Jcas

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I’m sorry you’re dealing with this; it must be frustrating both to deal with the noise and aggression and because none of us like to see our birds unhappy. I believe each bird is an individual and should be treated as such. What works for one ( or even most) may not work for another. Unfortunately there is very little research on proper bird diets. Even the best avian vets are giving advice based on limited research and their own experiences. This is why we see so many differences of opinion amongst both bird vets and bird owners/breeders/ fanciers. I would say it’s definitely worth a try to switch your bird to more of a chop/ seed diet and limit or cut out pellets. If it works for her and she shows no signs of malnutrition then stick with it! I really do hope you find something that works for your bird; clearly you’re putting a lot of effort into helping her and she’s lucky to have you ❤️
 
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Greenhouseparrots

Greenhouseparrots

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Crimson bellied conure- Tequila
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White and blue budgie- Ciroc
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I’m sorry you’re dealing with this; it must be frustrating both to deal with the noise and aggression and because none of us like to see our birds unhappy. I believe each bird is an individual and should be treated as such. What works for one ( or even most) may not work for another. Unfortunately there is very little research on proper bird diets. Even the best avian vets are giving advice based on limited research and their own experiences. This is why we see so many differences of opinion amongst both bird vets and bird owners/breeders/ fanciers. I would say it’s definitely worth a try to switch your bird to more of a chop/ seed diet and limit or cut out pellets. If it works for her and she shows no signs of malnutrition then stick with it! I really do hope you find something that works for your bird; clearly you’re putting a lot of effort into helping her and she’s lucky to have you ❤️
Thank you. I hope it works for her as I really hate to see her so unhappy all the time. I'm going to start her new diet from tomorrow and we'll see how she goes.
 

wrench13

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Me, I'd go back to seed/chop exclusively. Just make sure not TOO much seed and a good variety of veggies in the chop. My last batch had 17 different ingredients. I make enough for like 3 months and freeze it in 3 day servings. Bash off 1/3, zap it for 30 seconds. Salty dives right in.
 

chris-md

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My good friend wrench nailed it:

The purpose of pellets is that they contain hard-to-obtain micronutrients.

If you feed diversity in colors and plant parts (seed, shoot, root) you’ll cover your required micronutrient bases. The more ingredients you have, the better off you are.

I have an Eclectus, which as a rule shouldn’t have pellets. His base chop (which lasts 9 months!!) has about 22 ingredients, and I mix in sprouts - a mix which contains maybe 15 unique seeds depending on the specific mix I’m feeding that day. And I do my best to avoid overlapping the chop ingredients with sprouts to varying degrees of success.

So one meal could have up to 37 different ingredients, top end estimate. And this doesn’t count the rather exotic pellets I give him (BirDelicious wild origins eclectus pellet) to top dress the above, which unto itself I’m estimating has 50+ ingredients unto itself I don’t otherwise feed. I don’t think Parker touches these much but I offer because of the unusual ingredients.

That’s how you’re able to get away with no sprouts.
 
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Greenhouseparrots

Greenhouseparrots

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Me, I'd go back to seed/chop exclusively. Just make sure not TOO much seed and a good variety of veggies in the chop. My last batch had 17 different ingredients. I make enough for like 3 months and freeze it in 3 day servings. Bash off 1/3, zap it for 30 seconds. Salty dives right in.
How much seed would you say I should give her? I'm planning on 2 teaspoons spread through her foraging toys. The seed mix contains 3 different types of millet, canary seed, hemp seed, seasame seed and chia seed. I have another seed mix which contains millet, safflower, oat groats, niger seed, canary seed, black rapeseed, linseed, mawseed and hemp seed so I can rotate the two mixes. I also have a mix that contains 25 ingredients which includes seeds, nuts and dried fruit/ veggies that I give her in the aviary.

For chop I put in peas, corn, carrot, green beans, bell peppers, a mix of salad greens like spinach and rocket, broccoli, puffed millet and puffed brown rice. I give her fruit like berries, apple and oranges once or twice a week. I also have a cooked vegetable and rice meal that I add eggs and spices to as an occasional treat. I've got dried flowers like lavender and some dried herbs like mint outside of the cage so she can eat them out of the cage if she's hungry as I only like to feed them in their cage so they go back in without too much trouble.

I need to work on adding more ingredients to the chop (and improving my own diet too!), but I'm not too sure where to begin. I think I've got the basics covered, and she goes outside and has an avian lamp too so that should cover vitamin D.
 
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Greenhouseparrots

Greenhouseparrots

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Crimson bellied conure- Tequila
Greencheek conure- Sierra
Pearled cockatiel- Malibu
Cockatiel- Volkan
Yellow budgies- Pina Colada and Houdini
Blue budgie- Lightning
White and blue budgie- Ciroc
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My good friend wrench nailed it:

The purpose of pellets is that they contain hard-to-obtain micronutrients.

If you feed diversity in colors and plant parts (seed, shoot, root) you’ll cover your required micronutrient bases. The more ingredients you have, the better off you are.

I have an Eclectus, which as a rule shouldn’t have pellets. His base chop (which lasts 9 months!!) has about 22 ingredients, and I mix in sprouts - a mix which contains maybe 15 unique seeds depending on the specific mix I’m feeding that day. And I do my best to avoid overlapping the chop ingredients with sprouts to varying degrees of success.

So one meal could have up to 37 different ingredients, top end estimate. And this doesn’t count the rather exotic pellets I give him (BirDelicious wild origins eclectus pellet) to top dress the above, which unto itself I’m estimating has 50+ ingredients unto itself I don’t otherwise feed. I don’t think Parker touches these much but I offer because of the unusual ingredients.

That’s how you’re able to get away with no sprouts.
Thank you! I've never come across birdelicious mixes but I've had at what they offer and it's exactly the kind of thing I've been looking for!
 

chris-md

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They’re very pricey! And they don’t ship during the summer months (they’ll stop shipping in June). But the pellets are so unique that it’s worth it. Plus, I just use them as top dressing, not a main diet so im going through a tablespoon per day at most. Take a while to ge through.
 

KissyBeak

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I've had my 7 year old conure for 3 years and apart from the first couple of months of having her, I've always given her pellets in varying quantities. She gets harrisons and pretty bird natural gold. Apart from those first few months of having her, she's always been extremely hormonal and I've tried everything to help her. She isn't happy at all, she screams about 50% of her waking life at nothing. I give her everything she wants or needs and she's still unhappy and screaming half the time. She tries to attack me, will lunge at me even when I'm feeding her, and in general doesn't seem like she's happy at all. I know conures scream. I know they're loud. How she's being is not normal though and I have tried everything except removing the pellets.

I've done all of the standard advice and the more I do, the worse she gets. Covering her for 12+ hours a night makes her worse. Removing seeds makes her worse. Increasing pellets, removing seeds and increasing chop makes her worse. Changing her cage around makes her worse. Having her out of the cage more makes her worse. Spending more time with her hasn't helped, training her more hasn't helped. In the last few weeks I removed seeds entirely, gave her the minimum recommended amount of pellets and unlimited chop, covered her for 13-14hrs a night, changed her cage around twice, got her new toys, trained her every day, had her out in the aviary both weekend days for 8 hours each time and she's worse than she's ever been. She's louder than she's ever been, more aggressive than she's ever been and I don't know what else to do. She seven years old. She's not going through puberty and she shouldn't be this bad when I'm doing everything right.

The only thing I can think of doing that I haven't yet is removing the pellets. She isn't a fussy eater so I'm not worried about her not eating the right foods for her nutrition. She goes outside a lot and I just got an avian lamp so I'm not worried about vitamin D. I can give her unlimited chop and she loves fresh vegetables and fruits so that's not a problem. I can give her seeds in her foraging toys so she works for them which she loves doing, and I can limit the amount she gets as well. I also have loads of pellets left so I'm going to give them to her a couple of times a week so she'll still be getting some pellets.

Do you think this would finally calm her down and enable her to enjoy her life again? It's been three years of her screaming all day everyday and I don't know if I can do it for much longer, let alone the rest of her life.
I am not an expert But- I have a friend who has raised Linnie’s cockatiels and budgies for over 20 years- she breeds show birds, she knows what she is doing and these guys are at their peak physically. She is incredibly knowledgeable and has learned a lot from experience . She makes her own dry food mixes and food supplements.
Interestingly, although when I first started learning about bird diets, many people were saying, no seed, pellets, or less seed…
This breeder insists that pellets are processed and full of things that are not really much better. In some cases, worse, depending on the pellet.
She’s fine with supplementing with a drag good pellet- but found over the years that pelleted diets led to worse health and physical condition, poorer representation in shows… dulling of feathers etc.
with her dry food mixes ( tons of different seeds, plants, veg and fruit bits, spices, herbs,) plus her mineral supplement and healing dried herb salads, fresh chop, they smelled better, looked better, were in better condition overall.
So in my understanding she actually doesn’t recommend pellets at all esp if they are getting fresh food-
For my birds, I go with her method mostly bc she is my main bird mentor and I know her personally. I use her methods and food mixes.
I still offer them Harrison’s, separately or sprinkled into the mix. Or for fun, they like to pick at the mash.
So take me with a grain of salt bc I am still learning… but just thought I’d put this out there, in some places it’s an unpopular opinion but I think it’s also one that many others share.
I haven’t had birds long enough to notice long term benefits if any. But I noticed that the Linnie would get constipated on the all pellet diet, her poops were colorless and thick, and she had a musky smell that was cute. That being said she was eating chop but eating quite as much fresh food as she does now.
On the non pellet diet, her poops are colorful, proper consistency (for a Linnie this is unfortunate -RIP all my white shirts) and her smell is more floral and honeyed.

Either way, I just hope I’m doing the right thing! I do believe that for my girls, pellets are not really necessary except as a supplement. I offer them and they do eat some, but prefer the other foods.

As far as the behavior I’m so sorry you are going through this, it must be heartbreaking to feel like your baby isn’t happy. I only have experience with small birds, so not sure if that tracks with Conures. The breeder friend I have puts her birds on an austerity diet to discourage hormonal behavior. Fresh chop is only served 1-3 times a week, if at all,6 every day. The fresh food tells them it’s a good time to breed. There are other aspects of it… it’s short of a risk vs benefit thing bc obviously we want them to eat fresh for health… but if hormones are wreaking havoc it can be worth it. Watches the amounts, no free for all buffets. Apparently the austerity diet tells them hey, it’s not the growing season anymore, let’s chill out hormones. Covers them 14 hours a night consistently.
It’s hard to discourage hormones in the spring… going off austerity diet can be a trigger too… protein and extra minerals can exacerbate issues , so can bathing daily or rainy weather.

But also idk if what you describe is hormonal in the sense of breeding- like being eggy and nesty… or if she’s struggling with her mental health.

My budgie became a basketcase after we moved, the new house stressed her out so much. It’s taken a year or two for her to be comfortable and happy, and re memorize all her flight patterns.
She was also unhappy bc we left my in laws, who she considered part of the flock.

But you say it’s been going on for years? It sounds like she is well loved and cared for- Could you share a little bit more about your lifestyle, living situation, set up, where you live generally, weather patterns and noise, others you live with and relationships with your bird. Rituals, you do, playtime and snuggling, all of those things. What she does when she is OOC… where she sleeps, where her cage is… how tame is she or trained, like does she step up? Is she finger shy, does shs just lunge or actually bite, what are her bite triggers… what is her specific behavior… is she screaming everywhere she goes?
What is her behavior regarding toys and foraging etc?

Maybe we can help you troubleshoot a bit if we have more info, Maybe others could see some larger pattern's

My Linnie was hormonal when she was around 6-10 months, and I know your bird has been doing this longer, but my girl was very triggered by food and would bite me when I tried to feed her, or fill her bowls, also would try to burrow in my bed and attack me when I attempted to get her out.

She’s better now, but the constant attacking… that reminds me of your Conure. I realized that she thinks the hand is not part of me, and that it’s a monster coming to take her food. She can’t tell that it’s giving and helping.

It took a long time but she finally has figured out that the hand is not evil. She steps up obediently and takes treats gently from my hand. Still has grumpy moments in the spring where she just can’t control her self 😂
I think for her it was hormonal but I also think she would still be like that if I didn’t work on training her.
One thing that helped is my other bird is tame, so she saw that and mimicked her more.
I also used the gentle beak method, where when she attacked I stroke her beak and sing a song in a baby voice… and made little squeaky bird baby noises to her.
I had her watch me change my bedsheets and used a new different color- somehow she realized it wasn’t her bed.
I gave her 14 hours sleep every night.
I put her in her cage everytime she bit me really really really hard

Linnie’s are very different psychologically so… these are just a few things that worked for me.

For my budgie, sometimes she gets diva like and tries to run the house. She screams to get her way. When she screams I know she wants something and usually I know what it is, I will give it to her or do what she wants, like take her upstairs to see her dad lol, then she’s fine. she uses the screeching to get our attention and get what she wants. Within reason. I mean sometimes it’s ridiculous it’s like “I want my toy on this perch not that perch!” They are that intelligent and spoiled 😂 as you know.
However, if she goes on screeching
And it’s just totally unreasonable and I can’t figure out what it is she needs and I’ve tried everything within reason, I just ignore her or leave the room. It’s hard but I’ve gotten used to having to do it once in a while , it’s just the only that works.
She realize her screeching isn’t getting her what she wants, will settle down and make do with the wonderful situation at hand, which is being a loved spoiled little baby with lots of toys and beautiful enrichment areas. She will be chattering happily to herself in no time.
However if daddy comes in, she may commence screaming to him, thinking that Maybe he will understand her request. Sometimes he does because they have their own rituals they do.

I’m sorry, I have no idea of any of this will help you 😩 my heart goes out to you and I wish you lots of luck, hope this gets resolved
 
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Greenhouseparrots

Greenhouseparrots

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Crimson bellied conure- Tequila
Greencheek conure- Sierra
Pearled cockatiel- Malibu
Cockatiel- Volkan
Yellow budgies- Pina Colada and Houdini
Blue budgie- Lightning
White and blue budgie- Ciroc
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But you say it’s been going on for years? It sounds like she is well loved and cared for- Could you share a little bit more about your lifestyle, living situation, set up, where you live generally, weather patterns and noise, others you live with and relationships with your bird. Rituals, you do, playtime and snuggling, all of those things. What she does when she is OOC… where she sleeps, where her cage is… how tame is she or trained, like does she step up? Is she finger shy, does shs just lunge or actually bite, what are her bite triggers… what is her specific behavior… is she screaming everywhere she goes?
What is her behavior regarding toys and foraging etc?
I've had her for three years and in the beginning she wasn't tame. I was told she was three months old but I later found out that she was actually 4 when I got her and that I had unknowingly separated her from her mate. I strongly suspect she was used for breeding as she's very maternal and tried to help my budgies raise their chicks. When they fledged the baby budgies followed her around and she looked after them a lot. I've rescued a few birds (8 in total now) since I got her and she's always been the first one to settle them in. Introductions have gone well as she's always jumped right in and started including them in the rest of the flock so to speak. For a while she shared a cage with the cockatiel I got at the same time as her, and then another rescued cockatiel also lived in the cage with her for a few months. She preens them all and is more of a bird bird than a people bird. She loves my other birds essentially and I have few problems with her being aggressive towards them. I think she's also actually a male as she mounts my other conure but I've called her a girl the whole time so I'm going to stick with calling her a girl.

She's semi-tame. When I got her she wasn't tame at all but now she recalls, can sit on your shoulder, give kisses, spin and can pick objects up if I touch them. She really loves training and won't bite when doing it. I can't stroke her or anything because she flies away but one time she got tangled up and she didn't bite me as I untangled her, even though I was fully prepared to lose a finger or two.

I live in the UK and have a 6x8 greenhouse/ aviary that I out them out in as often as I can. Anything over 10c and they go outside if I'm home. I used to work 2-10 so they'd go out from about 8-1 everyday. She still had screaming problems though, but has always been better behaved when she's outside. Now I work 9-5 so they only go out on weekends or if I've got a day off in the week. I get up at 5am so they can come out for a couple of hours and do some training before I go to work and then three times a week I'm home at 5 so they come out for around an hour and a half. The other two weekdays I'm usually at my boyfriends so they can't come out. I want to stress that even when I've been home all day everyday (I was unemployed for a few months), she has still screamed non stop. On weekends she's either out in my room most of the day or out in the aviary. I do see my boyfriend as well on the weekend but even if he comes and stays here, she's just as bad despite getting to be out of the cage for much longer. She's indifferent to people for the most part as she only really interacts with me. She flock calls to me when I get home from work as she can see out of the window from her cage. My parents don't bother with her (and they don't like her screaming so much). She liked my sister but she moved out and she rarely sees her now. She does take treats and do tricks for people though, and won't bite them like she will to me. She loves my two year old cousin and I've taken her on holiday with me to stay with my aunt a few times before and she's very gentle with him. My aunt has a bigger room for them to fly in and they like it, but she still screams a lot even then.

I've tried all sorts to get her to not be hormonal. I've tried covering her for 12+ hours a day, an all pellet diet, no seeds but pellets and chop, but it doesn't work. I was doing 50/50 pellets and chop and that's when she's ramped up the screaming. She won't really engage in toys and will just scream instead. I've taught her how to play but she's mostly not interested. If she's had enough of treats she'll just scream. If a foraging toy requires a bit of effort, she'll scream. If she's out of the cage and I've done some training with her then she'll scream. The other weekend she was out in the aviary which is her favourite place to be and all morning she screamed. She likes pellets and I have no problem getting her to eat them. I can even use them as treats and she'll work for them. She doesn't like when I go near the cage doors, or when I walk past her cage. But she's extended it to flying to me in order to lunge at and bite me when out of the cage too.

I just had a thought the other day that I had her on seeds and chop when I first got her and that's where I was making a lot of progress with her and she wasn't screaming that much back then and I was really bonding with her. But then my vet said she needed to be on pellets so I got her harrisons and she's had pellets since then. I even stopped her being on harrisons and put her on pretty bird gold just in case it was harrisons affecting her but she's still just as bad. I've tried all kinds of dry mixes and herbal blends as well but it doesn't work and she seems to get worse the more I try to do things the right way (pellets, cage cover, 12+ hrs sleep).

I hope that's not too long, I tried to include everything I could think of
 

Beepers

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I've had my 7 year old conure for 3 years and apart from the first couple of months of having her, I've always given her pellets in varying quantities. She gets harrisons and pretty bird natural gold. Apart from those first few months of having her, she's always been extremely hormonal and I've tried everything to help her. She isn't happy at all, she screams about 50% of her waking life at nothing. I give her everything she wants or needs and she's still unhappy and screaming half the time. She tries to attack me, will lunge at me even when I'm feeding her, and in general doesn't seem like she's happy at all. I know conures scream. I know they're loud. How she's being is not normal though and I have tried everything except removing the pellets.

I've done all of the standard advice and the more I do, the worse she gets. Covering her for 12+ hours a night makes her worse. Removing seeds makes her worse. Increasing pellets, removing seeds and increasing chop makes her worse. Changing her cage around makes her worse. Having her out of the cage more makes her worse. Spending more time with her hasn't helped, training her more hasn't helped. In the last few weeks I removed seeds entirely, gave her the minimum recommended amount of pellets and unlimited chop, covered her for 13-14hrs a night, changed her cage around twice, got her new toys, trained her every day, had her out in the aviary both weekend days for 8 hours each time and she's worse than she's ever been. She's louder than she's ever been, more aggressive than she's ever been and I don't know what else to do. She seven years old. She's not going through puberty and she shouldn't be this bad when I'm doing everything right.

The only thing I can think of doing that I haven't yet is removing the pellets. She isn't a fussy eater so I'm not worried about her not eating the right foods for her nutrition. She goes outside a lot and I just got an avian lamp so I'm not worried about vitamin D. I can give her unlimited chop and she loves fresh vegetables and fruits so that's not a problem. I can give her seeds in her foraging toys so she works for them which she loves doing, and I can limit the amount she gets as well. I also have loads of pellets left so I'm going to give them to her a couple of times a week so she'll still be getting some pellets.

Do you think this would finally calm her down and enable her to enjoy her life again? It's been three years of her screaming all day everyday and I don't know if I can do it for much longer, let alone the rest of her life.
Sorry you’re having difficulties with your bird. You may have already tried this, but it’s worth mentioning. Have you tried moving the cage to a different area? Too hot/cold? Draft? Feeling unsafe? Not private enough? Too far away from family? Water feeder working? Mineral block? Enough perches? Varying size? Birds have lived decades on seed and grain diets, so I’m not necessarily sold on pellets. It’s important to throw out pellets if they’re expired or have been open too long. The oil will go rancid. Many pellets are made with unhealthy ingredients like corn or soy, not something that should be a primary diet. Trust your instincts on the food. No need to feel guilty, you know your bird best.
 
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Greenhouseparrots

Greenhouseparrots

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Nov 27, 2022
337
466
UK
Parrots
Crimson bellied conure- Tequila
Greencheek conure- Sierra
Pearled cockatiel- Malibu
Cockatiel- Volkan
Yellow budgies- Pina Colada and Houdini
Blue budgie- Lightning
White and blue budgie- Ciroc
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Sorry you’re having difficulties with your bird. You may have already tried this, but it’s worth mentioning. Have you tried moving the cage to a different area? Too hot/cold? Draft? Feeling unsafe? Not private enough? Too far away from family? Water feeder working? Mineral block? Enough perches? Varying size? Birds have lived decades on seed and grain diets, so I’m not necessarily sold on pellets. It’s important to throw out pellets if they’re expired or have been open too long. The oil will go rancid. Many pellets are made with unhealthy ingredients like corn or soy, not something that should be a primary diet. Trust your instincts on the food. No need to feel guilty, you know your bird best.
She's had three different cages since I got her and each one has been a bit bigger than the last. They've also been in various places but she's still screaming all the time. I'm hoping she settles soon on a no pellet diet. She's got so many toys and stuff to do that I'm sure it's not a lack of stimulation.

I've had some progress so far this week but it's hard to say it's that or if it's just me wanting it to be that and noticing her when she's quiet more. I gave her some pellets today and she didn't eat much of them until tonight when she was hungry. In fact none of my birds ate their pellets which is strange because usually they would eat them without any problems and it's a fresh pack too. I'm going to stick with no pellets and see how she goes.
 

theparrotcafe

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Apr 16, 2022
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I've had my 7 year old conure for 3 years and apart from the first couple of months of having her, I've always given her pellets in varying quantities. She gets harrisons and pretty bird natural gold. Apart from those first few months of having her, she's always been extremely hormonal and I've tried everything to help her. She isn't happy at all, she screams about 50% of her waking life at nothing. I give her everything she wants or needs and she's still unhappy and screaming half the time. She tries to attack me, will lunge at me even when I'm feeding her, and in general doesn't seem like she's happy at all. I know conures scream. I know they're loud. How she's being is not normal though and I have tried everything except removing the pellets.

I've done all of the standard advice and the more I do, the worse she gets. Covering her for 12+ hours a night makes her worse. Removing seeds makes her worse. Increasing pellets, removing seeds and increasing chop makes her worse. Changing her cage around makes her worse. Having her out of the cage more makes her worse. Spending more time with her hasn't helped, training her more hasn't helped. In the last few weeks I removed seeds entirely, gave her the minimum recommended amount of pellets and unlimited chop, covered her for 13-14hrs a night, changed her cage around twice, got her new toys, trained her every day, had her out in the aviary both weekend days for 8 hours each time and she's worse than she's ever been. She's louder than she's ever been, more aggressive than she's ever been and I don't know what else to do. She seven years old. She's not going through puberty and she shouldn't be this bad when I'm doing everything right.

The only thing I can think of doing that I haven't yet is removing the pellets. She isn't a fussy eater so I'm not worried about her not eating the right foods for her nutrition. She goes outside a lot and I just got an avian lamp so I'm not worried about vitamin D. I can give her unlimited chop and she loves fresh vegetables and fruits so that's not a problem. I can give her seeds in her foraging toys so she works for them which she loves doing, and I can limit the amount she gets as well. I also have loads of pellets left so I'm going to give them to her a couple of times a week so she'll still be getting some pellets.

Do you think this would finally calm her down and enable her to enjoy her life again? It's been three years of her screaming all day everyday and I don't know if I can do it for much longer, let alone the rest of her life.
I think the problem may be the pellets. I just looked up the ingredients for the natural gold pellets and the first ingredient is corn, and then soy . corn is a high high energy food and soy can increase hormones.
 
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Greenhouseparrots

Greenhouseparrots

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2022
337
466
UK
Parrots
Crimson bellied conure- Tequila
Greencheek conure- Sierra
Pearled cockatiel- Malibu
Cockatiel- Volkan
Yellow budgies- Pina Colada and Houdini
Blue budgie- Lightning
White and blue budgie- Ciroc
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I think the problem may be the pellets. I just looked up the ingredients for the natural gold pellets and the first ingredient is corn, and then soy . corn is a high high energy food and soy can increase hormones.
I'm suspecting that she's sensitive to soy and corn, but unfortunately those are in most pellets.
 
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Greenhouseparrots

Greenhouseparrots

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2022
337
466
UK
Parrots
Crimson bellied conure- Tequila
Greencheek conure- Sierra
Pearled cockatiel- Malibu
Cockatiel- Volkan
Yellow budgies- Pina Colada and Houdini
Blue budgie- Lightning
White and blue budgie- Ciroc
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Thought I'd write a little update since it's been almost two weeks since the diet change.

The good news is that Tequilas screaming has reduced significantly!! In the three years I've had her she has never been this quiet, and she's actually been playing with toys which she hasn't really done before!! She generally seems a lot calmer and happier, however I now have a slightly different problem.

Both of my conures are now acting really hormonal and one of the laid an egg the other day. I've been woken up at night a couple of times to the sound of them mating and they've been doing the fluffed up dance at me in their cages. They've also been seeking out holes to nest in when out of the cage, and trying to nest on the fake grass I have on the floor of their cage. They use it for foraging so I'm reluctant to remove it, and it's also encouraging them to play with their babble ball that they've had for six months and shown no interest in until now as I moved it to rest on the grass and since they like the grass they've been playing with it a lot. Tequila hasn't attacked me in the last two weeks even though she was trying to before and she's arguably more hormonal now since they're laying eggs and never have before.

I'm confused as their behaviour in the sense of screaming and attacking me has significantly reduced. They still recall and do training with me and don't bite or anything, and haven't been screaming much in the last two weeks so it's been really nice and peaceful, but they're laying eggs and trying to have a nest so technically they're more hormonal than before? They seem happier and more content though so I'm really confused!
 

Pipsqueek

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Mar 25, 2024
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Despite the mainstream pushing pellet diets my avian vet and bird shop owner recommend seed/grain diets. They are granivores after all so with holding grain from them is cruel just like with holding meat from a carnivore is cruel.

Pellets are basically just processed seed with other crap in it. It's fake food. I put some in my mix but my birds rarely touch it, they go for the real seed, it's what their beaks and digestive systems are designed to do.

Balance is what everyone agrees on. So why don't you just offer them a mix of seed and pellets and let them eat what they like, instead of forcing processed foods on them and with holding real food from them. That's what I do anyway, they always have seed and pellets on offer and my birds are happy 😊

But before this "seeds are bad" opinion became popular, people had birds for hundreds of years and they were just fine without pellets, healthy birds that lived many years like the many budgies that iv had. My Godmother had a cocky live over 60 years without pellets same as the local bird shop owner
I agree. My grandparents, then parents, then brother all had parakeets/cockatiels growing up. They didn't have pellet foods back then and they ate just bags of bird seed and all the birds were healthy, happy and fine. Never once went to the vets. Their food consumption/nutrition is only seeds/grain in the wild and in large outdoor aviaries, they don't invade people's gardens, they don't eat chemical/processed food when they're too lazy to forage, so why wouldn't you give them what they're Natural born habitat gives them to survive. I don't understand why vets say that their natural food selection is considered to be like eating junk food, that doesn't make sense? I can't help but think that the pellet pushing industry is much like the junk dog food industry....
I'm also coming to realize that my budgie is just as moody as I am, sullen and sleepy when the weather is lousy and happy and playful when the sun is coming in. Some days constantly foraging and some days just wants to rest. Seems like she's just like me and my dog when it comes to the behavior changes so I'm not expecting her to be the same every day, all the time as she grows.
 

Pipsqueek

New member
Mar 25, 2024
17
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1
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Massachusetts -USA
Thought I'd write a little update since it's been almost two weeks since the diet change.

The good news is that Tequilas screaming has reduced significantly!! In the three years I've had her she has never been this quiet, and she's actually been playing with toys which she hasn't really done before!! She generally seems a lot calmer and happier, however I now have a slightly different problem.

Both of my conures are now acting really hormonal and one of the laid an egg the other day. I've been woken up at night a couple of times to the sound of them mating and they've been doing the fluffed up dance at me in their cages. They've also been seeking out holes to nest in when out of the cage, and trying to nest on the fake grass I have on the floor of their cage. They use it for foraging so I'm reluctant to remove it, and it's also encouraging them to play with their babble ball that they've had for six months and shown no interest in until now as I moved it to rest on the grass and since they like the grass they've been playing with it a lot. Tequila hasn't attacked me in the last two weeks even though she was trying to before and she's arguably more hormonal now since they're laying eggs and never have before.

I'm confused as their behaviour in the sense of screaming and attacking me has significantly reduced. They still recall and do training with me and don't bite or anything, and haven't been screaming much in the last two weeks so it's been really nice and peaceful, but they're laying eggs and trying to have a nest so technically they're more hormonal than before? They seem happier and more content though so I'm really confused!
I read that a diet too high in protein may cause budgies to have hormonal arousal and want to breed
 

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