My New Year Resolution: Goodbye Pellets!!

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Jun 23, 2021
New York City
Sun Conure and Umbrella Cockatoo
Tops, Harrisons, Roudybush, they're all great!
Pellets, while useful as a base diet, is not as necessary as a parrot's need for whole foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Although it is the common parrot care standard to feed our parrots their pellets as the foundation of their diet, there are some disadvantages to most pellet brands and I want to discuss some of those with you. This all gets rooted down to ingredients, what are manufacturers actually putting in these bags?
Firstly, the ingredient labels on parrot food bags are structured in a specific way, where the main ingredients incorporated into the food are written at the very top. They are represented by the first couple of ingredients. And with that, many parrot food brands actually put corn, wheat, and soy as the three main ingredients on their labels, which are not going to harm your bird, but rather does not provide vital nutritional value to your bird's diet overall. They are actually there to act as fillers in the food, similar to what companies do to dog and cat foods currently on the market. Basically, the food is majority filler, and less nutrient dense.
Secondly, you must consider the way in which the pellets were made apart from ingredients. These pellets can either be hot processed or cold pressed, which I suggest you look into more! When pellets are hot processed, this takes away vital nutrients that once was embedded into the food, which makes the pellets useless to consume at that point, offering little to no nutritional value. Not only this, but hot processed pellets also can cause inflamed and irritated skin in birds which ultimately leads to feather plucking. Cold pressed pellets actually help to alleviate this specific issue or prevent it altogether.
Having a varied diet for birds is critical in their care and for them to be the healthiest versions of themselves. However, while it is ideal to imitate the diet of their wild brethren, this cannot fully be the case. Wild parrots obtain mostly seeds and nuts while captive birds must be limited on their seeds and nuts and have more vegetables and whole foods. This is because wild parrots fly many many miles in search of these foods, so the fat and calories stored in these high fatty foods are already getting burned off through unlimited flight. Captive birds do not have the space for this kind of exercise most of the time, so seed and fat enriched foods are kept at a minimal while fresh fruits and veggies are served daily in larger amounts.
However, if I still wanted to feed my birds pellets, I would be wary of Zupreem Fruitblend and definitely feed my birds TOPs. Zupreem Fruitblend would not be my go-to since it contains those unwanted fillers, has excess sugar as well as unnecessary additives and preservatives, and their unnatural dyes can be harmful to birds. TOPs however contains limited fillers and is the only pellet brand (that I know of) that is cold pressed.
Below I've attached 2 videos of some great parrot owners that discuss their birds' diets and general avian nutrition concerning the problems with pellets in much greater detail. The first video is Mikey the Macaw who is pretty well known and he talks about the diet change of his two macaws, Mikey and Mia. The second video is the Happy Tails channel that discusses the same topic but instead focuses on reviewing ingredients in popular parrot food brands.
Additional Note: Through this post, I am definitely not telling or discouraging anyone to not feed their birds pellets anymore or that it is wrong to do so. Instead, just giving my personal take on the pellet debate and what I would like to do for my birds moving forward. :)
Enjoy your evenings! :giggle:



Well-known member
Aug 2, 2018
Full house
I hate soy, its cheap weed, grew up next to soybeans fields nothing ate them, no burd, no deer No bunny ..
Its one of the top ingredients in most pellets, and now I find it in so many humans foods in places you would never expect ....ugh
Edit: i do feed pellets and rotate through the brands, feed lots if fresh stuff and seed mixes as well) my parrots current favorite oven baked bites, decent ingredients list
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Well-known member
2x Parrot of the Month 🏆
May 2, 2021
Vermont, USA
Stormy(M): blue Australian budgie
Picasso(F): green Australian budgie
Apollo(F): sky blue dominant pied Australian budgie
Ria, this is a very good post! I think you are right, birds don't really need pellets if they have good chop, however, some people don't have enough veggies for chop or their birds don't like it, so they go to pellets for the extra nutrition they provide.

I give my birds vitamin drops in their water to supplement anything I could have left out of their chop, so that's another option (as long as you don't get Oasis vitamin drops, they have killed birds).

Overall, great informative post!


Supporting Member
Jul 10, 2015
Western, Michigan
DYH Amazon
Disclaimer: Understanding that this is a Hot Button Topic and therefor easy to swing into a battle, I will hold back a bit! Also, I write from a view point of an individual that is owned by an Amazon and from their diet requirements.

Diet for Companion Parrots is a area filled with 100+ years of disagreements from the Educational Centers, to Avian Associations, to the deep pockets of Major Corporations down to Specialty Stores and self-proclaimed Internet experts. The Waters of this subject are muddy with opinions.

I have long stood with our CAV's position that the very best diet base for an Amazon is that which is commonly found in their Natural Range, which for Amazons vary vastly from Southern edges of North America, thru Central America, to the Southern edges of South America and also includes the Island Countries of the Gulf.

That all said, supplements are needed to some level. But never just because one wants to add them and only added after viewing a Blood Chemistry review!!

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