Sunflower seeds: how bad?

Posted By: LoriK

Sunflower seeds: how bad? - 12/16/14 03:13 PM

I have read up on diet/nutrition on here and discussed with the vet. I am switching my recently adopted U2 off a cheap seed mix only diet. He immediately took to nutriberries (I know this is not ideal! but I hide them so he has to forage for them. This is the only thing at this time he will actively search out, and work to get them out to eat) but I am also intermittently getting him to eat pellets. We are slowly decreasing the seed mix/blend diet and adding other things in- like fresh cooked foods. I have Bird Street Bistro sample pack and he will eat some of this. I started clicker training last night and had a variety of small foods/treats. the easiest thing, and the thing he would take all the time- was sunflower seeds. He doesn't even hold them in his foot first- he just takes them right from my hand and pops them open with his beak to eat. EVERY other food (dried banana chips, dried fruits, etc) he would hold in his foot to eat. If I gave him too small of a piece that he couldn't hold- he would refuse to eat it.
Clicker training goes better if you can get a few repetitions in. I typically aim for 10 reps of a behavior per session for a clicker newbie and do 2 sessions in the evening with a short break. This means he got 20 sunflower seeds last night. I removed all the peanuts and sunflower seeds from his seed blend- so these would be the only sunflower seeds he would get. Is this still too much, and does anyone have other suggestions for treats for training? Any classical conditioning/desensitization can be done with larger foods.
Posted By: Elliott

Re: Sunflower seeds: how bad? - 12/17/14 12:44 AM

From my understanding about sunflower seeds is thus. They are not bad if they only get a few in their diet. Sunflower seeds are high in fat, as all seeds are, but they are usually so many in a mix that they go for them first as they are easy to open and get the meat out. Safflower seeds are just as high in fat but it takes so many to equal that of sunflower seeds. Plus side of safflower seeds is they have to put a lot of effort into getting to the meat.

IMHO, 20 seeds is ok. I think you can get broken sunflower seed at the grocery store. You may want to try some fresh food as a reward.

All of my feathered overlords get some seed and nuts daily. Their weights are stable. Over all they only get about 10% of their daily feed in seed and nuts.
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