Need some diet advice, please!

Posted By: BigWill1985

Need some diet advice, please! - 11/23/15 05:26 AM

I just adoped a Sulfer Crested Cockatoo, after an old man a friend of mine knew passed away. Nobody had ANY experience with large birds aside from me, and the caretaker of the property put her up on Craigslist. Luckily, she never sold so she has been given to me. I am not an Avian Expert, but I have cared for a U2 for around a year while she waited for a forever home.

Anyway, this bird (named Angel) was cared for by a gentleman and a lady who had absolutely no experience with birds. She has only eaten a diet of seeds for the last 14 years. She did get treats, but that pretty much consisted of whatever the man ate for dinner (I was told that she loved cheese and cooked chicken).

I just picked her up today, and got a massive collection of different kinds of bird seeds. I am wanting to transition her to a diet of pellets with fresh fruits and veggies. The caretaker of the property said she hates pellets and anything dehydrated.

How do you recommend I shift her away from seed to pellets?

Also, she has drank from a water bottle (like one for a hamster). The caretaker said she had to do that since Angel would make a bird soup out of her water bowl. Is that ok for a cockatoo?

She has an amazing temperament. She is very friendly, and even wanted to check out one of our dogs (a small female Japanese Chin). She hasn't even given any signs of hostility or the intention to bite, even though she's in a new home that I'm sure she's afraid of. Believe it or not, she hadn't been out of her cage in over 2 years when I took her out last week (my first time meeting her). She handled VERY well. Gave plenty of kisses, talked to me, and played games with me. She has done so amazingly well considering she has never been well cared for.

I am also setting up an appointment with a very popular Avian Veteranarian (they only help birds). I know I need to get her blood labs taken, since the caretaker said she has not been to a vet in her 14 year life.

Ugh, why do people like this get birds! Such a frustrating life for this poor, good natured bird.

Thank you so much for your help!!

~Will Courtier~
Posted By: Elliott

Re: Need some diet advice, please! - 11/23/15 11:45 AM

Thank you for helping Angel.

Converting from a seed diet to a more varied diet will take some time, but its not impossible. I will be frustrating but persistence pays off in the end.

If Angel is eating human foods, give her her own dish at the dinner table. Offer all the healthy foods on the plate. Cockatoos are flock eaters. If she sees you eating the good stuff, then she may try them too.

My Toos prefer to eat warm foods. Cut up veggies into bite size pieces. Feed fruits but limit citrus fruits. I cut up everything and put into a bowl of very warm water. Drain the water and shake as much water off. You try a piece of the new food. Make all kinds of yummy sounds while eating it. But, be stingy and don't share with Angel. She will see you eating it and realize that it is okay and maybe she will try some.

From your end, don't worry if she doesn't like something. She will come around. It may take only a couple of tries or it may take longer.

Converting from seed to pellets is a simple process, but sometimes it takes longer than the package says. I think they need some seed in their diet. The way I feed is in the mornings they gets 50% pellets and 50% fresh veggies and fruit. In the evening they get 25% seed mix, 25% nuts in the shells, 50% people food. I throw in a couple of peanuts.

wishing you and Angel the best.
Posted By: RB2sMom

Re: Need some diet advice, please! - 11/23/15 03:11 PM

We feed our RB2s a mixture of pellets and seeds. They get Zupreem fruit flavored pellets and ABBA seeds. ABBA seeds are the only ones recommended by our avian vet as this is not just seeds but a mixture of other things like fruits and veggies and proteins.

Don't worry, they will not start singing in Swedish.

Here is the ABBA link (we get their seeds at a store that sells avian and aquarium products).

Large hookbill seed for you

Ingredients: Safflower Seed, Cracked Corn, Oat Groats, Shelled Peanuts, Buckwheat, Millet Seed, Heat Processed Corn, Grain, Sorghum, Non-Viable Hemp Seed, Pumpkin Seed, Peppers, Ground Mollusk Shell, Kibbled Biscuit Made With Meals; Wheat, Corn, Oat, Rice, Barley, Soy Bean, Buckwheat, Bean; Ground: Peas, Egg Shell, Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Filberts, Pecans, Walnuts, Almonds, Shelled Pumpkin Seed; Water, Shredded Coconut, Whole Eggs, Bone Meal, Precooked: Fresh Meat, Fresh Poultry Meat, Fresh Fish; Fresh and Dehydrated: Carrots, Dandelion, Chicory, Kale, Grapes, Bananas, Apples, Oranges, Pears, Apricots, Milk; Honey, Corn Syrup Solid, Casein, Salt, Brewers Yeast, Yellow Beta Carotene, Cod Liver Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Dextrose, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Choline Bitartrate, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Pyriodoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamin Hydrochloride, d-Biotin, Ascorbic Acid, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Ethylene Diamine Dihydrioded, Cobalt Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Calcium Carbonate, and Calcium Propionate Added To Preserve Freshness, Artificial and Natural Color and Flavor.

Posted By: BigWill1985

Re: Need some diet advice, please! - 11/24/15 05:18 PM

I have slowly begun working with her. She is still pretty anxious, as she has never been around children (and I have a 3 year old son). She's been trying to play with him, and he doesn't realize it. Then he (my son) gets scared, which scares Angel. I'm slowly working through that.

I have also started working with her to see if she likes fresh berries or not. She seems quite interested in them, but won't eat. She picks them up in her beak, tastes them, and drops them. But, she seems interested. I munched on some Blackberries and Blueberries yesterday evening which really interested her. Then I noticed that she was getting a little bit overstimulated so I returned her to her cage. Just starting slow so that I can earn her trust. I brought her inside the bathroom while I showered thise fl morning and she seemed extremely happy to be around me. She just walked around the floor and whistled at me every now and again.

I also ordered in a few bags of Oven Fresh food mix which is mostly dried fruits. Want to see if she will enjoy that. It's extremely colorful and is all natural. I also bought a few different toys for her cage, since she doesn't have much there to play with.

I think she's adjusting quite well!

~Will Courtier~
Posted By: Dmr1414

Re: Need some diet advice, please! - 11/26/15 06:46 PM

When I got my U2 she was on Kaytee Exact, seed mix, and I was given a list of food she would not eat. Now it's been 17 years later, and she has been on Zupreem fruity, eats mostly everything I do. Veggies are still somewhat a challenge, she likes fruits better, and she will eat bits of chicken or meat if it's baked and not seasoned with anything. If she sees me eat it, she wants to try it.
I found a foraging toy in Petsmart that she really loves. I keep that filled with smaller pellets or if I can find a treat mix that has dried fruits and things, she really like that.
Posted By: Birdfriend

Re: Need some diet advice, please! - 11/29/15 03:38 AM

This is my favorite thread about water bottles:

Another good one is:

I can only get this one to work if I copy and paste the link, then scroll to the top to read the whole thread.

The first thread also addresses my views about birdie soup (No big deal unless it is "poop-soup"). This shows why a great way to get birds to eat pellets is to moisten them with warm water or juice. Another way to spark interest in pellets is to eat (or pretend to eat) the pellets yourself and only "grudgingly" share them with your bird.

As you can see, the search function can do amazing things! I just wish I could get the distracting highlights to go away w/o much work on my part!

Do you know which species of Sulfur Crested you have? The temperament sounds like a Greater Sulfur Crested to me.
Posted By: oliscot

Re: Need some diet advice, please! - 03/06/16 10:03 PM

I myself have limited past experience with any birds (Im more of a reptile addict lol), and pretty much all of my bird knoweledge (which is limited) has come from reading the forums here and stealing good ideas offf those who have more experience lol. I did have a galah for a few years before he escaped). I found that that sprouted seeds were great way to to improve the diet (they are much more nutritious/;less fattening than plain old dry seed) and he went from only really eating the dry crap found in supermarkets to sprouted seeds without any dramas. Having spoken to someone who's had a lot of experience with parrots I learned that alot of parrots are the same. Getting him to eat things like brocolli and other veggies took a bit more effort/imagination. I found that chopping everything really fine and mixing it with plenty sprouted seed/pulses etc meant that it wasnt so easy for the little bugger to pick out all the yummy bits and throw rest of my lovingly constructed master piece all over the avisary floor lol.

One thing a wise long term member once said about changing diet is that it is best not to rush things to much. The bird willl have already gone through a lot of changes which will mean stress so take things slow. A few more weeks on a crapppy diet isnt going to kill them unless they are servierely malnourished.

Hope that helps smile
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