Diet and Nutrition Research on Amazon Parrots?
Royal Bird Company Avicultural Breeding Research Center
We had a few emails from some interested people that was asking us about more info on our diets, see below:
Royal Bird Avicultural Breeding Research original research final 2010-published april 2017: For 10 years here are RBC we done research on nutrition and impacts of nutrition on breeding and over all health on the long term through a range of amazons and subspecies, We have published some surprising and controversal findings when compared to other socalled experts of parrot nutrition statements. Over the research and study range we put into several species in the study, below is the species,10 pairs each if possible, all adults, all breeders,blue fronted amazon, aestiva and yellow wing, 10 pair yellow naped,parvipes and nominate, also included blue mutation,10 pair double yellow head, oratrix and magna and other subspecies,10 pair mealy amazon,farinosa and other subspecies,4 pair yellow shouldered, 10 pair red lored all nominate, 10 pair green cheek amazons, nominate species, 10 pair lilac crowned,all nominate, These in the study groups for 5 years were fed a diet and then after completion, the same groups were fed a different diet for another 5 years, this gives us a control calculation for future comparison and reference. Below is the findings: All birds were fed the same diet for 5 years, The daily diet consist of 75 % pellet or formulated granules, and the rest of the diet was equal fed amounts of sprouts,cookedpeas,beans,corn,rice,beets,diced fruits, vegetables, and no nuts or pea nuts. Also NO dry seed or dry grains given at all.The idea from supposed parrot and animal nutritionist has always been amazons and subspecies get fat when on a seed based diet and pellets should be fed as 75% of diet with supplement of fruits and veggies, NO supplement of any type used. This diet although some variations had to be used due to seasonal fruit and veggies was fed as sole diet throughout the breeding seasons and through the down seasons as well, the only difference being the pellets were hi pro during the breeding season, while the off season we used a lower protein pellet fed to cycle down the hormones due to lower proteins.
Blood panels were pulled every month during breeding seasons, calcium, proteins,kidney functions,liver functions all seemed in line. with most, the species of blue fronted, yellow shouldered seemed to have panels at not optimal levels and some being out of range, although within a safe range, still seemed odd, With several observations on these species, was the birds were thinner, seemed to eat voracisously as though hungry all the time while food was in front of them at all times. The bluefronted and yellow shouldered just seemed to be unsatisfied, breeding results were off as well from the results that the same birds had produced before the study began and the records showed a slow down and less fertility, dropped average 40% during the study compared to years before the study began. Now the yellow naped,double yellow,mealy,red lored,green cheeks and others seemed to thrive and birds that appeared slightly over weight before the study, now, their weight was great, fertility was average same as before the study, all blood panels seemed to be well within range and better except proteins levels spiked and leveled constantly. Now the next study of 5 years , same birds, but a changed diet went into play, pellets were fed at a lower percent, 35-40% pellets or formulated granules, again using hi pro during breeding seasons and off season, we actually weighed the pellets to get the corect amount to each pair of birds, now the over diet also changed, we incorporated much more spouted grains and added a higher fat seed to the sprouting mix such as sunflower,safflower, we also would take small dry sunflower, wash it and then let it soak over night and wash and then drain and then add water and bring to boil turn off and drain, mix this with same fruits, veggies, beets, corn, cooked beans, lentils, peas and all the same mixture as before.except we fed more of it and less pellets, the main change in what we fed was adding the sprouted and cooked sunflower and sprouted safflower, AND every late afternoon we gave another small amount of washed and then dried sunflower to each pair, about one ounce snack.
However at no
time did we ever feed any pea nuts at all.
Again blood chemistry panels were pulled each month, WOW, we could not believe the difference in the ranges, they were perfect, the over all feathers changed, the feathers seemed to tighten up, the blue fronts and yellow shouldered all seemed to gain weight to absolute optimal levels, the other species, napes, yellow heads, red lored, greencheeks and lilac crowns all showed no changes in weight, but were in perfect shape and seemed to fly more, always climbing and exploring, the over all activity was amazing, the blue fronted changed the most, they seemed most satisfied, and the fertility increased, we had pairs that only the year before the change, had a drop of 40%, now the same birds were at 90% fertility rates, one pair of blue fronted that had only produced 1 clutch each season before now had a series of 4 eggs each clutch and had 3 clutcheds the first year of the change of diets,.and the fertility was at amost 100%. Our findings showed that while many people refuse to feed seeds to birds due to the experts constantly blaming all the bad stuf on seeds, its just not true, infact the addition of their natural foods(seeds) being fed at the correct amounts and times showed a increase in over all health. Now to be clear, we never fed a seed parrot mixture out of a bag, we only fed a controlled amount of seeds, sunflower and saflower and we washed them, boiled and fed, we sprouted the seeds as well, so the problem with most fat birds and over all birds in bad health may be feeding too much or only seed diets as well the amount of cage space aslo can come into play for over weight birds, as birds are not supposed to sit in little cages in your living room their whole life eating seeds and pellets out of a bag you purchased at the pet store. Also our findings showed that certain species benefit more from the addition of higher amounts of sunflower like the blue fronts, In birds native lands they eat seeds, but in most cases they find seeds that have been swollen, or sprouted in most cases as in the rain forest it rains, therefore logic dictates that the seeds would not be dry, but swollen with life as the germ of the seed starts to germinate in a short time due to the temps being high.
Of course over the years we have
modified our diets accordingly and changed this or that as
we saw fit. I am one to not just take the findings of
one person or study and think thats the only way it can be,
I think there is still much to be learned. We here at RBc
are dedicated to the ongoing struggle to find and give our
birds the best possible life and foods they can receive, As
we must remember they did not ask to be here, So, it is my,
it is our, it is your responsibility to give them the best
they deserve, research finalized august 2010.
We own and operate one of the largest,selective and most successful breeding farms on the east coast USA. today.
We are professional responsible breeders and we continue to educate people how to properly maintain their birds