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How do you put the “social” in bird food?
20450634 - blue macaws sitting on log with black background

How do you put the “social” in bird food?

We talked about birds being the godfeathers of social media. Birds are flock animals. Your bird was born expecting to be in a flock. When the bird comes in your home you become its flock.

We have interactions with caged bird keepers from around the planet every day. “He won’t eat that” “I’ve tried that” “I just can’t get him off of his sunflower seed diet” (yes we actually hear that a lot – sigh)


Wild Cockatiels in nature

And so we’ll talk about food in a minute because you can’t talk about feeding your bird without talking about the social interactions your bird is seeking at feeding time.

We are not talking about finches or budgies in this discussion. Popcorn always got her own dish served on the landing door of her cage. It came with the plates we humans were going to eat from.

Inevitably she would fly over and start nibbling on the food at the edges of our plates even though her dish was filled with the identical food. We would mindlessly shoo her off our dining room table and she would fly back. This life with a bird.

Popcorn was also a foodie. She would eat anything. Just about every bird food we offered her, although she got selective about some of the sizes of the seeds in a mix she was food agnostic for the most part.


Parrots in India

We had a Ripped Bag of Harrison’s lifetime fine granules – we put them in a little forging toy and she went right through them. We’ve posted countless videos of her sharing my lunch.

Popcorn the cockatiel hamming it up

The tail I’m trying to weave here for you is that for birds, unless they get a little hungry in the middle of the night, food is a social event. Social means flock activity, you are there flock thus buying the most expensive bird food available on the Internet then giddly filling up the a
feeding dish in the cage, you find yourself disappointed in the next morning when the new bird food clearly had not been touched.

How many of you that have bigger birds that are struggling to get them to eat new and more healthful foods are not including them in your mealtimes?


HUGE SWARM of BUDGIES in Australia

You don’t have to have the bird jumping across your dinner table that is annoying. But keeping a small cage or
stand in a dining area signals to the bird that we all eat together. Your bird can be rewarded positively with millet and a few sunflower seeds for behaving itself – staying on its plate stand.

If you are letting your bird out of its cage when you get home from work, changing its food and water before birdie bedtime and when you get up in the morning repeating the process while the bird remains isolated from family activities may be the reason your bird is reluctant to try new food – human or commercially available bird food.

We also want to look at how are birds eat. Do we know how they eat. You watch this. Do you try to understand your birds behavior? Do you offer
larger pieces of bird food to larger birds like African grays and blue and gold macaws who like to eat with their feet?

Does your bird like to dunk its food but it drives you crazy because the water gets dirty so fast and you’re not there to change it. You could add a Lixit water bottle but a hidden gem of ours in the food category is a line of pellets for my brand named Scenic.


A flock of cockatoos in our yard


Here is some of the 411 on Scenic bird food pellets

Scenic™ Bird Food is a complete formulated diet for exotic hookbill and softbill birds such as macaws, cockatoos, parrots, lories, budgies, mynahs, toucans, and finches. Scenic Bird Food has improved the feeding protocols, nutrition, health, and reproduction of rare and endangered birds maintained in captivity throughout the world, including the Black Palm Cockatoo (San Diego Zoo) and Buffon’s Macaw (Not to be confused with the military macaw).

Available in a variety of shapes, flavors, and sizes, Scenic Bird Food can be fed to a myriad of different bird species at all stages of life.
Read more here

What they don’t say on their site anywhere, although we talk about it on ours is that the pellets don’t break down when they get wet making them ideal for food dunker’s.


Flock of Eclectus Parrots in Numfor

Are you making food fun? Are you hiding food in discoverable places. Do you ever try to take food that your bird won’t eat and pretend that you eat it because birds always want would you want – right?

What about that human food thing? I made it clear that chops can be fun but there a lot of work in wasteful. Even a small chop mix can way is much or more than a sun conure.

We also need to keep things in perspective. If your bird is on a nutritious commercial bird food diet – the amount of human food that actually going to ingest is minimal. Thus Catherine and I eat fairly healthy Sundays a big bowl of French fries or onion rings might show up for lunch.


Wild african grey parrot flock

Popcorn always liked crispy things – she liked toast, she did not like bread. We never felt

a French fry with a breading from an onion ring would really harm her nutritionally. When we traveled her cage was right between and behind us.

We could be eating sh*t & shineola on toast and she would not shut up until we figured out how to make whatever it was stick between the bars of her travel cage – so we could enjoy some silence. 

food for your bird should be thought of as nutritional – social – mental(ly stimulating)


written by mitch rezman

approved by catherine tobsing

approved by nora caterino


your zygodactyl footnote

It’s rare I suggest a bird blog because there are

so few that meet our standards. I’m pleased to introduce

Kathy LaFollett who writes the blog.


Umbrella Cockatoos perched Her latest post resonated with me as it’s about flock eating and is named Food and Project Management


Mitch Rezman

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they visited monthly birdie brunches in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground.Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care.He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis.He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

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