Why and How to Switch Your Bird from Seeds to Pellets


For most types of pet birds, especially parrots, an all-seed diet is unbalanced and harmful. They will frequently select what they want and refuse to eat the remainder. Diets that have been specially developed for individual animals are becoming more widely available. Most pet birds' diets should include this as part (but not all) of their food.

Because these diets come in a variety of formats, including pellets, crumbles, nuggets, and more, the phrase "formulated diets" is more appropriate than "pellets." Although many birds are hesitant to move to pellets, with patience and effort, virtually any bird will ultimately accept a tailored diet. Some or all of the following tactics may be utilized throughout the transition to pellets, which might take a few weeks or months.

Health and Safety

Most importantly, never try to force your bird to consume pellets; this can be hazardous and distressing for your bird. If at all feasible, keep track of your during the conversion phase to ensure that no weight loss occurs. A ill bird should not be converted. Only attempt this if your bird is in good health. Keep a close eye on the amount of droppings and the bird's weight. Back off on the new meals and feed more of the old diet if the quantity of droppings is decreasing and the drops by more than 10% in a week.

Easing the Transition

If you're rearing a baby bird, begin feeding it pellets right away. Younger birds are more open to trying novel meals than elderly birds that may be "fixed in their ways." If your bird isn't used to a wide selection of diets, start with some new veggies and other foods before moving on to pellets. Introducing new flavors and sensations to your bird may aid with the transition to a tailored diet. Other new items can be introduced with pellets, but don't overload a bird with too many new things at once.


  • Experiment with different kinds of pellets. Some birds have strong preferences for different shapes or sizes of pellets, textures, or flavors. See if your pet store offers small samples of different pellets.
  • Try to choose a pellet with few or no artificial colors or flavors.
  • Finely grind some of the pellets and sprinkle over your bird's normal seeds or a to try to get the bird to taste the pellets.
  • Try moistening the pellets, perhaps with warm water. Remove any moistened pellets after a couple of hours due to the risk of spoilage.
  • Try hand-feeding the pellets so your bird thinks they are a treat.
  • Let your bird see you eat some of the new food. They might be more tempted thinking it's a human treat.
  • There might be a (color, texture) when you feed pellets.

Determining How Much Food

Calculate how much food your bird consumes over the course of a day (amount given minus the amount left at the end of 24 hours). To calculate the average daily consumption, add together the quantities consumed per day for seven days and divide by seven. The total number of seeds and pellets to feed each day is determined by this daily average. During the transition, gradually lower the amount of seed provided and replace it with pellets to make up for the average daily consumption.

Schedule for the Transition

Ideally, your bird will readily accept the new pellets and you could make the switch quickly using a schedule such as this:

  • Week one: Feed 75 percent of the calculated daily intake in seeds and substitute pellets for the other 25 percent.
  • Week two: Feed 50 percent of the daily intake as seeds and 50 percent as pellets.
  • Week three: Feed 25 percent of the daily intake as seeds and 75 percent as pellets.
  • Week four: Reduce the seed component even more for larger parrots.

The transition may need to be much more gradual for pickier birds. If your bird isn't used to eating pellets, you might want to try the following:

  • Offer a dish with pellets first thing in the morning.
  • A couple of hours later, offer the seed mix, but substitute a formulated diet for only 10 percent of the seeds. Mix the pellets with the seed so your bird has to work around the pellets to get to the seed. You may want to grind some of the pellets and sprinkle them over the seed so the bird can get accustomed to the taste of the formulated diet.
  • Once your bird has at least tried the pellets, start to decrease the seed and increase the pellets in small increments until you get to the desired amount.
  • If your bird is still reluctant, you can offer the seed mix for only an hour or two a couple of times a day, with a dish of the pellets available all the time.
  • Be patient. For stubborn birds, the gradual shift may take months rather than weeks.
  • If your bird is in the stubborn category, keep a close eye on its weight (invest in a small gram scale and weigh regularly).

Success Is Possible

You've succeeded with smaller like and if you can get them to eat just 25% seeds (25 percent seed, 50 percent pellets, and 25% fresh meals). Continue to reduce the seeds a little further for larger parrots, until the diet is only around 10% seeds overall (with approximately 50–60% pellets and the balance made up of fresh meals and rewards).

It can be tough, demoralizing, and time-consuming to make the changeover (not to mention the wasted pellets until your bird accepts them). Just keep in mind that your efforts will be rewarded with a healthy bird eating a well-balanced and nutritious meal.