Blended Diets

Journey to Blended Foods

Often when we bring new birds into our homes, whether they are from a bird rescue facility, breeder, or pet store, they are not eating the most nutritious diets. They may be eating all seeds or blends of seeds with nuts, dried table foods, and few to no pellets. ZuPreem’s blended diets are different from other blends in that they are premium mixes including “smart” pellets that contain added vitamins and minerals, along with higher quality seeds and dried fruits and vegetables.  

Why feed blends? While pelleted diets are ideal in that they contain all the nutrients your bird needs to stay healthy and happy, ZuPreem’s blends are a great way to introduce birds to the taste and texture of pellets while still allowing them to enjoy some of the foods they enjoy. ZuPreem’s blends keep pelleted nutrition in the food cup and variety in birds’ diets as they transition to pelleted diets. While ZuPreem’s blends provide a great pathway to pellets, they can also be offered to birds already eating pellets. When fed as a complement to a pelleted diet, ZuPreem’s Blends keep birds entertained, as they forage for food items they like best. Blends are great rewards, too, for birds who are training to learn new skills or tricks.

How Blends can Be Great for Birds Mentally and Physically

Wild birds forage all day long. They forage for food, nest sites, and mates. They have jobs. They keep busy. Pet birds don’t have these opportunities. Bird owners offer food to their pets in a cup, provide safe housing with cages, and often become their birds’ “mates” even though they aren’t truly mating with their birds. So, pet birds don’t have the same opportunity for foraging, entertainment, and psychological stimulation that their wild counterparts do. They spend a great deal of time alone, in cages, with minimal mental stimulation and few chances for physical activity. This often leads to their developing negative behaviors, including feather picking, screaming, and environmentally destructive actions (such as chewing up furniture or walls).  

ZuPreem’s blended diets provide pet owners with a great way to decrease these negative behaviors, provide psychological stimulation, and increase foraging opportunities for their birds by allowing birds to seek for their favorite foods in their food cups while keeping nutrition, in the form of “smart” pellets with added vitamins and minerals, in those cups. ZuPreem’s blends also can be offered to pet birds outside their cages, spread out in different locations in a bird-safe room, to encourage birds to engage in physical activity by walking or flying over to eat their favorite foods. In addition, blended diets can be used to reward birds for learning a new behavior or trick or simply as a means of encouraging bonding with owners.

How to Best Feed Blends and Pellets at the Same Time

While ZuPreem’s blended diets are a great way to transition birds on nutrient-deficient diets (such as all-seeds or poor-quality seed blends) to nutritious pelleted diets, they can also be fed successfully to birds already eating pellets to provide them with more food variety and foraging opportunities. The key is to offer blends the right way. They must always be offered in a separate cup from pellets and should be offered later in the day, after pellets have been fed, so that hungry birds in the morning consume nutritious pellets first. The idea is akin to our allowing ourselves to have dessert once we’ve eaten a healthy, balanced meal. Blends also can be offered as rewards to pellet-eaters during training sessions to learn new skills or tricks. The goal is to ensure blends are fed as a complement to a pellet-based diet, and not as their main diet.

Written by Dr. Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)

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