By Amber Paist
Lineolated Parakeets will eat constantly throughout the day so it is important to provide them with food “ad libitum” (at all times, without limit). Linnies often have a looser and larger stool than other parrots of a similar size, so do keep this in mind when checking for “healthy poops” or letting them sit on your favorite shirt. Linnie poops are especially watery after they have consumed a snack of fruits and/or vegetables.
As individuals, each linnie has his or her own food preferences when it comes to fruits, veggies, treats, and even their staple diet. Linnies that are not currently accustomed to a diet with fruits and vegetables may have some issues with accepting “new” and “unusual” fresh foods. Most linnies have a soft spot for apples and this is usually a good gateway food towards introducing him or her to other types of produce.
Staple Diet- Pellet and Seed Mixes
It has been debated heavily about what is the appropriate staple diet for the Lineolated Parakeet. Should they be fed primarily seed ? Primarily pellets? A bit of both? Most breeders have a favorite seed and/or pellet mix, comprised of a food regimen that seems to work for both them and their birds.
Staple Diet: “is a food that is eaten routinely and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of a standard diet.” In simpler terms, this part of the diet is something that your bird is probably going to eat with every meal and that which composes a significant portion of the total food intake.
Linnies can eat commercially-processed pellets (such as Zupreem, Higgins, Roudybush, or Harrisons, etc). Not all pellets are “equal”meaning that you might want to do some additional research into the pelleting process and the main ingredients (usually grains of some sort : corn, wheat, rice…).
My own birds have accepted Roudybush pellets as their preferred pellet type and I have easily introduced new birds to this food option. Roudybush pellets use ground corn, wheat, peanut meal and soy as base ingredients, and other vitamins, minerals, and natural apple flavoring is added. This is simply an example. You may wish to experiment with several different pellet types to see which your bird prefers and perhaps more importantly does NOT prefer.
You will want to make sure that you select an appropriately sized pellet for your bird. Usually a “parakeet” or “mini” size works best for linnies. There are many different pellet shapes and colors, which vary by manufacturer, and these are important considerations.
|Parrots in general may show personal preference over a certain pellet color in a multi-colored pelleted diet (i.e. They will pick out and eat only the RED pellets, leaving all the other colors untouched). You may wish to select a “natural” color diet which typically comes in a light brown. Pellet shape can vary from circular to gravely to cylindrical and may make a difference over how easily your bird is able to consume the pellet.
Linnies may also be offered seed as part of their staple diet. Several companies sell various seed mixes labeled as “parakeet seed” and these mixes usually contain seeds that are of appropriate size and nutritional composition for your linnie.
Some common ingredients that you may look for in a good seed mix may be white and/or red millet, canary grass seed, oat groats, flax seed, rape (canola) seed, nyger seed, and hemp.
Often seed mixes will include dried fruits and veggies. These additions to the seed mix will offer your linnie some variety and will encourage a taste for natural flavors.
|Some things that are added to seed mixes include:DRIED: Coconut, carrot, apple, papaya, blueberries, celery, beets, parsley, spinach flakes, dates, watercress, algae meal, etc.
My birds prefer seed mixes where the chunks of fruit/veggie are highly distinguishable from the rest of the mix. Some companies list tons of “healthy” fruit/veggie ingredients but then pulverize them beyond recognition. Linnies will often use their feet to hold these fruit/veggie chunks and this just makes eating more fun!
Mixes without sunflower seed and with low amounts of safflower seeds are recommended. Both of these seeds are high in fat and may cause your linnies to become overweight and cause more-severe health problems such as fatty liver syndrome.
PELLET AND SEED STORAGE
Pellets and seeds are, of course, best consumed in their freshest state. If stored improperly, or if your food supply is not used quickly enough, you may have problems with bugs and other pests, fungus, or spoilage. Many linnie owners find it cheaper to buy food in bulk for their flock, which can cause some of the aforementioned problems, unless the food is stored properly.
For regular storage, pellets and seeds should be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry, rodent-free area. They will also last longer if kept in the shade (if they must be stored outside). Both warmth and light will speed up the decay of nutrients. Bird food will usually stay fresh for 1-3 months if stored in this manner.
Excess supply of food can be stored long-term in the freezer. The seed/pellets can be put into a freezer-safe Ziploc-type bags or into an air-tight plastic/glass container. Some pellets can be frozen (without detriment) for up to two years!
|Make sure you pay attention to expiration dates on seeds and pellets.You will want to consult the manufacturer if you wish to store their food long-term, because each seed/pellet mix is different. The manufacturer will be able to provide you with specific information about long-term storage for their product.
Fresh Fruits,Veggies, and Cooked Foods
By Sharron Deason
Linnies enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables such as :
Apple, orange, figs, mango, papaya, blueberries, cranberries, finely chopped red cabbage, kale, mustard and collard greens, romaine, carrots, broccoli, snap peas, green beans, peppers, etc… Spinach and parsley have good nutrients also but limit these to a once a week treat. Sprouts are a wonderful source of protein and nutrients. Cooked foods can include good carbohydrate sources such as beans, rice, and barley and birdie breads.
Dangerous Fresh Foods
You should not feed any of the following to your Linnie:
Other Dietary Considerations…
By Amber Paist
- Limit sunflower and other fattening seeds. Treats such as millet can be offered in moderation.
- Seed and pellet mixes without artificial dyes are recommended. More appropriate would be pellets that are color with natural juices/dyes, or those that are a “natural” brown color.
- Remember that in addition to a good diet, your bird will also need plenty of FRESH WATER and SUNLIGHT!
- Make sure that you are not overdosing your birds on vitamins. Many pellets/seed mixes are considered nutritionally “complete” meaning that the bird food company has added vitamins and minerals to the food to make it meet your bird’s daily nutritional needs. You will probably not want to feed your bird an all-pellet or all-seed diet and instead, feed a percentage of each. The rest of the diet can be supplemented with a variety of fresh foods.
Complete Protein Veggie Fruit Mash (Ann Griffin)