Your Trusted Source for Pet News and Product Reviews
Your Trusted Source for Pet News and Product Reviews

Polly Want a Cracker? A Look at the Best Types of Bird Food

bird food

In the United States, over 5 million people own pet birds. How many bird owners are giving their pet bird food with poor nutritional value?

Most pet birds eat a base diet of seed mix or pellets. But many bird species also need fresh vegetables or fruits! We want to ensure your bird has a long and healthy life, which means feeding them the correct type of food!

There are many types of bird food on the market, and it can be tough to figure out which one is best for your pet. Read on to learn more about the best type of bird food for your pet!

Pet Food vs. Wild Food

The bird feed selection on the market differs from what the bird might eat in the wild. In the wild, birds may eat various seeds, grasses, insects, fruits, or even flowers. Bird food products on the market compensate for the bird's loss of variety by claiming to be a complete diet for your bird.

Many birds benefit from fresh fruit, veggies, or insects. A one-sided diet can eventually lead to disease and a shorter lifespan for your pet. So ensure you provide a balanced, varied diet appropriate to the bird's species.

Not All Bird Food Is Created Equal

As a general rule, your pet bird should have a varied diet that is balanced, natural, and free of fillers. Some bird food products are specifically designed for different types of birds. For example, some bird food is designed for parakeets, while other bird food products are intended for cockatiels.

When choosing bird food, select a product designed for the type of bird you have. This will ensure your bird gets the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. It's also a good idea to know what foods your bird cannot safely eat, so you can avoid them.

Dietary Classifications

Different birds have different dietary requirements, so it's important to know what your bird needs before you make a purchase. Do your research to narrow your bird food options to find the best one for your pet.


These birds enjoy a large portion of plant-based food in their diet. Most parrots, parakeets, macaws, and cockatoos are considered florivores.

Among florivores are two secondary classifications: frugivores and granivores. They are both plant eaters, but their diets consist primarily of fruit or seeds.


These birds have diets that consist mainly of fruits and berries. Look for vet-recommended avian frugivore diets with a healthy mix of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.


Granivores eat seeds, grains, and nuts. Parakeets, cockatiels, and hyacinth macaws are examples of granivores who enjoy a mix of different grains. When purchasing food for these pets, buy a quality, all-natural blend based on your species.


This is a particular classification of birds with a nectar-based diet. Lorikeets and lories are nectarivores who may enjoy a diet of fruit and nectar made with all-natural ingredients.


Like humans, these birds enjoy a varied diet of plant and animal matter. Unless you have gone the extra mile to get licensed to own a bird of prey, your pet will likely enjoy a mix of plants and insects.

The sulfur-crested cockatoo and the red-crested Amazon are great examples of birds that enjoy eating insects as part of their diet. Softball birds like finches and canaries enjoy insects as part of their diet. Most parrots and parakeets will eat them, too.

Provide Enrichment During Feeding Time

You can give your pet a chance to forage or solve puzzles for food. An engaging toy that allows you to place a snack inside is a great way to enrich and entertain your bird.

Rotate their choices throughout the days and weeks. In addition to a varied diet, have some fun with vet-approved treats that will keep your little friend healthy and happy.

Feeding Birds Live Insects

Many bird owners choose to supplement their bird's diet with live insects. This is because birds in the wild typically eat a diet that includes insects. Live insects can provide your bird with additional protein and other nutrients.

The Iory, Lorikeet, Red-Tailed Amazon, and some breeds of cockatoo might enjoy eating live insects. If you have one of these breeds, offer them live insects as a treat. Just be sure to research the type of bird you have to ensure that they can safely eat live insects and which insects they can eat.

Some insects, such as mealworms, provide little nutrition and should only be fed to your bird as a treat. Others, like crickets, offer a good source of protein and other nutrients.

If you decide to feed your bird live insects, buy them from a reputable source. You should also avoid feeding your bird insects treated with pesticides or other chemicals.

Seed Mixes

One of the most popular bird foods is a seed mix. Seed mixes usually contain a mix of seeds, like sunflower seeds, millet, and canary seeds. Seed mixes are a good option for bird owners because they provide the bird with multiple nutrients.

However, check the ingredients list on the seed mix package. Some bird seed mixes may contain fillers, such as corn or soy. These fillers are not nutritious for birds and can cause digestive problems. Look for a seed mix with bird-specific seeds that is well-rounded with all the nutrients your bird needs to stay healthy.

What About Bird Pellets?

Bird pellets are manufactured as a secondary food source for pet birds. The idea is to provide the bird's essential nutrients if the owner doesn't give them fresh food. Ironically, many bird pellets on the market are full of fillers and offer little nutritional value.

So give your pet bird the food they crave. For many birds, that will be a mix of seeds, plants, and sometimes fruits. Birds love fresh food as much as we do and will thank you. If you have a parrot, canary, or finch, they'll benefit from fresh fruits and veggies added to their base diet.

Feed Your Pet the Bird Food They Need

You must provide them proper nutrition if you've invested in a pet. Learn what your bird species requires, and make sure they get it. Give them a well-balanced, varied bird food diet that will keep them healthy and happy for years.

Your pet deserves its best life: a healthy diet, enriching activities, and a spacious habitat. We hope you enjoyed this article! Check out some of our related articles for more about ways to give your pets appropriate nutrition, bird cages, and toys!

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