Are parrot pellets healthy? [ parrot health]

Tops Pellets

Before we ask the question if pellets are healthy, we need to understand the history of pellets. 

In the 1980s, the pellets food was first developed for parrots and birds. Pellets were created because some people were only feeding their captive bird seeds which though have nutrients, lack all essential nutrients. Feeding just seeds causes the parrots to overfeed on seeds leading to health issues, like obesity and 

Pellets were encouraged by vets, only to fight against obesity and other health issues caused by an "only seed diet." 

So what are pellets?

Pellets are processed seeds with added vitamins, to simplify. 

So are pellets a source of balanced nutrition food? 

No. And here's why. First of all, every parrot and bird species are different and have different requirements. None of the pellets out there today are produced with your specific parrot species in mind.  It takes years of study and research to determine what individual species require. If your parrot has an unusual dietary need, it could become very dangerous to put your parrot on a general food.

Pellets are made with heat treatments. Heat does destroy some enzymes, vitamins, and nutritional value of the raw ingredients. (seongeung lee, et all). 

Another reason you are not getting all the rich nutrients is because grinding up raw ingredients deteriorates the food faster. Eg. nutmeg. It is always recommended to buy the whole nutmeg and grind it yourself at home when needed. 

How should pellets be used?

I consider pellets to be just a supplement and shouldn't be the parrot's entire diet. We only use TOPs pellets at the sanctuary and I simply add them to their seed mix. Remember pellets are processed food, not real food, and shouldn't replace fresh food. 

Last thoughts

 Just think from a parrot's perspective: how boring to just eat pellets. 


Author Monika Sangar 

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Seongeung Lee, Youngmin Choi, Heon Sang Jeong, Junsoo Lee, and Jeehye Sung. Effect of different cooking methods on the content of vitamins and true retention in selected vegetables. Food Sci Biotechnol. 2018 Apr; 27(2): 333–342.
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