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Colorado Green Cheek Conure Breeder & Crimson Bellied Conure Breeder

Squeaky Cheeks Aviary

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Updated 12.9.2019

Celebrating 36 years of breeding
parrots in Denver Colorado!

Babies are posted in the nursery!

I am an advocate of Zupreem pellets. I do not see a need to feed any other types of pellets. As Zupreem is such a complete and healthy diet. My birds are in prime condition on Zupreem. I feed both the fruit and natural formulas in the Cockatiel size for my Conures. During breeding season my parent birds get the breeder formula of Zupreem.

Diet is the single most important aspect of bird keeping, and all of my info here applies to all bird pet species. Over the years there have been many positive changes in the science of bird feeding. Years ago we only fed our birds a steady diet of mixed seeds and water. Nothing more. But we have learned so much more about how diet affects the longevity and health of our feathered friends that we can no longer just give them seed. 

Quite literally you can double the life expectancy of your bird by feeding fruits, veggies, cooked rice, cooked pasta, sprouts and other healthy human foods along with a premium bird pellet and seeds. Small Conures live 25-30 years on a good diet but with seed only that can be cut in half! This is wonderful news for those of us who want to spend a long time with our pets! Please note that genetics do have a big part in life expectancy as well. Your mill bred pet shop birds do not live as long.
 
 
Gravel/grit- Warning!  We used to think Parrots and all birds needed gravel to help grind and digest their food. But we have since learned that since birds that take the hulls off their food do not need gravel, it can be dangerous for them. It tends to cause impaction in the crop ( the area under the neck that birds hold their food before its digested) and this can be fatal. So no gravel! Gravel is only for birds that swallow their seeds whole like pigeons and doves.
 
Minerals- Birds do need a cuttle bone and a mineral block at all times. I always add a dish of ground egg shell to the cage too, this also helps with their calcium and mineral needs. It also keeps the beak trimmed.

Sprouting Seeds At Home

When making your wet foods it is important to add fresh sprouts. The seed themselves have little food value, but the sprouts are packed with nutrients. The sprouts I make take only 24-36 hours to sprout. So I can always keep them fresh. I have tried different containers but most are a pain or don't allow enough air which the sprouts need to grow. Not getting enough air makes them spoil before you can use them.  

This is the sprouter I have used for the past 15 years and in my opinion its the best sprouter on the market. You can find them on ebay. And I have not had to replace the two I have. I love it because it drains the water properly and spreads the seeds out like they need. I can make as little or as much as I need to keep it fresh. It also closes to keep contaminants out which can make bacteria grow.

Warning on freshness: Sprouts do grow bacteria fast. So do not let them grow more than 36 hours. After that rinse several times with water and refrigerate. Do not make more than you can use in 2 days.

Seeds I like to sprout:

Seeds:  Broccoli, Alfalfa, Kale, Sesame, Sunflower, Radish, Mustard, 
Millet, Red Clover, Dill.

Beans:  Garbanzo, Mung (Note: Beans never should be offered dried). Black eyed peas, green peas, Legumes & lentils.

Grains:  Oat Groats, Rye Berries, Wheat Berries, Barely, Buckwheat, Quinoa, Amaranth.

You do not have to use all of them. But it is mandatory to feed a variety of sprouts to your birds on a daily basis. Its recommended to chooses at least one or 2 from each category of seeds, beans and grains. This gives a healthy balance of what Budgies need. This is your birds main diet! This is how Budgies get their protein and vitamins!

Please remember to mix the sprouts with the fresh veggies, fruit and cooked pasta or cooked rice! And then go ahead and eat some too! Remember the rule of thumb is.. if its healthy for you... its healthy for your Budgies! (except for the poisonous foods!)

My Feeding Routine - This Is How To Feed Your Bird

The following is the feeding regiment my birds are used to. And when you get birds form me they will already be used to eating good foods so you do not need to teach them this after they get home. You don't have to follow this exact routine because your schedule is not identical to mine obviously. But this gives you a rough idea of what to do.

To start I like to keep a dish of Fruit ZuPreem pellets in the cage at all times. Make sure you get the right sized pellet for the species of bird you have! The recommendation on the bag is wrong. Get one size smaller than what the bag says. My Conures eat the medium Cockatiel size. This is my birds main diet. Not seed! My birds are weaned onto pellets and veggies before they ever eat seed.

Morning Zupreem, Veggies, fruits & sprouts. But more veggies than fruit.

Mid morning & afternoon: Cook mix is added into the cage. 

Evening: Wet feeds are removed. I will also give them some new foods form the nights dinner that the humans ate. I remove that before they go to bed.
 

Seed: I am personally inconsistent with seed feeding. As I don't use it a lot. Sometimes I'll go weeks without feeding it. Sometimes I'll give it to them for a week. Find what works for you to keep a healthy weight on your bird.

If you do add seeds to the daily routine...Seeds should not exceed 20% of your birds total diet. 80% should be the healthy "wet" foods and pellets. Seeds do not have enough vitamins and other diet requirements to keep your bird healthy. Seeds lack vitamin A which supports growth. The lack of it can cause problems with the eyes and can cause respiratory illness. Seeds lack vitamin D3 which is needed to metabolize calcium. Its also deficient in vitamin K which causes anemia and blood clotting problems.

You cannot meet these vitamin needs from feeding the same mundane diet. Birds need variety! Change things, add more variety as the season allows. But never feed a boring diet. Birds get bored with foods just as we do and they need  to be stimulated by new tastes and textures. Birds are big on flavor, texture and color!

-FYI my babies are really spoiled and have been eating the bird street bistro cook mixes every day. The flavor I get is Cinna Spice Delight. This is one of the "wet foods" I feed.

Most good home town pets shops carry it in the bird section. Here is an online link to their store:

https://www.birdstreetbistro.com/product/cinnaspice-bird-food/

Herbs - Self Medicating

Herbs: (all found at Vitamin Cottage)

I recommend collecting some or all of these herbs and putting them in a dish to free feed. The birds will pick what they want and need from the mix. These should be kept in the cage at all times!

Alfalfa, contains vitamins and minerals including E and K, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Chickweed, containing vitamins B6, B12 and C.

Dandelion, excellent source of vitamin A, C, K, D and B complex; they contain 20% protein- twice that of spinach; and are a good source of minerals, including trace minerals.

Dill, has also been shown to inhibit the growth of several bacteria which cause infectious diarrhea, also kills parasites.

Milk Thistle, is an antioxidant and liver cleanser.

Plantain, anti inflammatory, antibacterial, aids in digestion and helps respiratory ailments.

Garlic Powder, anti parasite, immune builder, detoxifying, powerful natural antibiotic.

Barley Grass, barley grass powder contains eleven times the calcium of cow's milk, five times the iron of spinach, four times the vitamin B1 of whole wheat flour, seven times the vitamin C found in oranges, and is a good source of vitamin B12. Possess many times the nutritional potency of green vegetables. Contains vegetable protein and high in minerals.

Spirulina, studies have shown that Spirulina protected birds from infection with the antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli. Its a powerful immune builder. High in protein. Stimulates birds to breed and helps in feather growth.

Parsley, It contains more vitamin C than any other standard culinary vegetable, approximately three times as much as oranges and about the same as blackcurrants. The iron content is exceptional (twice as much as spinach) and the plant is a good source of manganese, calcium and potassium. It also contains flavonoids that act as antioxidants. Parsley is also rich in vitamin A, well-known for its effects on vision, plus can mitigate risks of atherosclerosis and diabetes. Raw parsley cleanses the blood, dissolves sticky deposits in veins, maintains elasticity of blood vessels, facilitates removal of moderately sized kidney and gallstones, treats deafness and ear infections, and benefits the sexual system.

Eucalyptus, the Budgies natural food. They love to bath in the wet leaves and breeding hens destructively chew the bark searching for trace elements and lysine, the breeding protein. The eucalyptus oil from the leaves has medicinal properties that stimulate the immune system and promote a strong natural resistance to disease.

Cinnamon, is great for blood circulation and for anti blood clotting. Its great for the libido. it stops the growth of bacteria and fungi. Kills candida which causes respiratory distress and cancer. In addition to its unique essential oils, cinnamon is an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese and a very good source of dietary fiber, iron and calcium. Smells heavenly too and this causes increase in brain function!

Oregano, Studies have shown that both of these compounds can inhibit the growth of bacteria, virus and fungi which is the main causes of many illnesses such as respiratory problems.

Peppermint, is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A. Peppermint is a very good source of magnesium, folate, dietary fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamin B2. Aids in digestion, helps headache and prevents cancer.

Basil, also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, anti-fungal properties. Basil is a source for Vitamin K, iron, calcium, vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C, and potassium. It is good for the heart, because it helps to prevent build-up in the arteries and fights free radicals. The magnesium helps blood vessels to relax which increases blood circulation.

 

My Dry Greens/Herbs

This is a organic human grade mixture I make that is made of Peppermint, Egyptian Basil, Oregano, Garlic Flake, Cinnamon powder & Parsley. The Budgies love nibbling at it and I get the satisfaction of knowing its helping to naturally self medicate and prevent serious disease in my flock. You don't have to make my exact mix, but the above list of herbs can be your guide. There is no measurement either, just add what you like. Again I get all of this from the Vitamin Cottage.  The cost is usually around $2 per ingredient, and you get a generous amount! Usually I have all of these herbs and spices in my kitchen or garden anyway.

FYI the cinnamon scent takes over and that's what you smell.:) Another dry green mix I use containing Eucalyptus, Dandelion, Oat straw, Plantain, red clover, Echinacea, Milk thistle, Pau D'Arco, elderberry, Yarrow, Olive leaf, Thyme leaf, Lavender, Wheat grass, garlic, Spirulina, Astragulus, Barberry, Chickweed, Kelp, Licorice, Wormwood, Marshmallow.

Water

Yes I am going to touch on water briefly. And that's because everyone asks me weather they should give bottled water to their birds. And the answer is no. Do not give them bottled water unless you live in an area where fresh water is hard to get or if you are on well water. The reason is because birds need to be exposed to a certain amount of germs and bacteria in order to build resistances to it. And if for some reason you need to have your bird boarded and they use tap water, your bird will not be resistant to the germs in the water, and it can, and will kill him. You can be too clean in some cases.

Also plastic water bottles contain many more toxic chemicals than tap water! If you are worried about giving them bad water do not give them anything from a plastic container. Use a glass bottle if you think you need to.

I also use Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar in my birds water off an on throughout the year. But especially before and during breeding season. ACV cleans the crop of any bacteria and sour crop. Which can happen to birds at times. It keeps their crops emptying on time. It also cleans the gut and boost's their immune systems. It also adds essential minerals and vitamins to their diet. 

Here is the healthy pet link on the Bragg site. I can't explain the benefits any better then they do. :)

Dangerous Foods!!!!!

Some foods are dangerous and some are just plain fatal.

http://www.itsagreysworld.com/diet/food.htm 

Chocolate in any form should not be fed to birds. Bittersweet, Baker's and Dark Chocolates are more toxic than Milk Chocolate. But all the same - do not feed it to your birds.

Table salt when fed excessively will cause increased thirst to increase water consumption to increased urination.

Excessive amounts of Cooked and Raw Onions can be toxic to your bird.  Onions contain the chemical n-propyl disulphide which denatures hemoglobin.  This will in turn destroy Red Blood Cells. Causes: Anemia, Jaundice, Bloody Urine.  Note: Be cautious if feeding cooked onion in small amounts.

Alcoholic beverages should be avoided at all costs.

Apple Seeds contain Cyanide. Be sure to always remove apple seeds before giving a portion to your birds.

Mushrooms have the potential of being toxic. 

Dairy items are not digested in birds. Birds do not have the digestive enzymes necessary to process milk. There are some products that are available on the market as an alternative to dairy products. Soy Milk, Tofu Cheese, etc. Which can be given to your birds as an alternative to dairy items.

Carbonated AND Caffeinated beverages should be avoided at all costs.

Avocado is toxic to birds as well due to the high fat content.