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Dr.Lisa, Bird Vet. Former Zoo Birdkeeper
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 1883
Experience:  26 yrs of small animal vet practice. Dog, cat and parrot caretaker for 35 yrs! Zookeeper for 1 yr.
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What foods should I be feeding my blue and gold macaw

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What foods should I be feeding my blue and gold macaw??



What a great question!


-Could you please tell me,what your bird is currently eating? Out of the foods that you listed, could you guess what percentage of each he eats?


- was your bird DNA sexed? What is his name?


-What are in most of the parrot food blends?


-What size and type of cage does he have?


-Is he an only bird?


-How long have you been a family?


Awaiting your reply,

Dr. Lisa

Customer: replied 7 years ago.



He usually eats what he wants and tosses the rest on the bottom of his cage. He eats the seeds and nuts mostly, I think. He likes whole grain bread, and will eat a few veggies here and there. I fill the big seed cup every day with new seed. There's a parrot treat in the cage, too.


Yes, he was sexed. His name is Itza. (Because I didn't know if "it's a boy or a girl."Smile


There are all kinds of seeds and nuts. I buy it at a Pet Supply house in bulk.


He is in a Parrot Condo cage. And he is using a manzanita wood perch.

I have a cockatiel also, and they are in the same room. I also have dogs. Itza interacts with the dogs and tells Sparky to be quiet, get in the crate, etc. Itza is in the dining room close to the kitchen, and loves attention!


I got Itza about 6 (?) years ago. He was just pinfeathers and beak when I first saw him. Had him on Layaway/ cost $800. He is a very gentle bird. I just want to make sure he gets the right food so he can be healthy. I don't want to overlook something he really needs.


Thanks so much for any insights you can give me.



I am so glad you asked this question, because Itza (LOVE the name!) would have been on the road to a life of malnutrition...


In the wild, birds are scavengers, and a good part of their day is spent looking for food. We hand them food in a bowl and think we are doing them a favor but we're not; the search is what they are hard-wired to do. Sometimes 'it ain't what you feed but the way that you feed it'! When they are foraging for food, they not only satisfy their hunger, but they also alleviate their boredom, which may decrease screaming and potential feather-picking. If you are not familiar with the foraging tree DVD, please purchase one (here's a site, but I would shop around for best price: . Along that same line of thinking, foraging toys may be another group to add to your toy chest. One site that I like is These toys, in addition to the tree, will help you to introduce old food in a new and exciting manner.




I prefer to feed Harrison's pellets ( as my base diet instead of the vitamin-deficient seed mixes because they are organic, with no additives, and I know how much work Dr. H put into their perfection. I have fed them to my own birds for over 15 yrs now, and they still enjoy eating them. If Itza doesn't like this brand, try another; I would just hope that you will pick one without additives (flavors or colours etc.), and 'organic' to me is always a bonus. Seeds are almost devoid of Vitamin A and have the reverse Calcium to Phosphorus ratio that birds need, As a supplemental food they are fine, even necessary, but NOT as the main course. Nuts are a good activity food, but should be fed in moderation. Stay away from peanuts with shells as they can be fungus factories. If you do feed them, feed human-grade, unsalted ones.


In addition to pellets, I feed my birds a 'seven layer salad" ( in the morning, pellets at lunch, and then at dinner, they each get a dish of whatever my family is having. I frequently go home for lunch, so we share that as well. The trick with the salad is to remove it when the cabbage portions start to smell (generally after 3-5 hrs)! The birds go crazy when I start to prepare it, because they cannot wait to pick through their dish and see what prizes they can find (so the added bonus of preparation is one of anticipation). The salad recipe is at that site. You can basically put any combo of suggested foods into it. I follow their directions and change the ingredients each time I make one (about 2-3X/week). I try for as many organic ingredients as I can.


Which brings me to the next major diet point:

This last diet tidbit is another gem: FRESH SPROUTS ( These should be a major part of your birds diets; the seed size will of course vary for your crew (large for Itza, small for the 'tiel), but you will be able to figure out a plan that works. Birds should have about 15% of their diet as a high quality seed, and this is one way of adding some very healthy seed.


So now it is time to think 'outside the box'. Ditch the dishes, scatter the seeds, nuke the nuts!!! Have BIG FUN making meals for the birds. They will love you forever for this, and in return, you will have them forever....


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Thank-you, and good-luck.

Happy feeding,

Dr. Lisa




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