|This is a young domesticated budgie. His name is Chief!|
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
These days there are many super nutritious pellet mixes around for budgies, but owners often have trouble getting their budgie to actually eat them. And if your budgie isn't eating it, it doesn't matter how healthy the food is.
You see, the problem is that budgies don't see pellets as food. Pellets are artificial, and budgies haven't evolved to see pellets and want to gobble them down. And, unlike many other animals, budgies can't just sniff the pellets and realize they're full of nutritious stuff.
Obviously, it wouldn't be a great survival strategy to just eat things that you don't recognize as food so it can take some convincing before your budgie will eat them. So, let's look at three strategies to move your budgie over to pellets. These aren't miracle fixes, but they do work, with a little effort and patience.
Strategy 1: Mixing It In
The first strategy is pretty straightforward, you mix pellets in with some irresistible food, and wait for your budgie to accidentally nibble on a pellet when they're trying to get at the other food. The idea is that once your budgie finds out that the pellet is edible, and tastes good, they'll have no problem eating them in the future.
This can take a lot of patience, as your budgie might go weeks without touching the pellets, but they will do eventually. And, once they start eating them, they'll realize they're food forever.
Strategy 2: Going First
It might seem kind of silly, but if your budgie is bonded with you, it can help if your budgie sees you eating the pellets first. If their surrogate mate is enjoying the pellets, nibbling on them and making yum sounds, they'll often be enticed to try some themselves.
This strategy also works to get your budgie started on fresh fruits and vegetables, in case you're having trouble with that, as many people do.
Bird food pellets are perfectly safe for people to eat, although I don't whether you'll enjoy the taste of them. But still, you don't have to eat them forever, just until you manage to convince your budgie to try them.
Strategy 3: Gradual Conversion
Another option is to gradually replace their seed with pellets, every three days adding ten percent more pellets. So, the first three days your budgie has 90% seeds, 10% pellets. The second three days they have 80% seed, 20% pellets etc. The whole conversion will take roughly a month.
When working with animals things don't always go according to plan though, so if you get a week or two through the conversion and your budgie isn't touching the pellets, start at the beginning again. If you don't, your budgie could become dangerously underweight, since they don't carry fat reserves.
For most birds, though you'll find your budgie is eating pellets just fine without your having to restart the cycle.
Whichever strategy you decide upon, the name of the game is patience. You're trying to get your budgie to do something deeply unnatural, eat something which isn't food, and some birds will take a lot of convincing to do that.