What are pellets?
Pelleted foods, a rather recent innovation in bird nutrition, provide your bird with optimal nutrition in an easy-to-eat, easy-to-serve format.
As a formulated diet, the initial intention of parrot pellets was to pack as much nutrition into as small an edible item as possible.
How are pellets produced?
Most of the pellets available today are made from either of the two ways: extruding or cold pressing.
When a pellet is extruded, the ingredients are pulverized and then heated to their boiling points. This creates a liquefied form that can then be molded into different shapes and sizes that will be more enticing for pet birds and their owners. The extrusion process uses high heat during production which, unfortunately, destroys most of the nutrients from the initial ingredients.
Pellets can also be produced using a cold pressing method. Cold pressed pellets are forced into different shapes by high amounts of pressure, without the application of heat. This keeps the nutrients intact.
There are also pellets which are steam produced. Steam produced pellets are slightly similar to cold pressed in which that they both are produced without heat extrusion, to maintain nutritional integrity.
Are pellets alone nutritious enough to sustain a parrot?
The answer is NO. There is not a single pellet brand that offers all the right nutrition to meet a parrot’s dietary needs, regardless of what their packaging might claim.
The proper diet for a parrot should mainly be fresh produce, sprouts, beans, grains etc. Pellets can then be included in their diet to supply extra nutrients and vitamins. Pellets should only be considered as a supplement, not a base for a parrot’s diet. Pellets should NOT be a substitute for fresh produce.
Parrots that survive only on pellets do not receive the adequate nutrition that their body needs. They often suffer from liver problems and malnutrition later in life as a result.
Personally, I feed my parrots about 60% fresh produce, sprouts, beans and grains and the other 40% pellets. This is what works best for me.
Feeding your parrot properly should be your top priority. Without being in proper health, your parrot will not be able to fully enjoys its life, no matter how wonderful you try to make it.