Unlike cats, dogs, and other pets, "human" food is actually good for pet birds, when prepared and fed correctly. In order to safely and successfully add fresh foods to your bird's diet, however, it's important to remember a few guidelines:
- Raw is better than cooked. When feeding fresh fruits and vegetables to a bird, offer them raw. Cooking drains the food of precious nutrients that could benefit your feathered friend.
- Skip the seasonings. Although a little crushed pepper usually doesn't hurt, salt some other seasonings can be extremely harmful to a pet bird. It's best to leave the flavor as nature intended it -- your bird will love it!
- If cooking, cook wisely. If you do choose to feed your bird a cooked dish, pasta, for example, make sure to prepare it in cookware that does not have a non-stick coating. Stainless steel is preferred, as it won't contaminate the food.
- Make sure the foods you offer aren't poisonous to birds. There are, in fact, some "people foods" that are toxic to pet birds, and should never be offered, not even as a treat. Be sure to know what these foods are so that you never serve them to your feathered friend.
- Introduce fresh foods slowly. Some pet birds, particularly those used to seed and pellet diets, may not be interested in fresh foods right away. When introducing new foods, be sure to offer your bird his regular diet as well, to prevent possible weight loss and illness.
If you find that your bird won't try fresh foods at first, don't be discouraged. Eat some of the food in front of your bird, and try being very expressive about how good it is. Once your bird notices how much you enjoy what you're eating, it will only be a matter of time before he or she is ready to take a bite. Cook safely, and happy dining!