A Trio of Picky Parrots – Conure, Cockatiel and Parakeet Are Picky Eaters – Help!

A Trio of Picky Parrots – Conure, Cockatiel and Parakeet Are Picky Eaters – Help!

Last Updated on by Catherine Tobsing

Wanda writes:

I have 3 birds, a conure, a cockatiel, and a parakeet. My birds are really fussy about their food. I feed the parakeet, Hartsfield, the cockatiel is very fussy, I’m trying to teach her to forge her food.

She just throws her food out of the cage and uses her dish as a toilet. The conure is very fussy too but she does look for her food until she finds what she wants.

Hi Wanda,

You didn’t mention how your birds are housed so I must assume they are each in their own cage of appropriate size. If they share a big cage or aviary, the dynamics of the situation change somewhat. 

You mentioned that you feed the parakeet, Hartsfield. I believe you mean Hartz Mountain, a common brand of small bird food sold in superstores and grocery stores.


Any all-seed diet requires supplementation of fresh veggies and fruits, or you are significantly shortening its lifespan and leaving it open to opportunistic diseases. All your birds may fit into this category.

More about supplements further on.

Birds that are on all-seed diets can often be converted to pellet diets with which no vitamin supplements are required.

The conversion can be very easy with some birds but requires a little longer with others.

You find your birds to be picky eaters but they would convert over time.

We have a plan on how to do the conversion as easy as possible. This plan happens to refer to Hagen pellets, a very good balanced option available for every size bird but the concepts are valid for any brand of pellet diet. 

Great choices in pellet diets include those available for your size birds from Higgin’s Intune line of pellets available in sizes for every parrot species.

We have found that Higgins Sunburst Parakeet is a very excellent, fresh product that comes in factory-sealed bags. It has a “use before” date, just like human foods so you know you are not feeding old, stale seed. The fresher the seed, the more nutrients it has available for the bird. Higgins Vita Seed with Probiotics is also available in varied sizes for your parakeet as well as your other parrots.

lorikeets eating meat outside

We have learned these Australian lorikeets may also be carnivores

You didn’t mention what you are feeding the cockatiel and conure so I imagine you are feeding them seed diets as well.

You’ll find a great choice for each in Higgins Sunburst Cockatiel blend and Higgins Sunburst Conure blend or choose the appropriate size Vita Seed blend from the Higgins link above.

You mentioned the conure picks through the food until it finds what it wants.

The problem with this is that it is only eating some of the types of seeds in the food.

All too often they choose the high-fat seeds like sunflower, rejecting all else. Cockatiels sometimes do the same thing with their food.

By choosing a no-sunflower blend like in Higgins Safflower Gold Conure, you’ll avoid the “sunflower addict” problem and round out their nutrition.

Or choose one of the other no-sunflower foods for your cockatiel and conure.

You mentioned foraging and birds need to forage for some of their food.

It is more like the experience they have in nature.

You can use special treats, fruits, veggies, and Lafebers AviCakes and Nutriberries to provide enrichment in their diet and lives.

If you do choose to stick with a seed diet, and many parrot parents do choose to do so — me included, you can add a multivitamin supplement like Nekton S multivitamin supplement to their water.  If you have a specific health problem, your vet may recommend additional supplements.

You may also like to try a small Tweeky Clean feeder to help keep the mess contained and out of the line of poop.

Good luck and please let us know how you decide to proceed and your experiences.

Written and Approved by the Windy City Parrot Content Team

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Catherine Tobsing

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Pikachu the cockatiel will not relieve himself in his cage. He is usually out with us when we are home, and even insists on sleeping on me; but if we need to go out, he is caged for his safety. However, if we are gone for the day, he will not poop. He will wait until we let him out of the cage and make a humungous turd. Should I be worried about this? Is it normal? I know we spoil him, and he is very attached to us, but I hate to see him suffer because of it.

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