What Should I Feed My Indian Ringneck & Green Cheek Conure?

What Should I Feed My Indian Ringneck & Green Cheek Conure?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

From: Lisa S.

Subject: Dialing in your bird’s nutrition

You emphasized the need to tailor my bird’s diet to their species’ needs. 
I bet you can guess my next question. 
I have an IRN and a GCC. 
I buy my food from your online store. What do you suggest I feed them for optimal health?
I also wanted to say thanks for all your articles and advice.  I think my birds are much happier and more comfortable thanks to the changes I have made after reading your articles.
Dear Lisa

I took a look at the foods you have ordered from us and you have had us send these items.

Higgins Safflower Gold Conure. (no sunflower seeds)

We like this mix and use it for our cockatiel. It is a basic mix without a lot of extras. It uses Safflower seeds instead of Sunflower seeds for its big seed.

Most commercial birdseed mixes use Sunflower or Safflower seeds or both for the main “meat” of the mix.  They both contain almost 40% fat.

Sunflower seeds are the preferred choice by parrots due to the meat being a bit sweeter and the ease of cracking them open. This results in them choosing to pick them out of a seed mix over any of the other ingredients.

If the seed mix has a heavier portion of them, a parrot may choose to eat only sunflower seeds and ignore or toss everything else.

This can cause aggression and a huge mess as the parrot rakes through the dish tossing everything looking for the last sunflower seed that may not even be in the dish.

To halt this behavior and mess. The best option is to not offer a sunflower seed blend at all and instead choose the safflower-based mix.

Note: No, sunflower seeds or safflower seeds are not part of a wild parrot’s natural diet.

But as these beautiful winged creatures live in our homes on the other side of the world, nowhere near the naturally chosen foods that they would choose for themselves, we must rely on prepackaged blends put together by the bird food manufacturers available.

Bird seed mixes provide a base for our birds that we can add to and make their diet even better.

Adding other ingredients like vegetables and fruits, some protein choices like chicken, eggs and even a bit of hard cheese can help round out a parrots diet to help increase their life span.

Every morning we offer a fresh dish of chopped apples, kale, mixed corn, peas, beans, a cut-up grape and even veggie trimmings like the seed core from a cut-up bell pepper.

It can take a while before a bird may mess with a dish of veggies if they never had them before.

But a sprinkling of seeds on top of it for the first few days or week will entice them to give it a try.


They will start to look forward to it.

Any fresh meats, eggs, etc. should only be left in the cage dish for an hour or so. Then remove.

You have also ordered Higgins Worldly Cuisines cookable foods. These add another option for a tasty food that is not high fat.

You have also ordered Higgins Spray Millet.

Millet is a tasty snack and we offer a 2″ piece every evening at 8 pm before Birdie Bedtime as an enticement to go back into their cages without issue.

We so enjoy that short period right after everyone has gotten their evening nummy and all 4 bird cages are quiet.

Aside from your food items, you might consider adding a multivitamin like Nekton S to your daily drinking water.

Most packaged bird seeds may be fortified, but the vitamins cannot get into the seeds with shells. Most of the fortified food is coated oats and added pellets.

You can add more pellets to increase the vitamins in your bird’s diet but if they don’t eat them, they won’t help.

If you feed a 100% pellet diet then you don’t need to add vitamins, but what a boring life!

Thank you so much for your advice, Catherine. 

I think the one thing I need to do is add more protein via chicken, eggs, and a little cheese.

They also love peanut butter.  I mix the natural gold pellets with a little peanut butter and they go to town. Lol.


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