Pudgy budgies are battling the bulge

WHILE we're regularly reminded of the human battle of the bulge, there's another little critter that also needs to cut back, according to vets.

East Bundaberg Veterinary Hospital veterinarian Randall Keyes said budgies and galahs were particularly prone to being overweight.

"Out of all the birds we see, I'd say 90% of budgies are overweight to obese and around 70% of galahs are overweight," he said.

Dr Keyes said commercial bird seed was behind a lot of the problem.

"All the seeds have generally been designed for flour or oil," he said.

"If you have a large quantity of seed, the bird eats more than it needs."

Dr Keyes said vets had been trying to convince breeders to switch to healthier, pelleted food for budgies for years because once birds had been raised on seed it was hard to change their diet.

"The commercial seed diet is a bit like giving a kid a bar of chocolate," he said.

"It's sweet, lovely and enjoyable.

"The crumble is a bit like giving a kid a plate of broccoli."

Dr Keyes said owners needed to be careful not to switch their pet's food cold turkey, but could try mixing pellets with seed and gradually adding more pellets.

He said owners could also make a positive change for their birds by not overfeeding them, hiding their seed in several places in their cage so they had to look for it, and feeding them vegetables - but never fruit, celery or lettuce.

Broccoli, capsicum, silver beet, corn, carrot and cauliflower are all healthy additions for birds and a diet of 60% seed and 40% vegetables could help.

Topics:  animals birds pets

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