If you have clicked on this article your budgie is most likely on an all-seed diet and you wish to convert them to a much healthier pellet diet. Converting your budgie is not going to be easy, but worth your time. Feeding your bird pellets rather than only seeds will help them maintain a healthy weight and provide the necessary nutrients. Your budgie will look happier, healthier and more energetic because of this.
The best moment to convert your budgie to a pellet diet
The best time to convert your budgie from a seed-based diet to a pellet based diet is when they are still young. The younger, the better. If you got your bird from a pet store, you have the most chance for success if you start converting them as soon as they’ve settled in. Give your budgie about a week time to settle in their new home environment before you start converting. They will have enough changes to process within that week, so you don’t want to add more changes right away.
How long will it take to convert my budgie to pellets?
The time it takes for a budgie to convert depends on several factors. Age and personality are the most important ones. A younger bird will be more eager to try a new food compared to an older budgie who’s been used to eating seeds its entire life. Some budgies, despite their age, have a very stubborn personality. It will take much more time to convert a stubborn budgie than a curious one.
So the amount of time it will take differs per bird. It can take a few days up to several weeks. Try to match your budgies pace and don’t force them too much. If a budgie doesn’t trust the food that’s in their bowl they will not eat it. There are cases of budgies having starved to death because they refused to eat what was offered to them.
Adding a small amount of pellets to their usual diet
Budgies like familiarity. If you decide to make them switch out of the blue by swapping their seeds for pellets they will simply not eat them. They might not realize it’s food, or they think it could be poisonous. To prevent this from happening you can swap out a small number of seeds for pellets on day one. Measure the number of seeds you give your bird in teaspoons and swap out one teaspoon of seeds with a teaspoon of pellets. If you have a curious bird it might try the new food that’s mixed in with the seeds. If this is the case, you can keep increasing the number of pellets and decreasing the number of seeds every other day. Your budgie has successfully converted when it eats a mixture that consists of 75-80% pellets and 15-20% seeds (the other percentage is made up of fresh fruits and veggies). Make sure to monitor your budgie to see if they actually eat the pellets instead of just flinging them out of the bowl.
My budgie is not curious enough for the first method to work, now what?
No need to worry, there’s another way to make your budgie eat the pellets that are mixed in with the food. You’ll need to follow a similar method, only with a little twist. Start by measuring a teaspoon of pellets and pour it in your budgies food bowl. Then, add warm water to it. Filling only the bottom of the food bowl should be enough. Let the pellets soak for a few minutes so they become soft. It’s okay if they even fall apart a little. Once the pellets have become soft and sticky it’s time to add the regular seed mix. Once you’ve added the seeds you can stir the mixture of seeds and wet pellets. The pellets will stick to the seeds so your budgie can unknowingly taste them and realise it’s a food. Keep increasing the number of wet pellets daily until their diet consists of 75-80% wet pellets. After this step, you can decrease the amount of water you add to the pellets little by little so the pellets become less soggy every day until they are back to their original texture.
Hopefully your budgie doesn’t take too long to get used to their new diet. But even if they do, be persistent! If you would like to know more about teaching your budgie to try new foods like fruits and veggies, feel free to read this next article: ‘How to make your budgie eat fruits and veggies’.