We all want our budgies to live a long and healthy life. So naturally, we want them to eat their fruits and veggies so they get enough of the proper nutrients. But how do you convince them to eat something so strange to them? In this article, I will provide you with some strategies to get your birds to eat their fruits and veggies.
WARNING: check if a certain food is safe for budgies before you offer it to them. Some fruits and veggies, like avocado, for example, are highly toxic due to the natural chemicals in them. Also ALWAYS wash your fruits and veggies before giving them to your bird, unless you grew them yourself without any pesticides. Supermarket fruits and vegetables will have some leftover pesticides on them and you don’t want your budgie to ingest those toxins.
Is this a new toy?
This technique will work best for leafy vegetables. You can hang a leaf of lettuce or kale in the cage and wait to see if your budgie will mistake it for a new shredding toy. Shredding is a natural behaviour to budgies, so they are likely to be curious about the texture of this new ‘toy’. It’s okay if your bird doesn’t eat the lettuce at first. They might be scared of it, but eventually, they will approach it. Just make sure to replace the old lettuce daily and hang a fresh leaf in the same spot. Your budgie will realize over time that the lettuce is not going to attack them. Once your bird starts shredding the lettuce there’s a big chance they won’t eat it yet, which is normal. Because budgies shred things with their beak they will taste it nonetheless and eventually decide if it is something they would like to eat.
Where did my toy go?!
This is another way to use your budgies instincts to get them to eat fruits and veggies. For this method, you want to use your birds’ instinct to forage. This also works very well with leafy greens like lettuce. You’ll want to use your budgies all-time favourite toy for this. All you need to do is simply wrap the toy in leafy greens and wait. Your bird will eventually try to rip off the lettuce to retrieve its favourite toy back and accidentally taste it along the way. If your budgie responds well to this method you can even turn it into a fun foraging game by wrapping other things like food or perches in lettuce.
Wait, something's not right about my toy...
This is the last one that includes their toys, I promise. This method also includes your birds favorite toy. All you need to do is stick some small pieces of fruits or veggies in between the parts of the toy. Your budgie will think the fruits and veggies are part of the toy itself and start to play with them. Because budgies use their beaks to play they will also taste the food and find out if they like it or not. If your bird responds well to this method you can increase the size of the pieces of fruits and veggies over time. This way your budgie will start to recognize the food in its normal form and be less scared of it.
Have a dinner date
This method only works if your budgie is bonded to you and you have their full trust. If your bird doesn’t trust you yet you can read my article about gaining your budgies trust first, which will be linked at the bottom of this article.
The method I will explain here utilizes your budgies flock instincts. Budgies share their food with their flock mates, and that is exactly what you should do too. Keep your bird close to you while you eat the fruits or veggies you would like them to try. If your budgie sees you as part of their flock and trusts you completely they will try to either steal your food or convince you to share it with them by looking at it with envy. Make sure you only offer them foods that don’t have your human saliva on them because our saliva is toxic to birds.
Is this millet?
All you need for this last method is some naturally moist fruits or veggies like apple or bell pepper, and some millet. The only thing you need to do is sprinkle some millet seeds onto the fruit or veggie to make it stick to it and put it in the cage. Your budgie will recognize the millet as a delicious treat and try to pick it off the fruit or veggie it’s stuck to. By doing this your bird will naturally taste the flavour of the food because the flavour in the moist will stick to the millet. Once they realize it tastes good and has conquered their fear of the strange food, they will likely try it.
Another way to trick your bird to eat broccoli in specific is by just offering them a broccoli head. They are likely to mistake the broccoli for green seeds and try to eat them.
Hopefully, you learned some fun ways to teach your budgie to eat fruits and veggies in this article. If you’d like to learn more about converting your bird to a healthy diet I’d recommend reading ‘How to convert your budgie to pellets’.
If you would like to know how to gain your budgies trust so you can try the ‘dinner date’ method, I’d recommend you to read ‘How to get a budgie to trust you’.