Our expert says:
Cockatiels need a mix of 50% seed (mostly millet and other small, low fat seeds) and 50% pelleted diet. A sunflower diet will lead to a number of problems in the long run, such as obesity, hypersexuality,vitamin A deficiency etc. Fresh fruit and vegetables should also be offered. You CAN convert them - continue putting the new food in with the sunflower - some take as long as 6 month to accept a new food. Also pretend to eat the new food - 'birdie see, birdie do'. Put the new food in a bowl at the top perch - they prefer to eat from higher perches - and put the sunflower near the floor. If this does not work - offer the sunflower for 30 minutes in the mornings and evenings, then take it away and put in the new food. If all else fails you can book your bird in at an avian vet for conversion - they'll monitor weight loss and make sure your bird does not starve while converting to the new diet. A complete, balanced diet is much better than a poor diet supplemented with some vitamin mix.
Dr Willemien van Wyk
Bird and exotic animal veterinarian
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