hi,im new to the forums but i have read many questions and many include "free-feeding" i have no idea what that means, can someone please explain??
That is when food is available in a parrot’s bowl all day in a quantity greater than what it will consume. In other words, endless supply of the food.
Well, it’s more than just the quantity of food put in the bowl, it has to do with timing also. Parrots, with very few exceptions, are crepuscular feeders - this means that their brain is programmed to make them eat both at dawn and at dusk. So, taking this into consideration and the fact that birds will eat their biggest meal in the morning, if you put protein food in the bowl at this time, even a measured amount of it, it will not work out well for the bird because it will fill itself up with protein, leaving little room for fresh produce AND he will go hungry at night. When you free-feed something like gloop, for example, the bird will fill itself up with little protein but lots of fiber, moisture and vitamins and, at night, because you are giving it the protein food, he will remain full longer (because it takes much longer for the body to process protein than anything else).See, the thing is that when we first got parrots as pets, we treated them like canaries. We assumed that they were natural seed eaters (like canaries are) and simply filled up a bowl of seeds and nuts and put a piece of apple or whatever on the side. This resulted in parrots that died very young from malnutrition, eggbinding and liver disease. Then they came up with the pellets -again, erroneously assuming that what worked for another species of aves we had a lot of experience with, chickens, would work out with parrots (the first pellets used a chicken pellet formula even though they have completely different dietary ecologies and there are still people -breeders, petstores, etc- that insist that parrots are omnivorous when they are, in reality, herbivores). But we now know much more about parrots than we did 20 or even just 10 years ago and realize that we need to feed parrots food that more closely resembles the nutritional guidelines of their natural diets. This means the right amount of protein (actually not an easy thing to figure out for somebody who doesn’t have some nutrition knowledge and who doesn’t do A LOT of research on their natural diets), fat, moisture and fiber - plus good vitamins, minerals AND phytonutrients. I’ve been doing research on parrots natural diets since 1994 and have come to the conclusion that, so far (and I say ‘so far’ because I am always looking for ways to improve my birds’ diet), the best option is organic gloop with raw produce for breakfast and all day picking (because it doesn’t matter if you free-feed it as it has low protein, high moisture, high natural fiber and food derived vitamins and minerals and it’s very low in calories so they never get fat on it) and a measured, specifically doctored mix of seeds or seeds and nuts for dinner. I not only keep my birds healthy on it, I actually make sick birds better!