parrot Parrot Island Home Page Favorite Links Contact Us
  Recommended Foods Part One: Formulated Diets
by Scott Stork

The Basics

Formulated Diets, Often called pellets, should make up the base of every bird's diet. (With many of the smaller birds we recommend mixing the formulated diets half-and-half with seed to form the base.) This base should make up 1/2 to 3/4 of the bird's diet.

There are a number of formulated diets on the market. There are three factors to consider when rating a food for birds:

  1. Nutrition: The hardest for us to judge, we rely on the amount of research the manufacturer has done, on their track record and on reliable third party recommendations.

  2. Palatability: Many companies try to sell foods to you rather than to your bird. Color's, shape's, flavors and smells though not always bad, often are marketed at the owner not the bird. The only way to be sure your bird will eat a food is to try it over an extended period of time.

Additives: Because of the limited long term research done on parrots and their reaction to unnatural chemicals, and because of their tendencies to retain and build up toxins in their bodies, we strongly recommend avoiding artificial additives in foods. Also, because of how poorly animal foods are regulated, we recommend using as much human consumption grade food as possible.

With these factors in mind we have chosen what we feel are the best three formulated diets available. These are Harrison's Bird Diet, Scenic Bird Food from Marion Zoological, and Roudybush.

Harrison's or HBD is the premiere food available. The research done by Harrison's has made it one of the only 'Veterinary Grade' bird foods. It is made from 100% organic and human consumption grade ingredients, with no added colors, flavors or preservatives. For most birds it is very palatable. They have different formulas for different needs

Scenic is the only colored and flavored diet we carry. Marion Zoological, the manufacturer, supplies formulated diets to zoos around the world. They use all natural vegetable colors and flavors. We have found it to be the most palatable for small birds and birds weaned on seeds. This food is naturally preserved with vitamin K, and is made from human consumption ingredients.

Roudybush is our only preserved diet. The company has done some of the most extensive long-term studies on bird nutrition. It is a slow steamed pellet and is very palatable. Roudybush is preserved with the antioxidant ethoxoquin. The University of CA, Davis has done extensive studies (since 1981) on ethoxoquin and it's effects on birds. Their results indicated no ill affects whatsoever.


For mental health and because we may never know exact nutritional requirements for all birds, a diet with numerous and changing components is best. HBD, Scenic and Roudybush are all very good foods. The three of them rotated or mixed together as the base of the diet is recommended.

Other diets: There are at least a dozen formulated diets on the market, some are much better than others are. We chose the three that we think are the best, for the reasons stated above. If you find a formulated diet that you would like to feed your bird, inspect it. If it compares well to the foods described, then it should be fine. If you are not sure call us or your veterinarian and get a second opinion.

Back to top of page

Additional Diet articles:

Links to other articles on our site:

Copyright © 2000-2003 Parrot Island, Inc.
Send mail to webmaster with questions or comments about this web site.