Saturday, October 11, 2008

Avian Nutrition

Avian Nutritionby Cynthia L. Kiesewetter
A proper diet will help ensure that your cockatiel leads a happy, healthy life. It has been my experience that cockatiels need a varied diet, not only for their physical health, but also for their mental well-being! Personally, we feed 50% of our diet as a mixture of pelleted foods. Twenty-percenty of their diet is green, leafy vegetables; another 20% is good, healthy "people" food (some examples are listed below); and the remaining 10% is seed. No one really knows what the optimal dietary needs are for psittacine birds, but avian nutritionalists certainly have brought us out of the dark ages regarding some of their needs. I've listed below the various components of foods, as well as what functions they benefit, and in what foods they can be found.
Carbohydrates are an essential yet misunderstood part of the diet. There are two categories of carbohydrates: starches and sugars.
Complex carbohydrates, or starches, provide a steady source of energy for your birds. Complex carbohydrates can be found in whole grains -- bread, cereals, pasta and rice. Make sure you check the ingredients on cereal; sodium (salt) and sugar should not be high up on the list. Definitely do not feed frosted cereals!
Simple carbohydrates, or sugars, provide empty calories and no nutrition.
Proteins are complex chemicals that have two important functions: they serve as the building materials of body tissue, and act as enzymes that regulate the chemical reactions that keep your birds' bodies growing and functioning.
Proteins are made up of substances called amino acids. Although more than 20 different amino acids have been identified, it is not known which of these amino acids are essential in the avian species (essential amino acids cannot be manufactured by the body and must be included in the diet). In humans, it has been determined that there are eight essential amino acids. Complete proteins are those that contain adequate supplies of these eight essential amino acids. Incomplete proteins are those that lack or have too little of one or more essential amino acids.
If your birds eat an incomplete protein at the same time as a complete one, their bodies can combine amino acids to create additional complete proteins. Macaroni and cheese are examples of an incomplete and a complete protein. Certain combinations of two or more incomplete proteins can also form complete ones, but this is only true when one food source supplies the amino acids that the other food source lacks. Peanut butter on whole wheat bread is an example of two incomplete proteins which work together to form complete proteins ... I love Cockatiels and this lady ,Cynthia Knows what she talking about check out her website David ...

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