Last Updated: April 16, 2021
Parakeets, or Budgerigars, as they call them across the pond, are popular pets that can bring a lot of joy into your family’s life. Their endearing personality and intelligence are traits that make them even more enjoyable as avian companions. All these things explain the over 20 million pet birds across the country. Budgies are native to Australia but have been introduced into the United States and Puerto Rico.
The ASPCA estimates the cost of owning a small bird at just over $300 a year. Over 60% of your expenses typically goes toward food. Parakeets can live up to 10 or more years if you provide them with the correct cage setup and a healthy diet. That makes your choice of food vital to the well-being of your pet.
Our guide will discuss the dietary needs of your Parakeet. We’ll explain the types of food available, along with recommendations about providing a balanced diet for your pet. We’ve also included detailed reviews to give you a bird’ eye view of the products available, listing the pros and cons of each one.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 10 Best Parakeet Foods – Reviews 2021
1. Kaytee Egg-Cite! Forti-Diet Parakeet Bird Food – Best Overall
Kaytee Egg-Cite! Forti-Diet Parakeet Bird Food packs a high-protein punch in a 5-pound seed and grain mixture. The source is protein, as the name suggests. The best thing about it is that it is complete with all of the essential amino acids that your pet needs. While the ingredient list is extensive, the manufacturer does an excellent job of adding tags to identify the ones of which you may not know.
The food contains 14% protein, 4.5% crude fat, and 12.0% moisture. The label recommends feeding your Parakeet 1–3 tablespoons a day, which means that a 5-pound bag is going to last a long time. Our concern is spoilage and waste with such a large size. On the positive side, the product is formulated for Parakeets. That can mean that your pet will eat all the things it contains, which is always a good thing.
2. Kaytee Supreme Parakeet Bird Food – Best Value
Kaytee Supreme Parakeet Bird Food is the best parakeet food for the money. It comes in two sizes, 2- and 5-pound bags, which we liked. The mixture contains seeds and grains formulated for Parakeets. The diet provides 12% protein, 3.5% crude fat, and 12.0% moisture. It includes several nutritional supplements, including biotin and calcium carbonate.
The shelf life is up to 45 days if stored properly, which is par for the course. We liked the fact that we could freeze it to increase its value. The recommended feeding instructions are 1–3 tablespoons a day. Given the protein percentage, it may be toward the lower end of the scale than the opposite. We appreciated the fact that the ingredients are well-chosen, with little waste.
3. ZuPreem Natural Medium Bird Food – Premium Choice
ZuPreem Natural Medium Bird Food is a pellet food that provides an excellent source of protein and other nutrients. The primary sources are grain-based, which offer the full complement of amino acids. It also has a decent selection of dried vegetables, including beets, parsley, and carrots. The pellets are on the larger size, which may take some getting used to for your Parakeet.
The product does contain sugar, too, because of the veggies. We suggest monitoring your Parakeet’s body condition to home in on the right serving portion. It comes in a 2.5-pound bag only, which is a reasonable size. However, the manufacturer recommends storing it in a cool place instead of the fridge or freezer.
4. Lafeber Classic Avi-Cakes Small Bird Food
Lafeber Classic Avi-Cakes Small Bird Food is a pellet food suitable for other small birds, such as Lovebirds or Cockatiels. The product has a high protein content of 12.5%, thanks to the addition of eggs in the seed-grain blend. The moisture is more than we usually see with these foods at 15%. That makes proper storage imperative.
The food comes in an 8-ounce bag, either singly or in a pair. It is expensive, given its content. While it covers seeds and grains well, there aren’t any fruit or vegetable ingredients. Instead, the mixture contains dietary supplements to ensure a complete diet. Unlike many foods, this product is a cake instead of loose ingredients. That makes it more convenient to use as long as your Parakeet eats the complete piece.
5. Roudybush Daily Maintenance Mini Bird Food
Roudybush Daily Maintenance Mini Bird Food is another pellet offering that provides a complete nutritional diet. The manufacturer even suggests that you don’t feed your pet any supplements. It’s primarily grain and seed-based, with additional vitamins and minerals added to the blend. While it doesn’t contain fruits or vegetables, it does have apple flavoring to make it more palpable to your bird.
We liked that the vitamins and minerals showed up higher on the list of ingredients, indicating a higher amount to justify the supplement advice. The product contains several oil sources to help keep your Parakeet’s plumage looking its best. That said, proper storage is vital to keep the 2.75-pound bag fresh. While it says it’s for small birds, some Budgies might find the pellets too large to eat.
6. ZuPreem Smart Selects Parakeet Bird Food
ZuPreem Smart Selects Parakeet Bird Food strives to offer food geared toward Budgies on several fronts. The blend doesn’t contain sunflowers, which often end up on the bottom of the cage to say nothing of the fat content. It is a mix of seeds, fruits, and pellets that offer interesting and makes it more visually appealing for your pet.
The nutritional profile is excellent, with 12% protein and 12% moisture. However, the fat and sugar content is a bit high, meaning that you should monitor your Parakeet’s body condition. However, the variety of fruits is impressive, with grapes, oranges, and pineapples. There are also probiotics to stave off digestive distress. It’s a bit spendy, but we can overlook it, considering what’s in the bag.
7. Lafeber Tropical Fruit Nutri-Berries Bird Food
Lafeber Tropical Fruit Nutri-Berries Bird Food is a full complement of grains, fruits, and nuts sure to please your Parakeet if just for the wide variety of ingredients it contains. The selection even made us feel hungry, with pineapple, papaya, and mango on the menu. Our only concern with the list was the inclusion of corn syrup. It also appears higher on the list than we’d expect.
Of course, the fruits mean a higher moisture content at 14%, which isn’t out of line. Eggs are a significant source of protein, which comes in at 10%. The food comes in little balls or berries, as the manufacturer calls them. The recommended daily serving is 10–12 of them. While it contains fruits, the label states that you should still supplement with fresh sources.
8. Brown’s Tropical Carnival Parakeet Bird Food
Brown’s Tropical Carnival Parakeet Bird Food is appropriately named for the variety of colors from the ingredients that you’ll see in your pet’s food bowl. It contains fruits, such as strawberries and pineapple, along with veggies and grains for a complete diet. The protein is decent at 12.5%. Despite the number of fruits and vegetables, the moisture content is in line at 12%.
The food has a higher fat content than we’ve seen with comparable products at 7.5%. We suggest keeping an eye on your Parakeet’s body condition if it is its primary food source. The package’s instructions seemed to be a lot per serving for Budgies. We liked that the blend also includes probiotics to help avoid GI issues because of the fat content.
Vitakraft Menu Care Complex Parakeet Food is another specially formulated food for Budgies to ensure less waste and a more complete nutritional profile. It provides 13% protein, putting it on the higher end of the scale. While the package boasts of its fruit content, there’s not a lot there to justify the hype. The primary ingredients are seeds and grains, with some nutrient supplements.
The food includes live probiotic bacteria to help your Parakeet digest it. That makes proper storage essential, considering the 12-percent moisture content. That also means you can’t put it in the freezer to extend its shelf life. Fortunately, the product is affordable.
10. Brown’s Encore Classic Natural Parakeet Bird Food
Brown’s Encore Classic Natural Parakeet Bird Food is another pellet food that resembles dog food more than a diet for birds, despite its seed and grain-based formula. However, it is convenient to use, making it easy to monitor your Budgie’s calorie intake. We wondered how well a pet would accept this shaped pellet. The lack of variety also raised a red flag for us. It’s merely seeds and grains, with no tasty fruit additions or flavorings.
Our other concern was the size of the bag. However, you can store it in the fridge to increase its shelf life. While it’s packaged in the United States, the manufacturer sources ingredients from other countries, which may impact freshness. The list contained nothing appealing to us, let alone a Parakeet. Combined with the odd shape, we would prefer to get a sample before buying the sizeable 4-pound bag.
Humans have kept birds as pets for over 4,000 years. Some even took on essential tasks for people, such as carrier pigeons delivering messages or falcons controlling rodent problems in vineyards. Their keen intelligence makes it easy to train them—especially if there is a promise of a treat. When discussing their diet, it’s helpful to explore Budgie’s life history in its native land for valuable clues about what you should offer your pet.
Budgies in the Wild
It’s important to remember that Parakeets are opportunistic feeders. Instead of defining set territories, these birds have a nomadic lifestyle, except when breeding. Budgies usually stay together in large flocks, which speaks to their social nature. They’ll eat a variety of foodstuffs, including:
The operative word is variety. That’s what you need to replicate when feeding your Budgie at home. Just providing your pet one type of food every day is a sure recipe for nutrient deficiencies and a shorter lifespan. Of course, it’s all about balance. Even Parakeets can become overweight or obese with many rich foods and not enough exercise.
A Sample Diet for Your Parakeet
As you’ve seen, many commercial products contain a wide variety of seeds and other foods, whether the manufacturers make them as pellets or mixtures. We suggest both. The former can cover the nutritional aspects of your bird’s diet while the seeds allow birds to forage as they would in the wild. After all, the Parakeet is well-equipped to crack seeds and grains without any problems.
We suggest offering your Budgie up to 50% of its daily intake in seed and 25% in pellets every day. You can also give your pet fruits and vegetables every other day because of the higher sugar and water contents of these foods. Several things are toxic to Parakeets that you should never offer your pet. They include:
Many of these foodstuffs are things that Parakeets wouldn’t encounter in the wild, if you think about it. For example, avocados originated in Mexico before Americans introduced them to the United States. Without exposure, evolution didn’t have an opportunity for the bird to develop ways to digest them. It’s also worth noting how many of them are harmful to other pets, including cats and dogs.
Of course, treats are always welcome as long as they don’t form a significant portion of your pet’s diet. Millet sprigs are a popular product that your Parakeet is sure to enjoy. Hanging it inside of the cage replicates the foraging behavior of Budgies in the wild. Besides, they look so cute climbing up and down the sprig, eating every bit of the tasty seeds.
Parakeets spend a lot of time looking for water in the shrublands of their native Australia because of the warm climate. Therefore, you should always have fresh water available at all times. Make sure to clean out the bowls since it isn’t uncommon for Budgies to take a dip if given a chance. That can reduce the risk of bacterial infections and digestive upset.
What to Look for in a Commercial Diet
The main concern when choosing a Parakeet food is that it contains a variety of ingredients with minimal fillers. You’ll often see the latter in bargain products or supermarket brands. Sometimes, birds get picky and may scatter the things that they don’t like. We suggest taking note of what your pet isn’t eating and avoid foods that contain those ingredients.
While Parakeets eat throughout the day, they don’t eat a lot, given their size. That’s why we recommend getting smaller quantities, especially if you only have one bird. Budgies will reject stale or spoiled food just like many other animals. That makes proper storage imperative to ensure that it stays fresh. We suggest making it a point to check expiration dates on any products you’re considering.
You’ll find commercial diets formulated as all-purpose foods or specifically for Parakeets. We recommend the latter. That way, you’ll know that you’re getting appropriately sized seeds or pellets that your bird can handle all right. Be sure to check the size of the pellets, which can affect whether or not your pet will eat them.
Finally, it’s essential to introduce new foods slowly to your pet, especially since many contain different types of ingredients. You should plan on making the transition over 7–10 days.
After researching for our reviews, Kaytee Egg-Cite! Forti-Diet Parakeet Bird Food came out on the top of our list. It provides an excellent source of protein, with a full slate of seeds and other ingredients to add variety to your pet’s diet. The manufacturer formulated it for Parakeets, which means less waste even if it comes in a larger size than you’ll likely need for one or two birds.
Kaytee Supreme Parakeet Bird Food is a seed and grain-based diet that also offer superior nutrition at an affordable price. This product is also geared toward Budgies, making it an even better value. You can freeze any leftover mix to extend its shelf life.
Featured Image Credit: Eajslater, Wikimedia
An avid animal lover, Roland started this blog to help all varieties of pets and their owners on their journey to living their best lives.