Year-Round Feeding

It is essential to feed the following all the year round.

  • Good quality dry seed.
  • A daily supply of soaked or sprouted seed.
  • A daily supply of greens, which must be drastically reduced during the warmer weather or:
  • A fortnightly supply of gum leaves and branches.
  • A continual supply of grits; both hard and soft.
  • A daily water supplement, such as Calcivet daily and Solavet three times per week (note: you can mix the Calcivet and Soluvet together) leading up to and including the breeding season. After the breeding season is completed, I stop the Calcivet usage and reduce the Soluvet to 1 to 2 times per week.


I periodically review my feeding programme. I have stated in the past that when one sights a positive practice in someone else’s aviary and that practice suits your purpose, initiate it. My seed in the main, is grown for me in Queensland and is fed in large, separate containers by variety. By using larger containers, the birds have maximum feeding space, thus reducing stress. The following are fed dry:

  • Plain Canary
  • Japanese Millet
  • White French Millet
  • Red Panicum
  • Grey Striped Sunflower
  • Bandicoot Oats
  • A Wild Seed Mix

My soaked seed mixture is made up of:

  • 10 parts Triticale
  • 10 parts Bandicoot Oats
  • 1 part of small mixed seed to which Aviclens is added.

This mix is soaked for 12 hours in water, rinsed, drained and fed twice daily. The Aviclens slows down the fermentation process during soaking thus reducing the risk of bacterial contamination of the seed.

Green Food

I feed the birds silver beet daily unless they are being administered a “treatment” via the water. If this is the case, all soaked seeds and silver beet feeding ceases until the care is completed. On completion of the medication, the silver beet and soaked seeds are reintroduced gradually in smaller amounts. Gum leaves and branches are also withdrawn during any treatment, as the birds are likely to extract needed moisture from this source rather than the drinking container. During periods of medication, I withdraw the drinking containers from the aviaries and breeding cages (if no chicks are present) at about 2pm and reintroduce at about 10am the following day, thus encouraging all of the birds to get a share of the doctoring.

After any given care or a show, I give the birds a 1 to 3 day probiotic course. I prefer open drinking vessels in the aviaries that are made of pottery, glass or enamel. I detest the bottle with the drip system as I do not believe that the birds get a fair go at drinking in an aviary situation, the birds like to eat together and drink together as in the wild. I also believe that the risk of disease from this system is greater as any problem bird leaves a “concentrated form” of the problem at the small outlet.

Hard shell grit, limestone, dolomite and cuttle fish obtained locally are made available at all times and beach sand is spread under the aviary perches.

Minor changes

The moult and breeding season sees minor changes to this programme. If I feel that the birds need a little something extra, they get it supplied. Millet sprays being one of these little extras, in fact the nursery cage is swamped with these sprays, as it seems a preferred source of intake for the “weaned” birds.

The diet of the budgerigar will vary from aviary to aviary and it is the breeder who has final say on what is presented to the birds, and not the birds themselves, so surely, we owe it to them to give the best that is available to encourage a long and fertile life.

What do you think?

Original text Copyright 1997 Nigel Tonkin

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