If you live on social media, you may have seen talk of ‘dry mix’, a new diet fad for parrots, among certain members of the parrot owning and free flight community. Dry mix is a relatively new concept, a new diet option for parrots to improve their overall health and wellbeing, and having bought out the world’s most diverse dry mix, we felt we should explain as much about it as we can. But what is parrot dry mix, and what’s in it?
Why are people feeding dry mix to their parrots?
Let’s first take a look at why people are deciding to feed their parrots dry mix, and try to gain some understanding into the science behind this new ‘craze’, and why it might just be the best option for feeding our pet parrots.
A good parrot owner is someone who continues to question their parrot care, learn how to improve their parrot’s life, health and happiness and is always willing to hear advice from others, especially professionals, and make adaptions based on scientific research. One such scientist, doctor and parrot diet specialist is Dr Jason Crean, a US based avian specialist, biologist and educator. Recently Dr Crean has begun sharing his knowledge and experience on avian diet, supporting hundreds of parrot owners across the world in giving their pet parrots the absolute best diet based on the behaviour and habits of their cousins in the wild.
Too many people are dumping a bowl of nuts, or a bowl of seeds, in front of their parrot and leaving it in there for them to gorge on all day long, with little to no exercise opportunity, enrichment, variety and excitement. This is quickly becoming considered abuse / neglect and is no longer an accepted form of bird care. No human would give their child a huge bowl of fries to stuff into their face all day long, to keep coming back to when they’re getting hungry again, only changing it for fresh fries every morning, or every few days. Why do we expect our pet parrots to live such a boring, dangerous and toxic lifestyle?
Dr Crean is now openly speaking about how essential variety is for pet parrots, how their entire life and happiness depends on a diet consisting of a broad range of different ingredients and whole foods, both fresh and dried. In the wild parrots fly huge distances every single day, looking for different fruits, vegetation, nuts and seeds, not settling for any one particular ingredient for too long.
It is commonly accepted that parrots require a selection of freshly cut vegetables at some point in the day (most people offer this in the morning), with an evening meal consisting of parrot pellets, with nuts and seeds throughout the day in exchange for training or in foraging toys. Those who go the extra mile and want to give their parrot a good life tend to opt with this method of feeding, and it has always been accepted as a decent diet by most in the avian field. Dr Crean has recently thrown a spanner in the works however, explaining that most pellets are deficient in true vitamins and minerals as a direct result of their heavily processed manufacturing method. Most pellets seen on the market today are usually filled with synthetic vitamins and minerals, which are rarely bioavailable to the body of the parrot, meaning they are excreted as waste instead, proving completely pointless.
The pellets that are most considered of poor quality are those that are warm or heat pressed, as this high pressured and hot method of condensing the pellet to size destroys and eliminates the nutritional value. Dr Crean does not offer any pellets to his birds, and if he does decide to for some reason he only ever adds Tops Pellets, a brand of pellet that cold presses their product resulting in the retention of its nutrients.
A better alternative to pellets is the aforementioned dry mix, a combination of freeze-dried fruits, freeze-dried vegetables, flowers, herbs and spices. The most important aspect of feeding dried ingredients is the fact that they are freeze dried, which retains over 98% of the food’s nutritional value in comparison to other drying methods such as heat drying or air drying. And this is where our dry mix comes in! To see it for yourself, and purchase some for your parrot, click HERE.
What is dry mix for parrots?
As mentioned above, parrot dry mix is a combination of freeze-dried fruits and vegetables and dried flowers, herbs and spices. This diverse mixture of ingredients is a healthier alternative to parrot pellets, which are rarely nutritious or beneficial and are made from artificial preservatives and synthetic vitamins and minerals. A well sourced dry mix is highly beneficial, with natural and bioavailable vitamins and minerals, and provides parrots with a large variety of different tastes and textures meaning their meal is also enriching and exciting.
As already mentioned, parrots would never consume one specific ingredient consistently throughout their lifetime, and instead would diversify their food intake as much as possible, ensuring a wide variety of flavours, textures and nutrients. Dry mix takes inspiration from this wild behaviour, and offers a hugely diverse meal that not only provides nutritional and physiological benefits, but also provides mental stimulation, encourages foraging and can help picky eaters become more inquisitive and adventurous.
Dry mix, although high in vitamins and minerals, can be low in protein and fats, and so combining a good diverse and small portion of a seed mix in with the dry mix is usually recommended to make this meal complete.
What is the best way to feed dry mix to a parrot?
We recommend feeding a dried chop in the evening. The best form of measuring out dry mix is to use a table spoon, and a decent starting point is to offer large birds three large tablespoons of dry mix and 1 level tablespoon of seed mix (6 – 10g). For medium birds we suggest two large tablespoons of dry mix and half a tablespoon of seed mix (3 – 5g) and for small birds, one large tablespoons of dry mix and a quarter tablespoon of seed mix (1.5 – 2.5g).
We personally store our self made dry mix and seed mix separately from each other, otherwise the heavier and smaller seeds will fall to the bottom of the tub which makes it more difficult to ensure a good amount and variety of seeds are being included in the meal. This is also why the seed mix, which we include with our dry mix, is packaged separately.
What ingredients are in Mikey and Mia’s Dry Mix
Mikey and Mia’s Dry Mix contains over 50 ingredients, more than any other dry mix supplier in the world, and is a convenient way of offering dry mix to your parrots without the expensive of sourcing such a huge number ingredients yourself. With a variety of fruits such as pomegranate seeds, pear, elderberries and dragon fruit, vegetables such as beetroot, courgette, peas, cauliflower and pumpkin, flowers such as blue cornflower, rose petals, hibiscus and lavender and herbs and spices such as star anise, chillis, oregano, rosemary and cloves, the Mikey and Mia Dry Mix promises a new and exciting combination of flavours at every meal. Mikey and Mia’s Dry Mix is entirely human grade too, using ingredients intended for human consumption because we believe that our pets also deserve high quality food.
The Shelby Dry Mix has few ingredients, however the ingredients chosen are based around ultimate health, consisting of super foods, foods to heal the gut and calm the mind, and provide a high dose of all of the essential vitamins and minerals a bird could need. It is perfect for parrots with problem behaviours such as plucking and screaming as it contains very little fruit, and is therefore low in sugar.
The Petite Beaks parrot food is the perfect food for budgies, cockatiels, parrotlets, conures and any small parrots. Parrot food for small birds, that is healthy and enriching, is hard to come by, so our Petite Beaks mix is perfect for all small birds because of it's higher seed ratio than the other mixes, but also the fact it still contains a large number of ultra healthy, human-grade ingredients, ensuring the health and vitality of your small birds.
Are parrot pellets bad?
When it comes to pellets, not all are created equal. We suggest, that if you’re not quite ready to move on from feeding pellets, that you find a cold pressed pellet, where more nutrients are retained. Also, try to avoid brightly coloured pellets, these are artificially coloured with chemicals that can cause behaviour problems in parrots. Avoiding pellets that are very high in fruit and seed content is also important for the overall health of your parrot. The reason we are so proud to offer our dry mix, is because every single ingredient is natural, and you can even pick through the dry mix finding each ingredient. There is nothing artificial, there are no preservatives and nothing unnecessary has been added in, it’s just purely veg, fruit, herbs, spices and flowers.
The beauty of our dry mix, is that you can combine it with your parrot’s current diet in order to create a slow transition over to a more healthy, whole food diet, or just combine it with pellets from now on, to offer the diversity and enrichment of dry mix whilst also providing something your parrot is accustomed to. Dry Mix can also be combined with a wet chop or stuffed into foraging toys for some healthy fun. There are no rules, we just want your parrots to enjoy exploring new flavours whilst also ensuring their health and wellbeing is catered for.