When choosing a seed mix for your birds, go for very best you can get hold of. It should contain a good balance of grass seed, grain, legumes and oily seed (see the lists in the sections below). However, the ideal seed mix isn’t to be found in any one type of commercially available budgie food. You also need to feed sprouting and sprouted seeds.
When seeds germinate they are transformed, nutritionally speaking. As they sprout they produce a rich supply of vitamins and nutrients lacking in dry seed. The sprouted seed is easy to produce at home, and you should be able to find a supplier too, if you don’t fancy DIY sprouting. This type of seed soon goes mouldy, so don’t store it for more than three days. If you only sprout or buy in small amounts, you can serve it as and when it’s ready and not have to worry about wastage.
Too many budgies for this seed bowl!
If all this comes as news to you, and your budgie has been fed exclusively on a dry seed mix, you can still wean him onto other things. Like any fast food junkie, it might require the temporary removal of all temptation. Prepare a good food mix, using items from the food lists below, remove the dry seed for the time being, and place a portion of the mix where you usually place the seed. Hunger will force your fussy bird to eat what you give him; and because it’s actually good stuff, the bird will usually be won over in a day or two. After that, you can return the dry seed to the cage, while maintaining the varied diet.
All budgies are different, and some may be more resistant to change than others. Many take a few days to get used to a new foodstuff. Keep introducing it into the cage, though, and even the fussiest will finally succumb to natural curiosity and give it a go.
Budgie Sprout Seeds
Many of the seeds in the lists below are suitable for sprouting. In the summer and autumn Nature does some of the hard work for you, offering a ready supply of seeding grasses.
Don’t try sprouting grains, especially oats, as these soon go mouldy. Another one to avoid is flax, which goes slimy as part of the germination process, something budgies find very disagreeable.
To get the DIY germination going, rinse a small batch of seeds under a tap in a plastic sieve and then soak in a bowl in fresh cold water for no more than 8 hours. Any longer than this and they will begin to ferment. Rinse the seeds again in a sieve, and then suspend it over the bowl and cover it. Between 24 and 48 hours later the seeds will start to sprout. Rinse them every 8 hours or so to prevent mildew forming.
Sprouting seed is a good source of nutrients
Once sprouted, dry the seeds on a tea towel before giving them to the budgies. Never offer them too cold (i.e. from the fridge). The most palatable seeds for budgies are ones that have only just germinated. Serving them ones that have sprouted a little more is good for them nutritionally, however, so you should offer the seeds over a three-day period to catch the different stages of sprouting.