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Winter feeding of parakeets outdoors

Expert Question

My Question:
Winter feeding of parakeets in unheated outdoor aviary.
I live in East Anglia. This winter seems especially harsh. The parakeets have sheltered spots but no indoor housing. 2 ringnecks & one alexandrine hen sleep in nest boxes. The others roost outside concealed in fir tree branches.
I feed fresh fruit, birdy bread cooked with vegetables and parakeet seed mix with little sunflowers. I put up wild bird fat balls as well. The parakeets are eating far more seed than in summer. It was suggested that I add more sunflower seed to the mix in cold weather.

Parrot Care
Requestor Name:
Dot Schwarz

Expert Answer

Hi Dot,

Thanks for the question. Your parakeets sound healthy and well-acclimated to life outdoors. However, I understand that a particularly harsh winter is cuase for concern.

Yes, I’d add more sunflower and safflower to a “winter mix” and also supplement with fresh corn on the cob, slightly cooked. Our psittacula relish corn. They’ll also eat other vegetables on cold mornings, especially when served warm—yams, squash and yellow potatoes.

As always, keep a close eye on them and encourage their exercise to maintain good health.

All best,
Phoebe Linden
Santa Barbara Bird Farm

Phoebe Green Linden
About Phoebe Green Linden

In 1986, Phoebe married the love of her life, Harry Linden, at the place of her avicultural beginning, the Santa Barbara Bird Farm. 20 years of dedicated observations and avid learning have formed her opinions surrounding psittacine neonates, neophytes, fledglings and adults who benefit markedly from thoughtfully arranged environments. She and Harry include boxes, playgyms, cages, aviaries and agreed-upon furniture and counter surfaces for parrot activities. There are no spaces in their home or on their property untouched by parrot dander.

During the years they raised parrots for the pet trade (they no longer do, since 2001) and continuing through today, they have dedicated themselves to developing environments that increase observable natural behaviours such as exercising, interacting, foraging for foods, touching, preening, flapping, flying, showering, mulch-making, wild bird watching, helping with chores, and goofing off—not always seen in captive birds. Their experiences are happily shared with World Parrot Trust members with the objective to foster enrichment for captive psittacines and their caregivers.