fetching finches

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Under Construction: WE ARE EVOLVING- Soon to be completed is a section for Grasskeets

Compatible Species
Elegant Grasskeets (Neophema elegans) area actually hookbills (true parrots). The elegant parrot was originally named by the renowned ornithologist and artist John Gould in 1837. It is one of six species of grass parrot in the genus Neophema commonly referred to as "grass parrots," or "grasskeets". They average 8.6-8.75 inches (22 cm) in length and weigh between 1.4 - 1.8 oz (40- 51g)- most of which is from their long tail. Similar to finches; they should not be housed with other Grasskeets as they will hybridize. However, these peaceful birds can be housed with Bourkes, finches, canaries, doves and quail.

Because of their compact size, they have an almost identical diet to that of passerines (finches, etc). One would assume they require slightly less protein than most passerines as they are Psittaculidae, but that is false as they spend time in the treetops- but are commonly seen on the ground looking for insects (unlike other 'parakeets'. 

In their natural habitat, these parakeets eat seeds as well as seasonally available fruits, flowers, fruit, buds, plant and vegetable matter & insects.

Daily Diet: 1/3 pellets, 1/3 fruit/veggies/flowers, 1/3 seed
I want to be clear about this: pellets are nutritionally balanced to some degree. But the processing means that some of the nutrition is either destroyed or down right artificial. I may use them but I prefer natural.

Seed mix (finch or parakeet- usually 14 different seeds)
  • Commercial mix- I use a mixture of a parakeet mix from the big box store, and specialty mix from Lady Gouldian that I mix myself with extra seeds from the supermarket. You can read more about this on the 'Advanced Nutrition' section of this site. Here are the types:

    Red millet, Niger, White millet, Red millet, German millet, Siberian millet, Canary grass, Buckwheat, Hemp, Paddy rice, Peeled oats, Wild turnip, Rolled oats, Sunflower, Sorghum, Safflower, Wheat, Linseed, Sesame, Lettuce, Flax, Chia and Poppy. For flavor there is citrus, honey and rosehips. There is added Vit A / D3, Calcium, Sodium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, Iodine, Copper, Manganese & Zinc and Echinacea.

Harrisons pellets and Roudybush pellets
Rotating items (daily- but may vary)
Egg food with crushed shell, cuddlebone and probiotics
Sprouted seed (I sprout about 20 different seeds in a professional sprouter- you can purchase a machine like this online so you- and your whole family can enjoy)
  • beet, broccoli, kohlrabi, swiss chard, radish, mustard, watercress, alfalfa, cabbage, clover, spring greens. ONLY the greens: lentil, mung, garbanzo, pea, adzuki, kamut, fenugreek, herbs, moringa
Fresh veggies (10 different kinds)
  • bok choy, winter squash (butternut, acorn, etc), zucchini, kale, collard greens, carrot, beets (blonde beets), celery, spring greens (including spinach), peppers, broccoli, pea pods, green beans, cauliflower, parsley, cilantro
Fresh fruit (at least 2 kinds)
  • apple, pear, figs, banana, cherries, blueberries, orange
Fresh flowers (as available please ensure they are organic as you dont want them with pesticides)
  • aster, carnations, chrysanthemum, daisies, hibiscus, nasturtium, pansies, roses
Herbal Tonic - (separate dish)
  • see 'advanced nutrition' portion of this site
Bee Pollen

Band size is usually a 4.2mm (same as my German Zebs- MUCH larger than a society or most other finches).

Emergency formula for abandon baby birds. Commercial formulas are available:
2 tsp fresh orange juice (Vit C)
1/2 tsp ground and soaked high quality cat food (as it has taurine- remember these parrots actually do consume a large amount of insects in the wild)
1/2 tsp banana (potassium and magnesium)
1/2 tsp carrot puree (vit A)
1/2 tsp hard boiled egg (13 essential vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein)
1/2 tsp quinoa flour (Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids.. It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants)
1/8 tsp honey (local and fresh if possible- antioxidants )
1/8 tsp peanut butter (thickener- B6)
1/8 tsp apple sauce (helps crop mobility/sour crop)
sprinkle of probiotics and bird vitamins (that includes calcium)... this fills in the gaps.

Otherwise my formula for babies consists of: Parrot hand rearing formula, with a pinch of the lorikeet nectar. These birds live in Australia- and generally mate right after the rainy season. They are surrounded by fresh fruit and insects. Therefore this mimics that diet.
Parrot hand rearing formula- This becomes the base (if you are experienced- you should have this on hand)
Lorikeet nectar- this in just a sprinkle -filled with the fruits, herbs and pollen they need for a strong immune system. I prefer 'Blessings Gourmet' as it also has papaya extract and numerous homeopathic herbs- it is expensive, but well worth it.
Protein- again, just a sprinkle- I use quinoa flour, or pureed hard boiled egg.
Apple juice- helps with potential issues of sour crop. I add a couple drops in the formula

Like many birds- birds need a way to trim their beaks. I use a couple different methods:

Cuddlebone is pretty easy- the squid bones provide calcium and a abrasive surface for birds to do 'self maintenance. However they sometimes do contain extra calcium (you can check the bone by soaking it is water and using an aquarium water testing kit).

My birds didnt 'love' cuddlebone. My trick to get them to initially begin using it is simple:
I take the cuddlebone, and put a very thin coat of sunflower butter over a portion of it (make it at home- so you know it is salt free and clear) then use that as a glue to add some millet. This attracted them to the cuddlebone in which they then became familiar. Another option is to hang the cuddlebone close to some fresh fruit or 'parrot sticks' so they get acclimated with the size/color/shape and realize it is in fact 'edible'.

Manu Mineral Blocks
The Manu mineral is actually a clay that is digestible and Macaws use it as a mineral supplement in the wild.

Natural wood
Most importantly- USE REAL NATURAL WOOD. the crevices not only help with beaks- but the joints of birds. Especially with a bird that loves to 'stand around'. They are considerably less active that other birds and therefore need unique surfaces to stand on.