When trying to decide between feeding seed or pellets to your bird, many turn to mixes that combine both seeds and pellets. And it turns out that many “seed” mixes actually include pellets. For example, I did a search for “parrot seed” in Amazon’s US store (I’m not an Amazon affiliate) and looked at the Top 5 results. I listed a summary of the ingredients since the full lists are very, very long (typically a bad sign!):
- Kaytee Forti Diet Pro Health Bird Food For Parrots: Seed, processed grains, nuts, dehydrated vegetables, vitamins
- Wild Harvest Advanced Nutrition Parrot: Predominantly processed grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, eggs, sugar, dehydrated vegetables, vitamins
- Vitakraft Menu Vitamin Fortified Parrot Food: Seed, processed grains, nuts
- Volkman Avian Science Super African Grey and Amazon Bird Food: Seeds, processed grains, dehydrated fruit and vegetables, nuts, artificial flavors(!), vitamins
- Kaytee Supreme Bird Food For Parrots: Seeds, processed grains, nuts, dehydrated vegetables, vitamins
And what does 100% pelleted (processed) food contain? Processed grains, vitamins, and sometimes ground up seeds. Fundamentally the ingredients are the same.
Diets that are truly 100% seed are commonly available in other countries like the UK, Brazil, and Australia. Americans tend to like more engineered diets, so the parrot food companies happily comply (or perhaps “educate” us into thinking their products are the best options for our birds).
So I did a Google image search for “parrot seed” and then looked at the results. All the sponsored ads at the top are American seed companies with seed mixes like mentioned above that are not 100% seed. However, the top 10 actual search results are as follows.
- 5 results are Australia for 100% seed mixes
- 1 result is UK for a 100% seed mix
- 4 results are USA and are seed+pellet mixes
So, what are the takeaways? A truly 100% seed mix is less common it the US than in other countries. Seed mixes in the US often contain pellets, making them very similar ingredient-wise to pelleted (processed) diets. If you truly want to feed 100% seed as your bird’s dry diet, be sure to check the ingredients. If you see processed grains and artificial vitamins, then the mix contains pellets.