Quick Tips for Conversion to Harrison’s Bird Foods
1. Harrison’s Bird Bread Mix can be used as an extremely effective conversion tool. Food that the bird currently eats can be added to the mix and baked in the bread. Gradually reduce the amount of that food and replace with the appropriate Harrison’s formula.
2. Change the bird’s environment. Try moving your bird to a new enclosure, such as a box, aquarium or even a new cage. Remove all the toys, perches and bowls and offer High Potency™ on a solid surface of the floor.
3. Use a mirror or white paper. Sprinkling food over a mirror or sheet of white paper placed on the bottom of the enclosure works especially well for budgies. A bird old enough to be socialized may eat to compete with the “rival” bird in the mirror. A white paper background may draw attention to the food particles.
4. Slowly “wean” your bird from seeds. In the evening, offer seeds from the food bowl for only 1 hour. Then, remove the seeds and replace with High Potency. The next day, give your bird seeds for only 30 minutes in the morning and evening. The third day, reduce the time to only 15 minutes twice a day. And finally, offer only High Potency™ on the fourth day. (Watch the bird’s droppings – not for budgies or finches)
5. Feed your bird at mealtime. Place the food on a plate, move it around with your finger or a spoon and pretend to eat it in front of your bird.
6. Offer Power Treats, Pepper Lifetime Coarse or Adult Lifetime Mash. Birds love the taste of Power Treats™ and Pepper Lifetime Coarse.™ These foods can be crushed for smaller birds. Adult Lifetime Mash also has an appealing taste to help your bird try new food.
7. Use a converted bird as a role model. House your bird near another that’s already eating Harrison’s Bird Foods, or use a “trainer bird” in the same cage as a role model for eating.
8. Heat (warm) or moisten the food. Warm the High Potency slightly or moisten it with a small amount of fruit juice or other liquids.
9. Schedule a supervised diet change with your veterinarian. Some birds do not recognize Harrison’s as food, and placing the bird in a clinic where monitoring can be done will help keep your bird healthy through the conversion.
If the conversion steps don’t work the first time, you can feed the familiar food for a short time and then try again. The effort is worthwhile for the long term health of your bird.
The bird’s weight (in grams), body condition, attitude and droppings should be monitored carefully on a daily basis in small and medium birds and at least twice a week in large birds.
How to Evaluate Your Bird’s Droppings
Clean white paper or other smooth surfaces can be used to collect the droppings. The normal appearance of the feces is usually soft and brown when the bird is eating a formulated diet but may be abnormally dry and black, yellow or green with a seed diet. The normally clear urine may be increased in amount due to excess consumption of fruits and vegetables. Normal urates are creamy white waste from the kidneys and are often suspended in the liquid urine or are “wrapped around” the feces. Any color change in the urates is abnormal. A sick bird may show a change in the volume, color, consistency or frequency of droppings. Feces from egg-laying females, baby birds on hand-feeding formulas and the first void of the morning may be larger than normal, and urine output may increase when the bird is nervous or ill.