The”Controlled Meals” Method

Some birds switch to a new diet with little to no work on the owner’s part. Other birds are very selective about what they eat. Birds should not be left alone to select their own diets. Like human children, birds will often choose the wrong foods and “parental intervention” is required. The single most important thing you can do for your bird is to feed it right.

For most medium to large parrots species a tried and true method is to follow the “Controlled Meals Method” as outlined below. This method uses small periods of hunger to motivate the bird to switch to Harrison’s nuggets and is typically successful within a week to ten days.

Note: All birds switching to Harrison’s should start out and remain on a High Potency formula for a period of no less than 8 months. Many species are recommended to stay on High Potency.

This method is best used in birds who’s eating habits can be individually observed. Split birds up into different enclosures or rooms during this period if necessary.

To follow the “Controlled Meals” Diet Conversion Method
  • Make fresh Harrison’s nuggets available at all times throughout the day.
  • Select ONE item that you know the bird is known to eat (in most birds this is seed). Discontinue every other item from the bird’s old diet.
  • Make that ONE item available three times a day, for a full 15 minutes (no shorter, no longer), then remove that food completely.  Do not limit the amount of this food available during the 15 minute window (controlled meal). Space these feedings out by periods of 6 hours. Maintain a strict schedule.
  • Offer no other food at any time.
  •  Taper. Once the bird is eating the nuggets remove one feeding window of the older food. The more the bird eats of Harrison’s remove a second window.
  • Once the bird is switched completely to nuggets discontinue all feeding windows.

Birds are notorious tricksters. Confirm the bird is really eating by frequency, volume and color of their “poops”. Poops should never be hard, dark or infrequent. Once fully converted, items like dark green veggies, sweet potato and carrot may be reintroduced. Feed Harrison’s at around 85% or more of the total diet with the remaining foods being the veggies mentioned above.

Never starve a bird.