Feeding your lorikeet
Lorikeets are energetic, entertaining and sometimes messy birds. They can make great pets but special attention must be paid to their diet. Lorikeets are nectar feeders. They do not eat seed, instead consuming nectar, pollen, fruit and vegetables.
Ideally lorikeets are fed a combination of a formulated diet (specifically designed for lorikeets), as well as supplementing with fresh food. Orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin are ideal. Apples, beans, berries, broccoli, carrots, celery, grapes, mango, melon, pears, parsley, pasta, rice, spinach, sweet corn (fresh), oranges and strawberries are other good choices. You can also supplement your lorikeet’s diet with apricot or peach fruit juice.
Slice the fruit and vegetables, or puree them with some added sprouted seeds for your bird. Offer a variety of fresh food, and ensure you don’t leave any purees in the cage overnight as it will quickly spoil. If feeding a formulated diet, do not wet it or add it to the puree, keep them separate. Wet feed is prone to fermentation and bacterial proliferation. If there is food left over at the end of the day, you may be feeding too much!
“Wild” lorikeet fruit has a higher concentration of protein and fibre than our fruit. The higher fibre slows transit time of food through the gut. Slower movement of food through the gut allows better protein uptake (hence the addition of vegetable and sprouted seeds to the puree), as lorikeets digest protein poorly.
You don’t have to go ”bush” and collect your own lorikeet fruit, human grade fruit is acceptable – however remember moderation is the key. But if you do want to get back to nature your lorikeet will appreciate eucalypt, bottle brush and calistemon branches, especially those that are flowering.
Suggested formulated diets for lorikeets:
- Vetafarm® Nectar Pellets, Golden Lori Rice Formula, Forest Fusion Lorikeet Diet
- Harrison’s® High Potency Fine, High Potency Super Fine, Adult Lifetime Fine
- Wombaroo® Lorikeet & Honeyeater Food, Complete Lorikeet food
Do not feed:
Animal based protein, this includes eggs, as egg powder is toxic and there is the risk of bacterial contamination (Salmonella). Putting supplements into drinking water is also not a good idea as there is no way to assess their intake and excesses of some vitamins are quite dangerous.
Lorikeets are particularly messy eaters, so their cage and water becomes contaminated easily. This messy lifestyle promotes yeast and bacterial growth, and lorikeets are susceptible to these disease causing organisms. The food and water containers should be cleansed daily and the cage at least weekly.
Lorikeets don’t have a high demand for drinking water as the food they eat has high moisture content, but water should always be freely available. Remember to have a separate water bowl for bathing.
Vitamin and Energy Requirements
If your lorikeet has been living the good life on simple sugars and saturated fats, obesity is common and a weight loss diet might need to be implemented. It is important not to reduce essential vitamins/minerals. The vitamin/mineral and protein needs remain relatively constant, energy has the greatest fluctuation. Energy needs depend upon various factors:
- Age: older lorikeets have less of a requirement than younger, growing birds.
- Gender & sexual status: egg laying females will require more calcium and energy than non-egg layers and males.
- Behaviour: birds kept in a small aviary will need less energy than those who are free flighted.
- Environment: those birds kept inside with require less energy than those in outdoor aviaries. Energy requirements can double in cold climates, consider where the bird originates and try to maintain a similar climate. Lorikeets within a multi-bird aviary will be more active (there is a pecking order to define), so the number of birds kept will also contribute to energy requirements.
- Season: birds follow a seasonal pattern with their moult, so food requirements will increase during this time.
- Health: sick birds will eat less. A change in the amount your lorikeet is eating can be used as a sign of how well it is doing.
Signs of poor diet
Your lorikeet can’t tell you if there is a problem, they like to do it in a subtle way.
Some signs that your lorikeet’s diet is just not right include:
- excess loss of feathers outside moulting time
- changes in feather colouration, this includes if the colours of your lorikeet are different from the norm. Feather colour can evolve from aberrations in dietary vitamins A, C and E, carotenoids, selenium, zinc and amino acids
- reduced movement
- variation in vocalisation.
We recommend at least yearly wellness check-ups for your lorikeet to ensure they are healthy, and maintaining their weight. If you have any questions or concerns about your lorikeet, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team on 02 6295 0770.