Power Up Those Bird Brains

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Birds are smart cookies. They are problem solvers, puzzle players and they tend to learn very quickly. If you have ever seen Alex the African Grey’s videos where he works a problem, counts objects and gives the right answer to many questions about those objects, you will see the intelligence this bird had immediately. Crows have been seen not only using tools to solve problems but actually modifying the tools to make them work more efficiently.

Having a respect for that intelligence includes taking this into consideration when feeding them a healthy diet. 

The brain is a hungry organ. It needs a lot of energy to function properly. As a matter of fact it takes twice the amount of energy to work properly than any other type of cell in the body. Birds may have a small brain compared to ours but it functions in similar ways and it’s made the same stuff ours are made of. About 60% of the brain is composed of fat. 

Beings that use their brain on a regular basis are going to need that organ fed. Because parrots are as intelligent as they are, they need foods that tend to the needs of a busy brain.

The first thing the brain needs is clean, fresh water. Keeping your bird hydrated by providing fresh clean water any place they hang out is crucial. It should be in their house of course, but it should also be provided on their play stand if they use one as well as any outdoor enclosure they might have access to.


There are also certain foods at your grocery store that can help with brain function. Feeding these to your bird might not make her smarter, but it probably wouldn't hurt to pay attention to this important another dietary need. 

Brains use calories like there’s no tomorrow. You can sit and not move much doing nothing but thinking hard, (not unlike sitting and writing for hours) and you’ll be drained after a while.

One of the reasons for this is the heavy leaning you do on your neurotransmitters when you're doing all that deep thinking. 

What allows you to process thoughts are these neurotransmitters. When you eat food high in omega 3 fatty acids you are feeding the neurotransmitters with powerful fuel you require to have parts of the brain effectively communicate with other parts. This is how you put thoughts together. By feeding them, your thoughts come quicker and you are able to process them faster. These messages happen in a nanosecond and they affect everything you do. 

While eggs are something you shouldn’t feed your bird every day, they do help in this way. They are high in Omega 3 fatty acids and parrots need the same types of nutrition to keep their brains in good working order. Eggs have a chemical called choline in them. This choline works well at this task because it speeds up the signals in the brain. This makes the brain function better and more efficiently. 

Some of the favorite foods I like to feed my birds that boosts their ability to use their brains are what I call the “B” foods: bananas, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli rabe, brown rice and Brussels sprouts. I also include uncooked oatmeal, an excellent brain food in their Chop, and I use it in Grain Bake as well.


Proteins are also important for proper brain function. Some examples of high protein vegetables you can feed your flock are lentils, peas, walnuts, almonds, wheat germ and cranberries. These are just a few foods that would provide a nice boost of protein to add protein to your bird’s diet.  

We all know how brainy our birds are. Let’s keep that brain busy by giving them the brain food they need.