Lories and Lorikeets - Feeding
"Lory or lorikeet will eat a LOT and likely have frequent and often very loose projectile droppings."
Our knowledge of bird nutrition is constantly evolving. This is due both to heightened awareness of the importance of nutrition and to increased research into birds different needs. As with all other animals, birds need a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. Different species of birds often require different foods. Lories and lorikeets are also known as "Brush Tongued Parrots" due to their unique tongues that are adapted for their highly specialized dietary needs. Lories and lorikeets have a high moisture diet and a relatively short digestive tract, which make for a very quick transit time. This means that your lory or lorikeet will eat a LOT and likely have frequent and often very loose projectile droppings. It is NOT uncommon to have blue droppings 15-20 minutes after eating blueberries!
Should I be concerned about what my lory or lorikeet eats?
Nutrition is commonly neglected with pet birds. You should discuss your lory or lorikeet's nutrition with your veterinarian! Too often owners assume they are feeding a proper diet to their lory or lorikeet when in fact they are not. This is a common reason for many health problems. Lories and lorikeets have highly specialized dietary needs. It is important to continually strive to improve your bird's diet. This involves constantly educating yourself as well as a certain degree of common sense. It is not sufficient to feed a lory or lorikeet just to maintain life; instead, your goal should be to help it thrive and flourish. Your bird's health depends on how well it is fed.
What does my Lory or Lorikeet naturally eat?
Lories and lorikeets eat nectar and pollens in the wild. They will also consume soft foods like fruits, berries, blossoms, and buds. They are not really seedeaters in the wild.
What should I feed my Lory or Lorikeet?
There are a number of excellent commercial nectar and pollen substitutes available for lories and lorikeets. These products should be mixed in small quantities and changed at least twice daily, as they will spoil readily. These foods will spoil if not mixed fresh and put in clean dishes. Do not mix up more then needed for one feeding. Some commercial foods are Nekton® Lory, Quiko® Lory, Avico® Lory Life and CeDe® Lory food. Kaytee® Exact pellets and Hagen® Tropican pellets have also been fed for many years with good success.
"Excellent commercial nectar and pollen substitutes available for lories and lorikeets."
Fruits and Vegetables
A large variety of diced fruits, such as those listed at the end of this handout, should be offered every day and should constitute the majority of the diet. You may find that your lory or lorikeet prefers softer slightly overripe fruits (but ensure there is no rot on the fruits). Cut them into manageable pieces depending on the size of the bird and offer a fruit salad. Offer fruits and vegetables in a separate dish. If your bird appears to develop a particular fancy for one food item, reduce its volume or stop feeding it temporarily to promote the eating of other foods.
Various sliced, shredded or finely diced vegetables may be offered but this should NOT be a large part of a lory or lorikeet's diet. Pale vegetables, with a high water composition (i.e. iceberg or head lettuce, celery), offer very little nutritional value. Avocado is reported to be potentially toxic.
Fruits and vegetables must be washed thoroughly to remove chemicals.
- Treat your bird like a small child; offer a small piece of a variety of food items daily and never stop trying.
- A well balanced diet must be maintained at all times.
- Consult your veterinarian if encountering any problems with diet or the health of your bird.
- Remember that you train the bird; do not let it train you.
"Treat your bird like a small child; offer a small piece of a variety of food items daily and never stop trying."
Fresh clean water must be available at all times. Depending on the quality of your tap water, you might consider the use of bottled water. Dishes must be cleaned thoroughly every day with soap and water. With lories and lorikeets, the water will be used to bathe in as well. Keep it clean.
What about other foods?
As a rule any wholesome, nutritious food that you and your family eat your bird can eat. Follow the general guidelines discussed above and use your common sense. It is common sense that junk food, chocolate, products containing caffeine and alcoholic beverages be avoided.
Does my bird need extra vitamins, minerals or amino acids?
Your veterinarian can help you assess your bird's diet and its particular needs. One opinion suggests that a bird eating 75 - 80% of its diet in the form of nectar food may not need supplements. Specific vitamins or minerals may be more important at various times during a bird's life (e.g., egg laying requires calcium supplementation). Calcium supplements are available if your lory or lorikeet is determined to be deficient.
Powdered supplements, such as Nekton-S® (by Nekton-Produkte), Quiko® or Prime® (by Hagen), are often regarded as more stable. Mix these products in water or preferably apply directly onto moist food.
What pointers should I remember about feeding my lory or lorikeet?
- Always monitor the amount of food eaten every day by each bird.
- Offer fresh water every day.
- Offer a variety of fresh foods every day.
- Offer fresh fruits and vegetables every day
- Clean all food and water dishes daily.
- No to a food item one day does not mean no forever - KEEP TRYING!
Some suggested food items include:
|apple||cherries (not the pit)||pear|
|apricots||Chinese vegetables (bok choy)||peas|
|asparagus||coconut||peppers (red/green & hot)|
|beans (cooked) such as:||cucumber||plum|
|chick peas||dandelion leaves||pomegranate|
|lima||fig||raisins (soaked overnight)|
|cabbage||orange ||sweet potato|