17 Ways To Get Your Fussy Bird To Try New Foods
Introducing new foods to your bird can often be a challenge.
Whether it be new vegetables, fruits, or healthy snacks, it’s good to know a few ways to introduce these foods to your feathered friends.
In this article, you’ll learn 17 different ways to get your bird to try new foods.
I continue to use these methods when introducing new foods to my fussy cockatiel and after a few attempts with various methods, he’ll be eating it.
Definitely try other methods if you don’t get them eating it straight away.
- How To Get Your Bird To Try New Foods
- 1) Cut The Food Into Bite-Sized Pieces
- 2) Mash The Food
- 3) Clip It To The Side Of The Cage
- 4) Hang The Food From The Cage Ceiling
- 5) Eat New Foods In Front Of Your Bird
- 6) Encourage Them To Steal Your Food
- 7) Pair New Foods With Their Favourite Foods
- 8) Serve New Foods In Familiar Feeding Locations
- 9) Introducing New Foods When Your Bird Is Hungry
- 10) Hand Feeding New Foods
- 11) Make Your Bird Forage For New Foods
- 12) Prepare The New Food Around Your Bird
- 13) Try Different Cooking Methods
- 14) Provide New Foods To Them As Babies (If Possible)
- 15) Don’t Give Up!
- 16) Offer Different Coloured Vegetables
- 17) Experiment With Different Temperatures
- Tips & Tricks For Getting Your Bird To Try New Foods
How To Get Your Bird To Try New Foods
Before tasting it, your bird will not know that the food you’re serving is actually something they can eat.
They simply won’t recognise new objects that you give them as food.
For this reason, birds typically avoid new foods the first time it’s served.
Once you introduce the food to them and they understand that it’s edible, it’s only a matter of encouraging them to eat it.
However, this article is about introducing new foods to your birds.
Below are 17 effective ways to do this…
1) Cut The Food Into Bite-Sized Pieces
Presentation is a significant factor in determining whether or not your bird will investigate the new food.
One way to present new foods is to chop them up into little pieces.
Large and unfamiliar objects may be a bit scary to birds.
Bite-sized pieces are far less intimidating and can easily be served in a bowl or on a plate.
This is quite a simple way to prepare fruits and vegetables.
2) Mash The Food
Most types of fruits and vegetables can be mashed up and served on a plate or in a bowl.
For birds who don’t like to try new solid foods, this is a great alternative.
Simply grab the foods you wish to serve and mash them up with a potato masher inside their food bowl.
You could mash it slightly or turn it into a puree.
Blenders are great for turning veggies into a puree.
If your bird won’t eat the mash by itself, you can also top it off with some seeds to make it more appealing.
3) Clip It To The Side Of The Cage
Clipping food to the inside of the cage is a good way to grab your bird’s attention.
In my opinion, leafy greens are the easiest foods to clip using a peg.
Here’s my cockatiel enjoying some bok choy for the first time:
If you’re trying to clip foods like broccoli or carrot, you may need to carve it so the peg can actually hold it.
Make sure you only use wooden pegs that are safe for birds to chew on.
4) Hang The Food From The Cage Ceiling
This is similar to clipping food to the side of the cage except you’ll be hanging it from the cage ceiling instead.
With leafy greens, you can weave them through or peg them onto the ceiling bars.
With other foods, you may need to find more creative ways to hang them from the ceiling.
I suggest using a stainless steel skewer.
Your bird should become curious about the strange new object hanging from the ceiling, which will likely cause them to give it a taste test.
5) Eat New Foods In Front Of Your Bird
By eating new foods in front of your parrot, you’ll be showing them that it’s edible and safe to eat.
You’ll also be encouraging them to eat it as most birds like to copy their flock mates.
Birds always want to be a part of what you’re doing.
If you want to introduce strawberries to your bird, sit down and eat one berry while leaving another one near your bird to eat.
Once you start eating, your bird should come and try the other berry.
6) Encourage Them To Steal Your Food
If you’ve kept birds for long enough, you’ll know that they always want what they can’t have.
Refusing to share your food may intrigue them to steal it from you.
Because if they can’t have it, they’ll want it!
Simply eat the food near your bird, but do not offer it to them.
Wait until they seem really interested in what you’re eating and then turn away from the food.
If your bird is cheeky enough, they’ll try to swoop in and eat it while you’re not looking.
Little would they know, that’s what you want them to do.
7) Pair New Foods With Their Favourite Foods
Serving new foods alongside familiar foods such as seeds, pellets, or other vegetables, will help your bird associate this new food as something edible.
If you’re trying to introduce broccoli, you could place some seeds between the green heads.
As your bird is digging out the seeds, they might feel like tasting some of the broccoli.
Once they taste it and they enjoy it, they’ll continue eating it.
Of course, that’ll only happen once all the seeds are gone 😂
8) Serve New Foods In Familiar Feeding Locations
Birds are very smart, they can associate food with certain times of the day and locations within the cage.
When introducing new foods, you can serve them near one of your bird’s usual feeding locations.
This will help your bird understand that this new object is actually food.
What I do is clip new foods near the usual food bowl location while also removing the bowl.
When they get hungry, your bird will instinctively go to their usual feeding location which is where they’ll find the new food.
They’ll choose to either taste it or go find some other food.
9) Introducing New Foods When Your Bird Is Hungry
As previously mentioned, birds often associate food with certain times of the day.
If you’re trying to get your bird to eat new food, it’s a good idea to serve it at their usual eating times.
Most birds get hungry in the mornings after a full night of rest.
Try serving new food in the morning and near their usual feeding spot.
Your bird might be a little confused at first, but if they’re hungry, they’ll investigate their new food.
This might work better if the food is served in their bowl, further reinforcing the fact that it’s food.
10) Hand Feeding New Foods
Presenting unfamiliar food with your hand is probably the best way to encourage your bird to at least try it.
This is because birds are typically curious about anything you put in front of their face.
Simply grab a small portion of the new food and bring it to their beak.
And why not pair this with the 5th method?
Grab another portion of the same food and start eating it yourself!
Doing both of these things will heavily encourage your bird to taste the new food.
11) Make Your Bird Forage For New Foods
Birds in the wild will typically discover new foods through foraging.
Simply add whatever you’re trying to introduce into a foraging toy and your bird should come across it when searching for seeds or other treats.
This method works especially well when trying to introduce pellets or other dried foods.
At first, your bird may see this new stuff as foraging material, but upon closer inspection, they’ll realise that it’s actually edible.
It’s a great way to make new food discoveries more interesting.
If your bird enjoys it, they will continue to find and eat the new food within the foraging toy.
12) Prepare The New Food Around Your Bird
Having your bird nearby when you’re preparing new foods will cause anticipation.
Even if they have no idea what it is, they’ll be waiting for it as they can see you preparing it for them.
It’s another flock behaviour.
They’ll see a flock member interacting with something for long periods and it’ll naturally make them curious about it.
As you’re preparing the food, you could start eating it yourself to show your bird that it’s edible.
Note: Do not have your bird near boiling water as their anticipation could cause them to jump in, and I’m guessing you don’t want chicken for dinner.
13) Try Different Cooking Methods
All birds will like their foods prepared differently.
Raw, steamed, and boiled, are all good ways to serve vegetables to your bird.
Birds who enjoy steamed carrots may not like raw carrots.
If you’re having trouble getting your bird to eat a certain food, it’s a good idea to try cooking it in different ways.
Again, don’t have your bird nearby when cooking.
14) Provide New Foods To Them As Babies (If Possible)
The best way to get birds accustomed to new foods is to feed them as babies.
Baby birds who get more food variety will be more willing to try new foods as adults.
Also, your bird will remember the food you fed them when they were babies and will be more willing to eat them as adults.
When it comes to a healthy bird diet, it’s best to start as young as possible.
This may not be possible if your bird is fully grown, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
15) Don’t Give Up!
Just because your bird refused the new food once, doesn’t mean they’ll refuse it forever.
Be persistent when introducing new foods, don’t give up after one try.
Your bird may not try it the first, second, or even third time.
However, if you keep trying different methods and presentations, they’ll eventually taste it.
Once they taste it, they’ll let you know if they like it or not.
They keep eating it = they like it
They ignore it after tasting it = they don’t like it
If you discover that your bird doesn’t like that particular food, you should try introducing other foods.
16) Offer Different Coloured Vegetables
Bright colours attract attention.
If your bird is failing to acknowledge green veggies such as spinach or beans, you could try offering some red veggies like capsicum or red chilli.
Red things are more attention-grabbing.
You could also do a large veggie mix full of different colours.
Your bird is bound to find at least one attractive food out of that mix.
Once they’re attracted to the food, it’s only a matter of tasting it and liking it.
17) Experiment With Different Temperatures
If you find that your bird doesn’t want to eat cold foods, you could try warming it up a little.
Don’t worry, slightly heated foods are completely safe for birds.
Some birds might actually prefer warmer foods over cold foods.
If they won’t eat their new food while it’s cold, try putting it in the microwave for a few minutes to heat it up.
I’ve even seen some birds enjoy cold vegetable mixes straight from the freezer.
Tips & Tricks For Getting Your Bird To Try New Foods
Below are a few more ideas you can use to help encourage your fussy feathered friend to try new foods:
- New and healthy foods should be introduced to your birds as young as possible. This will prevent them from being too hesitant when trying new foods as adults.
- New foods are often not recognised by birds as food straight away. Until they taste it, the new food will just be a weird object you placed in their cage.
- Introducing and encouraging birds to eat new foods is completely up to their owners.
- Introducing new foods (particularly healthy vegetables) is important for keeping your birds diet nutritious and varied.
- The more varied the diet, the healthier the bird.
- Some of the methods can be combined to significantly encourage your bird to try new foods.
Feel free to contact me for any more tips or advice on feeding new food to birds 🙂
View some of my related posts if you like:
- Full list of safe vegetables for parrots
- Full list of safe fruits for parrots
- Complete list of toxic foods for parrots