Budgies go crazy for millet, so it’s a staple of many commercial seed mixes. Even fussy eaters indulge in this tasty treat. Millet is flavorful with a crunchy texture and an appealing color.
Unfortunately, millet is a high-fat food that lacks certain essential vitamins and minerals. Also, millet addiction can lead to budgies refusing other food, resulting in starvation.
When rationed to 1 teaspoon daily, millet is a relatively healthy dietary addition. Millet addiction can usually be resolved by offering budgies alternative foods and slowly weaning them off millet.
What Is Millet?
Millet is often pictured as clusters of golden grains on a stalk. It can look like seeds when harvested, but its biological classification is closer to sorghum (grass family).
There are various millet varieties, and the most common have yellow and brown shades.
Millet can be found worldwide, most commonly in Asia and Africa. However, some types of millet are native to Australia, especially in the western territories, where budgies live in the wild.
As mentioned, millet is a common addition to commercial bird feed. Although any millet can be used, the preferred one is proso millet, which has a pale yellow color.
Is Too Much Millet Bad For Budgies?
Budgies can eat too much millet, which has adverse health implications.
The high amounts of fat can lead to your budgie becoming overweight. Most worryingly, budgies may start to refuse other foods, consuming nothing but millet.
Millet doesn’t contain all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that budgies need to stay healthy. This means that a budgie fed a diet of millet will become malnourished and vitamin A deficient.
Overfeeding millet can lead to a budgie becoming dependent on this treat. If it starts gaining weight and you begin to reduce its millet consumption, the budgie may go on a hunger strike.
Unfortunately, budgies that stop eating food rarely survive for longer than 24 hours.
Can Budgies Survive On Millet?
Pet budgies can’t survive on millet alone. Wild budgies that regularly eat millet from bird feeders and open fields don’t live exclusively on millet.
Wild budgies are less likely to become addicted to millet as they have more food sources. Also, wild birds require more energy to fly around and survive, so they can burn off the extra fat content of millet.
Without intervention, a millet-addicted budgie can die from malnutrition. This is why veterinarians recommend giving your budgie a mix of pellets, seeds, nuts, fruit, and vegetables.
Why Do Budgies Love Millet?
Budgies go wild for millet, even if they’re picky about other foods. Budgies love this cereal grain because it meets their taste and preferences.
Let’s explore the reasons why budgies like millet so much:
Budgies naturally want to forage and work for their food. Millet allows budgies to pick through the grains to get to the seed, ensuring that mealtime doubles as a source of enrichment.
This is even more true with millet sprays, which are a long, thick stem covered in seeds. It resembles a wheat stalk closely and allows budgies to pull, tear, throw, and feed on the treat.
Millet is crunchy, abrasive, and layered. Since budgies naturally feed on seeds, grains, and nuts, they prefer harder food that wears down their beaks.
Millet has a mild flavor likened to corn with a sweet tang. Budgies are known for their sweet tooth and enjoy subtle flavors that aren’t overwhelming.
Additionally, millet has natural fats and carbs, creating a rich but delicate taste that budgies enjoy.
Budgies see in color and can even pick up ultraviolet light hues that humans can’t see.
So, they’re entertained by vibrant colors and a wide range of shades. Millet is found in many colors, but the most popular type of millet has a bright yellow hue.
Some budgies love to eat millet because it’s tasty, fun to eat, brightly colored, and boosts energy levels.
Is Millet Good For Budgies?
Millet is a treat for budgies, but it doesn’t contain all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need to grow and thrive. All seeds and grains are bad for budgies if it’s all they eat.
Millet contains a high amount of fat and carbs, which can lead to:
- Yeast infections
- Millet addiction
Even still, millet is a great food to offer budgies in moderation.
Seeds and grains are essential for keeping a budgie’s diet balanced. Millet is high in protein, fiber, and natural fats, as long as your budgie doesn’t eat too much.
|Millet Nutrition Facts||In 1 cup (174 grams)|
Millet is a great source of the following minerals and nutrients:
Vets also recommend millet in specific cases:
Millet is high in fiber, making it good for your budgie’s digestion.
It contains two types of dietary fiber:
- Soluble fiber: A prebiotic that helps the good bacteria in the gut.
- Insoluble fiber: Adds bulk to stools, so constipation is less likely.
Millet is rich in antioxidants, specifically phenolic compounds (catechins and ferulic acid). Each has been linked to lower levels of oxidative stress.
According to Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, ferulic acid is known to:
- Heal wounds faster
- Protect the skin
- Acts as an anti-inflammatory
Catechins bind to heavy metals in the blood. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, this lowers the risk of metal poisoning.
Antioxidants give plants a reddish tinge. So, millet with darker colors will contain more antioxidants, including proso millet and foxtail millet.
How To Stop A Millet Addiction
Not every budgie will fall prey to millet addiction, but you can rebalance its diet if it happens.
These tips will encourage your budgie to eat other foods and stop hunger strikes:
Wean Your Budgie
The best approach is to gradually wean your budgie off millet. Instead of removing it all at once, reduce the amount by 10% daily and replace it with healthier foods.
You can slowly decrease the millet and increase the other foods in the coming days or weeks.
Instead of swapping out millet with a blander seed, provide a less addictive treat. This can be fruits, vegetables, or nuts, especially if they have crunchy textures or sweeter flavors.
Red millet contains larger grains, making it harder for budgies to eat as much or as quickly.
This is perfect for fulfilling your budgie’s need to forage while limiting its millet intake. Also, red millet contains more antioxidants, making it a healthier food choice.
When giving millet sprays to your budgie, cut them into smaller pieces to ensure the budgie gets the enrichment it needs while limiting its intake.
Budgies can eat too much millet, and if this is allowed to continue, it can lead to death due to starvation or malnutrition. Limit your budgie’s millet intake to 1 teaspoon per day.