It’s not always easy to maintain a healthy and balanced diet for a budgie. There may always be a gap in a budgie’s vitamin or mineral requirements, so some owners provide a mineral block.
All budgies can benefit from having a mineral block, especially egg-laying females.
It’ll provide calcium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and certain vitamins. Providing a mineral block can help maintain a budgie’s immune system, bone structure, energy levels, and brain health.
Mineral blocks enable budgies to shave down their beaks to a healthy length, and pecking and scraping at one can serve as a source of enrichment.
DIY mineral blocks include cuttlefish bones, calcium powder, and ground eggshells or oyster shells.
What Do Mineral Blocks Do for Budgies?
Seed alone won’t keep your budgie healthy and energized. Many commercial seed mixes and millet have high amounts of fats and carbohydrates.
Likewise, offering vegetables and fruit is a great way to improve your budgie’s health. However, that alone isn’t always enough to keep your budgie in top shape.
Mineral blocks primarily work to round out a budgie’s diet, as they consist of essential dietary minerals that assist with bone structure, the immune system, energy levels, and brain health.
Also, budgies require an abrasive toy or food to shave down their beaks, keeping them a healthy length. They would have access to twigs, bark, and other surfaces in the wild. In the home, a mineral block usually fulfills this role, and it can even serve as an enrichment toy.
With a mineral block, the budgie has access to essential minerals when the need arises.
Do Budgies Need A Mineral Block?
Wild budgies often have nutritionally complete diets because they have access to a wider variety of foods.
According to the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, this includes various fruits, nuts, and over 40 different types of seeds.
In contrast, many pet budgies don’t receive the same balanced nutrition. They can only eat the food that you make available to them.
According to the American Federation of Aviculture, many budgie seed mixes don’t contain all the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that a healthy budgie requires.
Additionally, many budgies dehull the seeds they eat, stripping them of necessary fiber and B vitamins. So, you must provide your budgie with these nutrients some other way.
Do Female Budgies Need A Mineral Block?
Extra minerals will prevent calcium deficiencies, which female budgies are particularly vulnerable to. This mostly happens when they develop and lay eggs, regardless of whether they successfully hatch.
The need for a mineral block isn’t as great if you only have one female budgie. However, if you plan on breeding budgies, it’s almost essential.
According to the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference, budgies are prone to chronic egg-laying. This happens when a female budgie lays more eggs than is normal for her species.
Female budgies can even lay eggs without a male.
So, a budgie’s calcium levels will diminish with each egg she produces. Her health will inevitably suffer if she doesn’t recoup this lost calcium and other minerals through diet.
Are Mineral Blocks Good for Budgies?
When it comes to selecting the right mineral block, you have the following options:
- Calcium blocks: These are high in calcium but contain trace amounts of essential nutrients.
- Red blocks: These contain calcium and red minerals (copper, zinc, iron, iodine, and manganese).
- Vegetable blocks: These have a calcium base with added vegetables.
- Fruit blocks: These have a calcium base with added fruits.
A regular calcium block will suffice if you provide fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, adding a red block may even give your budgie too much iron or copper in its diet.
If your budgie doesn’t have a broad diet, the more complex blocks can be beneficial.
Cuttlebone or Mineral Block for Budgies
Cuttlebone is usually marketed as having the same benefits as a mineral block. They can provide a budgie with calcium, minerals, and sharpen its beak.
Your budgie may benefit from having a mineral block and a cuttlebone. Mineral blocks provide your budgie with much-needed minerals that it’ll not receive from its normal diet.
That is, without a great deal of planning and effort. These are more diverse and in higher amounts than the trace minerals found in cuttlebone.
However, cuttlefish bone (cuttlebone) is a hard, shell-like structure largely comprised of aragonite, a form of calcium. Mineral blocks contain calcium, but not this particular kind.
How To Make Mineral Block for Budgies
Mineral blocks are relatively simple to make, and many owners create several blocks from one batch of ingredients. Making your own will also give you full control over the recipe.
There’s no danger of preservatives or chemicals, and you can add beneficial ingredients like:
- Cuttlefish bone
- Calcium powder
- Ground eggshells
When mixed correctly, this can result in a mineral block that’s more densely packed with essential nutrients than store-bought versions.
Here’s a list of the most commonly used ingredients:
- Finely-ground chicken eggshells
- Finely-ground oyster shells
- Calcium powder
- Fine mineral grit
- Cuttlefish bone
If you don’t have these ingredients, use ground eggshells, calcium powder, and water. All these ingredients are crucial for a good budgie mineral block.
It’s recommended that you run any eggshells through a blender to create a fine powder.
This is how to make a mineral block for budgies:
- Use an equal amount of any shells.
- Add triple that amount in calcium powder to hold it all together.
- For water, add the same amount as you did with your shells, plus 1/3 cup extra.
- Thoroughly mix the ingredients before pouring them into a mold.
- The mold can be any shape you like, as long as it fits inside your budgie’s cage.
- Let the mixture dry for 1-2 days until firm.
- Mount it to your budgie’s cage, near a perch, so it’s readily accessible.
Providing your budgie with a mineral block is an effective way to ensure that it gets a balanced diet, especially for egg-laying females. However, male budgies will also enjoy various health benefits.