Nutrition


Lineolated Parakeets have an astonishing metabolism. Before them I just knew budgies a little bit closer, so I really was surprised how much those little parakeets can gulp in a very short time. In comparison to the excretions of the budgies, those of the Lineolated Parakeets are accordingly ample. After a fruity meal, especially the consistency is more liquid than solid, so that inexperienced bird keeper immediately could consider an abnormal diarrhoea. However, usually this is totally normal and no cause for concern.

For satisfying his never ending seeming hunger, the Lineolated Parakeet is busy with eating during the day. A well-balanced nutrition is a great condition for a healthy bird. In total, the grain food should not be more than 50% of the food, more or less 20% of it should be various millets.

With the acclimatised progeny of the Lineolated Parakeet usually there are no problems with the acceptance of the offered food. If the parakeets should be distrustful or reserved after the first days in a new accommodation, you can bring every stubborn food denier out of their shells with foxtail millet and apples, which are the favourites of the Lineolated Parakeets. After familiarisation usually every commercial parakeet or cockatiel seed mix and various fruits will be accepted.

The digestive tract of the parrots is perfectly adapted to the primary vegetable food. They have a thick, fleshy tongue which is a highly sensitive organ with lots of tactile corpuscles and thus makes feeling and a selection of the food possible. But also for turning and rotating it is excellently suitable (Lantermann 1999).

After the intake and if necessary the chopping up of the food, it gets into the crop. As an "extension of the oesophagus" (Lantermann 1999) it serves for storing of large amounts of food. Form the crop, in which a pre-digestion takes place, the food will be choked up for feeding of the partner or the brood or will be transported further to the glandular stomach with help of the peristalsis. As you can consider from the name, in the glandular stomach digestive enzymes and acids will be added to the nutritive paste, whereas in the afterwards following gizzard ("muscular stomach") the digestion will be pushed mechanically by strong muscle contractions. Here we have to mention the "gizzard grits", which are very important for parrots. These are small stones, which were taken in with the food or even consciously. They are especially found at seed-eating species. They are supporting more or less as "dentures" the mechanical comminution of the food, while they are milling or at least damaging solid components by muscle movements of the stomach. As a result, the also in the gizzard added digestive juices could do their "work" easier.

Surely, the daily offer of fresh water must not be forgotten. Lineolated Parakeets are no birds of the dry steppe, like e.g. budgies. Therefore, they daily need considerably more liquid than those. That's why always enough water has to be available (surely, this does not only count for Lineolated Parakeets!)
Like the Psittacinae (the real parrots) the Lineolated Parakeets draw water with the hollow-like tip of the tongue. By pressing the tongue on the palate the liquid will be swallowed (Homberger 1980).

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