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Sandra February 06, 2022

Treat Sizes for Parrots

Do you ever wonder what is the ideal treat sizes for birds to train or reward them?

First, let's determine what a treat for your bird is.  

  • Something that's consumed quickly: You want this to be a fast snack so that they don't forget what they are working/getting rewarded for. It needs to be small enough that it's fast and doesn't fill them. (More room for more training!). If you are waiting in between reps during training, take the treat size down a notch. 
  • Something your bird WANTS: The treat needs to be of high value for your bird, something they desire but don't get all the time. This will motivate them to work for the treat!

High-value rewards/treats for birds include:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Millet
  • Dried fruit
Nuts can be shelled, but for sunflower or safflower seeds, you can give them shelled because it's fun for your bird to open the seeds (foraging).

Always make sure you offer nuts and seeds that are raw/natural. DO NOT offer salted or roasted nuts for your bird.

Let's look at treat sizes; on the left, you can see the entire raw treat, and on the right, you can see how small you can break down the nuts to use as rewards - depending on the size of your bird.

Safflower and sunflower seeds are the ideal size for treats. Pine nuts are perfect too but with conures or budgies, you can break them in half to get more reps in a training session.

You can cut the bigger nuts down to smaller bits, and as you can see you can get a lot of training treats out of a walnut! The size of your bird depends on the size of the treat. You can either use one cashew as a training rep, or you can get nine reps from a cashew!

Cosmic Rewards

This is not to say that you can't offer your bird entire nuts. You can offer entire nuts, but these are COSMIC REWARDS! These treats are out-of-this-world-amazing for your bird, so they should be rewarded when they have done something that was a big deal, like overcoming a fear or showing behaviour you want to see/enforce or they do well during training. Mango loves getting the entire pistachio, shell and all, so he can break it open and get to the goods. Where Mia, on the other hand, loves getting entire almonds, so she munches away on their sweet crunch. 

Treats are a great way to train with your bird, reward behaviours you want to encourage and build a positive relationship with your bird. 

Enjoy! xx