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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Somehow, during the last six weeks, Zappy has gained about six grams (I'm weighing him in the mornings every week or so). He weights 123 grams (up from 117 six weeks ago and up from 109 five months ago)! I used the sticky threads on here to determine with his Keelbone that he is indeed overweight. I just can't figure out what I can do to get him to lose weight.

A typical day:
I recently started the 2nd year of my master's program, so I'm away from home for longer periods of time than I was before. As soon as I get home, I get Zappy out. He typically climbs around on his play gym for a few hours before we go to bed.

His diet consists of:
-40% Nutriberries
-50% Pellets
-10% Veggies and Fruits

I started him on Avi-Calm a few months ago due to the severity and frequency of his injuries. He is the most anxious bird on this planet. I've almost lost him a few times to night frights.

He has a little bit of Sunshine Factor every morning to strengthen his feathers.

Whenever I'm home, he's out almost the entire time. I did have to clip him after two months of trying to teach him how to fly. The breeder clipped him before he fledged, and I was terrified that he was going to break his neck after multiple incidents involving bloody ceres. He crashes into walls or ceilings without fail whenever he flies.

Any suggestions? I don't want him to have the health problems that come with obesity... :(
 

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Well, the majority of my birds' food consists of vegetables, seeds and some pellets. Is Zappy getting any seeds? Because pellets and Nutriberries are essentially the same thing (nutritionally, that is), so if not, that should be his staple, along with more veggies. Other than that, exercise is great for them. It sounds like Zappy has weak feathers, so I would just start simple exercises with him. Can he climb ladders? Or fly to you on command? Maybe have a climbing net? If not, those are good things to try :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply! I've been doing flying exercises with him so that I can build his confidence/accuracy. I also built him a play gym that has various ladders, so he's a great climber. I'm not familiar with a climbing net. What's that?

I didn't realize that it was an either/or for nutriberries and pellets. I was substituting his seeds for the nutriberries because there are seeds in the crushed nutriberry mix. Is that not accurate? Wouldn't adding more seeds to his diet mean that he has more fatty foods?
 

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Yes and no, but they're more natural. I tend to balance seeds and pellets 50/50. Vegetables are offered everyday, although sometimes I do miss a day occasionally. Normally it balances out with exercise. Flying is the best exercise for your bird, but if he can't right now, other means of exercise will suffice.

This is a climbing net, but these are more for larger birds, and can be made much cheaper: http://www.mysafebirdstore.com/cart.cgi?group=0&child=18991
 

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I second a climbing net! My birds love them and they provide a lot of excitement for them in terms of exploration space. A couple of well placed toys and millet, and they'll have a blast :D
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'll have to look into the climbing net. I'm not sure if I'll be able to fit it in my apartment. I have a small apartment, and Zappy already has two different cages, an aquarium to sleep in, and two fairly large play gyms. He also has his own rolling table so he can sit with me in the living room during the day and then sleep in my room at night. Space is pretty limited.

Just to clarify, you would recommend changing or limiting his Nutriberry intake and replacing it with some sort of seed mix. What would be the most healthy? I don't want to switch him just to have him gain more weight.
 

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A seed mix with the minimal amount of sunflower seeds would be best, as those are fatty. Basically, the nutriberries aren't actually seeds, they're formulated to match pellets for the birds who won't eat pellets because of the way they look. I used to buy a seed mix from my local pet store in town by the pound.
 

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Are safflower seeds bad in the way that sunflower seeds are? Should I be limiting those too?
Safflower seeds are, in theory, better for cockatiels because they have less oil in them. As a result, they're not as popular with tiels.
 
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