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  #11  
Old 03-01-2017, 02:04 PM
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tielfan tielfan is offline
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All the scientific sources that I've been able to dig up indicate that the use or non-use of grit by birds doesn't have anything to do with the presence or absence of seed shells. Instead, it's directly related to how tough the food is. Birds that eat soft food use little or no grit. The birds that use the most grit are those that eat hard foods (seeds, nuts, grains) or those that eat a lot of grass, which is indigestible to many animals because of its high fiber content.

Birds will remove the seed shells if they have the ability to do it, because their digestion is more efficient without this indigestible material getting in the way. But they still have to get the nutrients out of the part that they did swallow, and if it's hard stuff then having some grit in the gizzard helps them extract more nutrients. If they don't have access to grit, the gizzard muscles will get stronger to compensate. But using grit is nature's way of handling it, and it appears that Australian parrots in general (including cockatiels) are major grit consumers.
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  #12  
Old 03-02-2017, 01:03 AM
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Is this why my tiel occasionally heads for the fireplace and tries to chew on the grout? Does it look like grit to him?
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  #13  
Old 03-02-2017, 06:00 AM
Fran.bath89 Fran.bath89 is offline
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For me I have sand as quail require it for bathing and apparently doves but I've never seen them use it! lol I have to check the quail and doves feet regularly as sometimes other birds poop in the sand and if I cover the sand they don't use it. Luckily my birds don't mind if I catch them to clean off a little patch of sand and poop it can get quite hard but I just use my finger nails to pick it off as they have such skinny toes I wouldn't want to risk crushing their toes and I always have clean hands. I have never noticed the cockatiels with lumps on their feet and I do see them walk in the sand I guess they must be better at cleaning their feet? Quail and doves are a tad stupid lol as they are the only birds who ever get effected. The feet for me is my concern as birds feel safe being able to perch. I've never had a bird gorge itself with grit or sand. If you keep an eye on your bird I'm sure the bird will be fine
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  #14  
Old 03-02-2017, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Is this why my tiel occasionally heads for the fireplace and tries to chew on the grout? Does it look like grit to him?
Yes, chewing on grout is grit-seeking behavior. One of the problems with trying to prevent birds from eating grit is that they'll often seek out and eat anything they can find that resembles grit. A lot of birds have been harmed by eating dangerous materials in a quest for grit. If you've got a bird that's actively seeking out grit, it will be safer to provide him with some clean safe grit so he doesn't have to go scrounging for whatever he can find.

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I have never noticed the cockatiels with lumps on their feet and I do see them walk in the sand I guess they must be better at cleaning their feet?
Yes, adult birds are perfectly capable of cleaning their own feet if they get dirty. Even cockatiel nestlings usually have clean feet, thanks to their habit of backing up to the nest wall to poop. Budgie babies don't do this, and they tend to accumulate big wads of dried poo on their feet. But cockatiel chicks usually don't.
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  #15  
Old 03-05-2017, 02:40 PM
Hugoagogo Hugoagogo is offline
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I have been using bird sandpaper sheets on the bottom of Hugo's cage and at times he eats it ...now I am concerned that I have given him something harmful.
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