Sadly, little or no scientific work has ever been done on the nutrition of ‘cage birds’. There has been some research on two or three psittacine species, but outside of the work done by Save the Gouldian Fund (STGF) scientists, there has been no work, at least that we are aware of, that has been done on general avicultural species.
Consequently, the diets in general use today have been derived by a combination of experience and guesswork and are actually very little different to those which our forebears devised and used over 100 years ago!!
The research done by the STGF scientists was done primarily on the Gouldian, Longtail and Crimson Finches. The Longtail and the Crimson Finches were chosen so that the nutritional content of their diets could be compared with that of the Gouldian. Obviously, it was assumed that if the nutritional value of their diet was measurably better or different, then this could be a reason why the Gouldian was declining.
In the event, although the physical diet of the three species was different, the actual nutritional values were similar.
Subsequent to the field research, the STGF scientists decided to develop a diet for feeding to the captive research stock. They were concerned that a diet which was nutritionally significantly different from the birds’ natural diets could seriously skew the results of some experiments.
Using the data from the natural diets, three supplements were developed and refined these became PRIMA, PROTEIN BOOST and MICRO-NUTRIENTS when added to a good quality soft food supplement would near replicate a natural diet.