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Diet for your Bird

Diet: Safe & Toxic Foods

Feeding your birds a nutritious diet provides longevity. A Bird that is on a healthy diet has the potential to heal itself, as well as prevent ailments. It is our decision on what we choose to feed our birds. A varied diet that is consistently fed and well-balanced is the key to optimum health!

It is beneficial to share healthy human foods with your birds. Birds are flock animals. They enjoy partaking in family activities. When eating dinner be sure you give your birds a small portion of your meal. Note: Never change your bird's diet if he/she is not healthy to begin with. It could be detrimental; see your Avian Veterinarian first. Also noting: I do not advocate a diet consisting *only* of pellets or seeds. Most foods should be fed in moderation.

Several years ago, we changed our flock's diet dramatically. Though months of research, we decided to take our birds off of pellets. Please see Alicia McWatters' articles).

Starting with Alicia's Mash Recipe along with a few modifications I felt were necessary to incorporate into their diet my birds fresh fruits and vegetables along with sprouting, birdie bread or 12 grain bread and a mix of seed and grains is the (papaya, etc.). I also sprout seeds, beans and grains and offer birdie bread but converted to a healthier version (I use Hodgson Mills Corn Muffin Mix with Whole Wheat Flour). In the evening, my flock receives a seed and grain mix as well as a small portion of the dinner we are eating (as long as it is not harmful to them).

I do not use a Mash Diet any longer. I felt that freezing the mash compromises the nutritional content. It is my opinion serving most optimal diet for my flock.

Purchase only enough fresh vegetables and fruits to last a few days so that it is always fresh. Offering as much organic produce as possible. But sometimes that is not always as readily available as regular fruits and vegetables.

For optimal health, a large variety of of fresh fruits and vegetables is crucial. Think if you were to eat the same food day in and out, we all would get bored. Elaborating on the exact types of foods we offer our flock is stated later in this article. By giving your birds a variety of foods, will ensure they are getting the proper vitamins and minerals from these fresh foods. Preparing a batch of fresh fruits and vegetables every two days so that it is always fresh, changing the variety every time.

When Organic fruits and vegetables are not available; I will peel some of the fruits. Coring all of them. (Note: Certain fruits and vegetables have seeds that are toxic to parrots). Peels contain pesticides and should be disinfected with either Oxine or Citricidal. Organic produce is thoroughly washed.


FRESH FRUITS & VEGETABLES

Here are some of the fruits and vegetables we offer our flock. Note they are not given this every day, but I make sure to give about 10-12 fruits and vegetables daily, changing the variety every other day. We do not offer any canned vegetables. The nutritional content is minimal and the sodium is very high. Frozen vegetables is rarely offered.

The Fresh Food Mix: Always ensure 1 fruit and vegetable has a high vitamin A content in it (papaya, sweet potatoes, yam, cantaloupe, acorn squash, pumpkin). Vitamin A aids in Calcium absorption. Offering 5 or 6 fruits and 5 or 6 vegetables daily. Several leafy green vegetables which have a high Calcium content (either Swiss Chard, Mustard Greens, Dandelion Greens, etc) are always mandatory in the mix.

Fresh Fruit: Apples (cored), Papaya , Mango (pitted), Oranges (seeded), Cantaloupe, Melon , Star fruit, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Berries (Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries), Pears (cored), Peaches (pitted), Plums (pitted), Kiwi (peeled), Banana (peeled), Cherries (pitted), Cranberries, Grapes (with seeds), Grapefruit (seeded), Tangerines (seeded), Cactus Pear (peeled), Banana (peeled) - Note Banana is only served fresh.

Note: Citrus fruits should never be given more than 4 to 5 days a week.

Fresh Vegetables: Red Beets (peeled), Radishes, Turnips, Carrots, Cooked Sweet Potatoes, Radicchio, Endive, Mustard Greens, Beet & Turnip Greens, Dandelion Greens, Swiss Chard, Kale, Parsley, Basil, Cooked Red Potatoes, Peeled and Steamed Squash (Acorn, Spaghetti, Butternut, Summer, Pumpkin, etc. Note: the seeds are a favorite of my flock), Green Beans, Tomato, Sweet Red & Green Peppers, Hot Peppers, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Broccoli Rabe, Turnip Greens, Eggplant, Snow Peas, Tofu, Fennel, Kohlrabi, Sugar Snap Peas.

NATURAL FLAVORINGS

These are some things we will use to change the flavor variety to keep them interested in the fresh foods. Note: They are not used all at once. Flavorings are alternated every other day. You can also use this to get your feathered friend interested in a certain food. See my Diet Tips page for more information.

Natural Flavorings: Fresh Squeezed Lemon or Orange Juice (Vitamin C ~ boosts the immune system), Diced Garlic (wonderful antioxidant), Peeled & Diced Ginger, Chopped Parsley, Ground Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pine, brazil, pecan), Chopped Cilantro, Dried Chili Peppers.

Be sure to check out our article To Peel or Not to Peel

SPROUTING

Here is a partial list of items I use to Sprout. I use Citricidal to sprout everything. I also only sprout for about 24 hours. That is when the sprouts are peaking at their nutritious levels.

Seeds: Broccoli, Alfalfa, Kale, Sesame, Sunflower, Radish, Mustard, Millet, Red Clover, Dill

Beans: Garbanzo, Adzuki, Mung (Note: Beans never should be offered dried)

Grains: Oat Groats, Rye Berries, Wheat Berries, Whole Kernel Corn, Barely, Buckwheat, Quinoa, Amaranth

TOXICITY

Chocolate in any form should not be fed to birds. Bittersweet, Baker's and Dark Chocolates are more toxic than Milk Chocolate. But all the same - do not feed it to your birds.

Table salt when fed excessively will cause increased thirst to increase water consumption to increased urination.

Excessive amounts of Cooked and Raw Onions can be toxic to your bird. Onions contain the chemical n-propyl disulfide which denatures hemoglobin. This will in turn destroy Red Blood Cells. Causes: Anemia, Jaundice, Bloody Urine. Note: Be cautious if feeding cooked onion in small amounts.

Alcoholic beverages should be avoided at *all* costs.

Apple Seeds contain Cyanide. Be sure to always remove apple seeds before giving a portion to your birds.

Mushrooms have the potential of being toxic.

Dairy items are not digested in birds. Birds do not have the digestive enzymes necessary to process milk. There are some products that are available on the market as an alternative to dairy products. Soy Milk, Tofu Cheese, etc. Which can be given to your birds as an alternative to dairy items.

Carbonated AND Caffeinated beverages should be avoided at all costs.

Avocado is toxic to birds as well due to the high fat content.

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Stephanie

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