Food Items Not to Feed to Birds, or only in Moderation

This information has kindly been provided by Dr. Jill M. Patt, DVM practicing in Mesa, Arizona. She has been keeping and raising exotic birds for years, providing her a unique knowledge and understanding that goes beyond that of a regular vet who does not have the benefit of daily interaction with birds / parrots.

Foods to Feed Birds Only in Moderation:

  1. Those veggies containing a high amount of oxalates. Some common examples include: spinach, chard, and bok choy, as they decrease absorption of calcium due to formation of complexes.
  2. Fruits, which can provide too much sugar in the bird’s diet.
  3. Diets that are based 100% on cooked beans/grains/pasta. These diets often have too much phosphorus and are very high in calories which can result in an obese bird.
  4. The diet should not be based on seeds. Seed diets contain too much fat and are deficient in many nutrients.

Foods you may consider NOT feeding

*Peanuts are often contaminated with aflatoxin, a fungal toxin. Aflatoxin is carcinogenic and causes liver damage in birds and other animals. Roasting reduces aflatoxin but does not eliminate it entirely.

North American peanut producers are currently working on eliminating contaminated peanuts from their products. Especially peanuts with dark spots on them should be considered suspect, but even those that look clean and perfect could possibly be contaminated.

Foods / Beverages that should NEVER be fed / given to Birds

  1. Caffeine
  2. Chocolate
  3. Alcoholic beverages
  4. The pits of most fruits, such as plums, peaches, apricots, and nectarines, contain cyanide. Cyanogenic glycosides are enzyme inhibitors that cause nausea, vomiting, and eventually coma
  5. Raw Beans: Many raw beans contain a trypsin inhibitor that interferes with protein metabolism; as well as hemaglutin (another toxin). Cooked or sprouted beans are fine.
  6. Eggplant, potato, tomato leaves, and green potatoes. Their leaves contain alkaloids that are poisonous for birds. Symptoms of ingestion in a bird include vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing.
  7. Avocado: The toxin persin is mostly found in the leaves, rind, and bark from avocado trees. However, even the fruit should be off-limits for pet birds. Persin poisoning causes respiratory distress and heart failure.
  8. Nutmeg contains a narcotic, myristicin, that can cause dizziness, nausea, and vomiting in birds.
  9. Rhubarb leaves contain high concentrations of oxalic acid, an intestinal irritant. Large doses are fatal.
  10. Tobacco contains the poisonous alkaloid, nicotine. Birds that ingest tobacco leaves suffer vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and other symptoms.

Foods Toxic to Birds

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