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SAFE AND UNSAFE FOODS FOR BIRDS

COPYRIGHT 1996 By David Poole dave-poole@ilsham.demon.co.uk

Good safe foods that I also use with my birds are: Banana, Apple, Pear, Melon, Strawberry, Raspberry, Blackberry, Cherry, Apricot, Peach, Nectarine, Pineapple, Guava, Mango, Grapes (only a few for they have very little nutritional value). Potatoes -- either boiled or dry roasted (a safe alternative for the delicious but totally unhealthy french-fry) Swede (sorry rutabas)-- boiled in water or cooked with carrot in fresh orange juice. Cauliflower, Spinach, Kale, Cabbage, Pumpkin (seeds as well), Vegetable Marrow & Courgette (sorry Zucchini), boiled or baked, Sweet Potato boiled in water or orange juice or baked, Sugar Snap Peas and Mange-Tout (lightly steamed), Green beans,boiled or steamed, Bean Sprouts -- Mung and Fenugreek, either fresh -- make sure they are thoroughly washed, or lightly steamed. Onions -- either fresh, dry roasted or boiled. Garlic -- same as for onions. Whole wheat, brown rice, pearl barley, oats, bulgur wheat. Natural yoghurt sweetened with fresh fruit is a very good source of beneficial bacteria and promotes optimum conditions within the digestive tract for natural, healthy flora. Low fat or hard cheese can be a beneficial source of protein and oils if used with caution. Both onions and garlic can also be used as flavourings as can very sparing amounts of cinnamon, ginger, black pepper and sweet bay. Dried, powdered chillis and paprika can be used reasonably liberally.

Bad foods are Avocado -- highly toxic and rapidly fatal. Rhubarb -- excessively acidic and may contain remaining traces of the toxin, oxalic acid even after cooking. Olives - excessive oil/salt and if not properly prepared, may contain toxic residues remaining from the processing. Aubergine (Egg Plant) may contain slightly raised levels of solanin which although comparatively harmless to humans in such quantities, may cause digestive upsets or worse with parrots. Asparagus -- Asparagin which gives the characteristic flavour can cause severe stomach upsets. Chocolate -- Theobromin which gives chocolate it's characteristic flavour and is thought by some to have a soothing near addictive effect on humans, is toxic to psittacines and has been associated with respiratory and cardiac problems ultimately leading to death. Anything containing caffeine -- tea of coffee can eventually lead to cardiac problems and in certain cases can also lead to hyper-activity. Anything containing alcohol. Milk or cream in any large quantities cannot be properly digested and can cause digestive problems with very long term, regular use. Butter, because of its pure fat content and also the possibility of the same digestive problems caused by milk and cream. I would be cautious in the use of nutmeg as a flavouring -- it is poisonous even to use if taken in excess and I believe that the 'jury is still out' with regard to coriander.

No doubt there are many others which should be added to the list of baddies, but I can't think of them at the moment and I think the best maxim to apply with the diet of any parrot is "If in doubt, don't" There is such a vast amount of good things to give your bird without having to resort to those which are, or may be questionable. Hope this helps.

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