Summing up diet and nutrition for the world of birds is a tall order. The variety of parrot species makes creating a single optimum diet impossible. When feeding human food to birds, however, there are some universal truths to follow for healthy, hearty psittacines.
· Reduce salt toxicity risks by using unsalted water for boiling or steaming vegetables. For canned vegetables, choose salt-free varieties.
· Fresh is best. Use the golden rule: If it’s not fresh enough for you, it’s not fresh enough for your bird.
· Serve clean greens. Thoroughly wash vegetables and fruits before serving them to your bird. Even organic produce may be contaminated with bacteria or insect debris. Scrub under running water, then paper-towel dry.
· Dry fruits preserved with sulfites cause allergic reactions in some people. This hypersensitivity may affect birds, too. Try sulfite-free dried fruit.
· French fries and other fried foods are loaded with salt and fat. This is a big problem (no pun intended) for overweight macaws and Amazons, which are prone to high cholesterol, lipemia (fat in the blood) and atherosclerosis.
· Cheese? Oh please ... This pizza topping and prevalent dairy product has been the source of many crop impactions. Avoid feeding cheese as a general rule. If your bird begs for a slice of pizza, make sure it is a small, cheese-free portion.
· Asian foods are often too highly salted to be good for birds. Add to the too-salty list potato chips, salted nuts and processed foods.
· For good foods, try these favorites:
Corn on the cob
Carrots, raw or cooked
Cooked (in unsalted water) pasta
Dried (sulfite-free) fruit
Sweet red peppers
(Taken from the February issue of BIRD TALK. Compiled by Anastasia Thrift)