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Foods To Avoid Feeding Birds

Here is a quick list of foods to avoid feeding to your pet birds

By Nikki Moustaki
First Published in 2007 (Birds USA)

Your pet bird can eat most of the foods that you eat, but there are a few things you should avoid feeding:

  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Avocado
  • Alcohol
  • Peanuts
  • Apple seeds
  • Stone fruit pits
  • Raw dairy (milk, fresh cheese, ice cream)
  • Raw onions
  • Rhubarb
  • Raw mushrooms
  • Salty items
  • Junk food
  • Beef

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Foods To Avoid Feeding Birds

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Reader Comments
Dairy is meant for infant mammals. It's difficult for older mammals to digest, so you can imagine it can't be very digestable for non mammal species. My avian vet told me birds don't digest it at all - it passes right through their system.

That said, my parrot loves dairy products - especially ice cream. We will very occassionally give him a teaspoon sized portion of ice cream ( melted - cold is not good for parrots) or yogurt. It's not caused him any harm in 29 years. He is a picky eater, and veyr texture sensitive. He likes crunch in sauce. so I make him biscuits, which he will only eat if we add something - anything goopy - so the search is always on for something he likes that is good for him. I puree fruit, meat, almond butter, etc with yogurt, plop a little in his dish and add the crumbled biscuit ( made up of everything I want him eating) and mix it so the biscuit is covered and he has to eat both to get what he wants. I use yogurt, not because it is good for birds, but because it is the lesser of evils.
Lulu, Atlanta, GA
Posted: 11/4/2013 8:37:45 PM
Peanuts have a lot of phosphorous and very little nutrrition. Phosphorous competes with calcium for digestion, so the more they eat, the less calcium they get. Because they so love peanutes they will, if allowed, eat peanuts to the excluson of foods that are good for them. So, it isn't that peanuts are posionous to them, but that they interfere with what is good and they are too tempting to offer, due to their enthusiasm for them. This BTW is the ONLY reason it is used in bird food. Sunflower seeds should be on this list because they have no nutrition and are addictive. If I see either one in commercial food, I know that company either doesn't know or doesn't care about their bird customer. BTW, all nuts ( true tree nuts as well as legumes) are loaded with phosphorous, and all should be limited for reasons already given. Any animal (bird, squirrel, etc) that lives high in a tree will have thin delicate bones and the need for very strong ones. Take that need for calcium seriously! (I have a 29 yo Amazon who developed serious kidney problems from the nuts in the commercial food that was available when he was young, and I also rehabilitate squirrels).
Lulu, Atlanta, GA
Posted: 11/4/2013 8:27:45 PM
There were a couple of foods that I was unaware was not good for my birds. I also found out that the pelleted diet recommended by the vet of the Oasis Sanctuary in Benson AZ has made a difference in a week with my female blue-headed pionus parrot Gracie. Her hormones seemed to have calmed down and we had the easiest day we've had in a long time - since the days started getting longer. I was concerned because she had laid 5 eggs in 3 weeks.
Wendy, Phoenix, AZ
Posted: 5/12/2013 9:35:50 PM
To all, I think the statement about Peanuts is meant to be Excess amounts of. Makes them fat if given to many. My Gold Capped Conure works for hers. Every morning she climbs the pole up, then down the chain, and there in all its glory is her clear plastic ball with Peanuts inside. She always stops after one for some reason, lol. I'm glad she does though. We all know Peanuts are a birds best friend, well after us (their human) that is.
Dale Lynn, Buckeye, AZ
Posted: 5/5/2013 8:41:39 PM
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