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5 Reasons You Should Feed Beans To Your Flock

Find out how this ancient yet healthy food can benefit your birds.

Patricia Sund

Follow Patricia Sund on Twitter at @parrotnation

"I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.”

— Rick Blaine "Casablanca”

That quote is probably the most famous movie quote about beans. And despite this, a hill of beans can be a very valuable asset to your flock’s diet.

Beans are as old as the hills. Their use has been documented as far back as pre-biblical times and archeologists have found evidence of their use worldwide. So it's a pretty good bet that beans have been a staple in diets in many cultures over thousands and thousands of years. Bean consumption by people is primarily concentrated in the southern and western areas of the United States yet it is ironic that the states that consume less of these guys are the very regions where most of them are grown. North Dakota and Michigan are the top producer of beans and yet they don't have as large a place in the diets of that region.

Beans have a lot of advantages to both people and birds alike. For one thing they are an inexpensive source of high-quality, low-fat vegetable protein. So not only are they delicious and nutritious, they're easy on your wallet. And aren't we all looking to save some money here and there? When you add beans to your flock's diet, you are adding an inexpensive food item that happens to be loaded with many terrific attributes.

Rich in protein, filled with phytochemicals and antioxidants, beans are bursting with fiber. A cup of cooked beans has about 12 grams of fiber and fiber is a wonderful aid to your parrot's digestion.

You also happen to be on the bonus plan in the fiber department because beans are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers. The soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and the substantial amounts of insoluble fiber help draw water to the stool softening the waste allowing it to pass more easily through the colon. Because of all of that fiber, these guys are slow to digest! But it is indeed the fiber that keeps the digestive system ticking along in a healthy mode.

Not only do they contain high levels of protein and fiber, they are packed with carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. They're also low in fat. Because they are a plant, they are cholesterol-free,have plenty of vitamins and minerals and are an excellent source of thiamin and folic acid and a good source of riboflavin and vitamin B6, copper, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium.

But wait! There's more! Beans are really high in antioxidants and these antioxidants fight free-radicals.

Not to worry, I didn't really understand free radicals either. So I looked it up and now you don't have to unless you want a more in-depth take on the subject.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture did a study and measured the antioxidant capacities of more than 100 common foods. Three types of beans made the top four foods on the list.

Needless to say, beans are a wonderful food for your flock. I feed my three African greys beans in several recipes that I make for them and they seem to really chow down on them. Parker likes to peel his beans. Don't ask me why he does this. I just tend to look at it as a foraging exercise.

Next week, I'll be posting an article here on how to safely and properly cook dried beans so that the toxins and sugars that occur naturally in them are removed by soaking and boiling.

In the meantime, happy cooking for your flock!

Beans Breakdown
1) Beans are rich in protein, phytochemicals and antioxidants.
2) Beans are rich in fiber. One cup has 12 grams of fiber.
3) Beans are low in fat.
4) Beans are a good source vitamin B6, copper, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium.
5) The antioxidants in beans fight free-radicals.

Next: How To Cook Beans For Your Parrot
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Posted: September 18, 2014, 11:00 a.m. PDT

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5 Reasons You Should Feed Beans To Your Flock

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Reader Comments
My quaker Bobby loves beans and he peels them too. He likes them spicy.
Cheryl, International
Posted: 1/24/2015 10:07:31 PM
I know a lot of people are hesitant to eat beans because of the gas and bloating they can cause. Here is how I was taught to cook them so that is not a problem. I was raised in the south and they were a weekly part of our diet. Soaking overnight is essential - cover the beans with enough water so that there is at least 3" of water over them. I cover with a lid as well. The next morning, drain all that water out and rinse the beans well and use fresh water to cook them. Not only does this wash away the gassy part of the beans but it will cut down on your cooking time substantially. I cook my beans now in my crock pot with garlic, a few beef bones from the butcher and carrots. The birds and I love them. Experiment with flavors - some people like them with BBQ Sauce thrown in, some with Taco Seasoning, its a matter of how you like them. My birds love the 13 Bean Soup Mix I get from Bob's Red Mill.
Ila, Portland, ME
Posted: 9/30/2014 10:09:44 AM
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