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Why You Should Feed Walnuts To Your Bird

Who knew the walnut was so amazing?

Patricia Sund

Follow Patricia Sund on Twitter at @parrotnation

Blue-and-gold macaw eating a walnut


I happen to really like walnuts. I like everything about them, their flavor, their crunchy yet smooth texture and I admire how they come out of the shell looking like a human brain. I don't know why, I just find it interesting.

I always got walnuts and oranges in my Christmas stocking. I couldn't figure out that tradition either. However, it just might be an Irish tradition because I once read an article where John Kennedy Jr. was quoted as saying that he always got walnuts and oranges in his stocking and he had never figured it out, either. So I guess I'm in good company on that mystery.

A bowl of nuts to crack along with a nutcracker and nut picks was on the coffee table every Christmas season. I grew up eating them and grew fond of them.

What I didn't know was what was in them. I did some research and after I had read the research, I immediately reached for the laptop and ordered another pound for me and my greys. Walnuts don't just taste good, they have so many beneficial properties for your flock, I cannot even begin to name them all here.

Walnuts, like Brazil nuts, pecans, hazelnuts and pistachios, are tree nuts. But very unlike various beans, which despite appearances are fairly equal in their beneficial aspects, nuts all have very unique nutritional content.

You might have noticed that some of the simplest and plain foods have the most bang for your nutritional buck. Let me assure you, walnuts are in that class.

OK, I got to eat them at Christmas time. But I had no idea my body was being inundated with Omega-3 fatty acids, high amounts of copper, molybdenum, manganese and biotin as well as being bombarded with absolutely unreal amounts of unique and really powerful antioxidants that are incredibly efficient at going after free radicals. It was referred to in the article as "Free Radical Scavenging."

Researchers referred to these particular antioxidants as, "Remarkable." That one kind of makes you sit up and pay attention, doesn't it?

When I read the words, "Free Radical Scavenging," I pictured antioxidants as the little guys in the Pac-Man game ramming around and devouring the gunslingers.

One study went so far as to say that high antioxidant foods like walnuts have the ability to decrease our susceptibility to this ongoing stress caused by oxidation occurring in aging. It also talks about walnuts being able to "enhance cognitive and motor function in aging." Are they hinting a bit at slowing down the aging process?

Walnuts also contain a lot of other good-for-you items. Vitamin E, melatonin, omega-3 of course, and then again we've got all those Pac-Man antioxidants running around making mincemeat out of the free radicals.

What's not to like about a walnut?

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Posted: October 16, 2014, 10:00 a.m. PDT

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Why You Should Feed Walnuts To Your Bird

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Reader Comments
The nutritional value of Walnut is -
Omega 3 - 9079 mg/100g and
Omega 6 - 38092 mg/100g.
Certainly not a food rich in Omega 3 and way too much Omega 6.
Article references to human nutrition - well one of the worst combination of Omega 3 and 6 for people as Western diet is considered inflammatory (due to high contents of Omega 6) 15:1 and ideally we should aim for 1:1 Omega 3 to 6 ratio (both for brids and ourselves) - very rarely possible to achieve in real life but the lower ration the better.
ALA has not much use in humans (the plant source of Omega Acids) and we have very limited conversion efficiency of ALA into DHA (it is there but not so much. Hence for humans fish source Omega is preferred source.

Birds wise - well not much research done in the area but considering the facts that parrots do not have access to fish they most likely process ALA better.

Flax and Chia is much better source of Omega 3.

Can't argue with antioxidants though ;)
Artur, Crewe
Posted: 2/5/2015 4:55:26 AM
Dear Patricia Sund,
Thanks for the article on walnuts! I’m preparing to start a blog about parrots and was wondering if you have the links to the articles you quote in your piece? I would like to read them myself if possible.
Thank you very much!
Florin, London
Posted: 1/30/2015 6:54:36 AM
My macaw adores walnuts but for some reason, prefers them in the shell! I let her have her fun- it's natural foraging, after all.
Linda, Massapequa Pk, NY
Posted: 1/13/2015 9:19:08 AM
I feed my CONURE and IndianRingneck walnuts every single day, they love them tho a lot gets wasted onto the floor, instead of feeding them whole ,I chop them into smaller pieces, that way they are more likely to eat the pieces, without dropping them over the side of their play area, on top of the cage!
chris, grove city, OH
Posted: 1/6/2015 10:36:50 AM
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