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Let's talk about meat

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MissK
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Let's talk about meat

Post by MissK » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:38 am

Let's talk about meat in the IRN diet.

We know birds need some protein. Feeding egg food is as old as the hills, and some of us give meat to our birds and others do not. Some report their birds actively hunt insects, while at least one person has said their bird fears insects. While searching our site I even found this extremely interesting bit from Recio:
I have seen my IRN eating grasshoppers coming into his aviary and is known that they like chicken. I had a pair of budgerigar in the same aviary with my IRN. The hen was not in a great form and when I came back from my weekend travel, there was not any female budgerigar, just some yellow feathers: they had eaten the female.
The entire thread is here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9346&hilit=meat

I have found precious little on the internet about feeding meat to parrots. Mainly, what I find falls into a few general lines of thought: A little meat is good for them, all meat is bad for them, meat must be cooked for them, meat is OK but fat is bad, meat should be fed sparingly or not at all. I even found one instance of someone saying you can feed them meat but you must cut it very fine so they don't choke. I guess this person has never watched a parrot eat........

I read these things and then I have a look at my bird. He was fed only seeds, as far as I know, for the bulk of his ten years before he came to me, and certainly for the last eight years before he came to me. I make a hefty assumption that most foods I offer him are novel. He has varying degrees of interest in novel natural foods.

Some foods, like the red Bell pepper, he likes immediately. Grains are a big instant win. Others, like carrot, he must warm up to. Some, like leafy greens, he just needs someone else to show him they are food. He likes all nuts upon first sight except Hazel nuts, for some reason. And he has never met a meat he doesn't love right off the bat.

Why is that? I've given him egg, Chicken, Tilapia, and Pig. I make sure to give a small bit, and the leanest part possible, always cooked. Now, if parrots are meant to eat meat, I assume he would prefer uncooked meat, but I'm stopping short of that, as I do for my dogs. I'm just not comfortable with the amount of time it takes between the slaughter and the supermarket for our meats to be fed raw. It's very interesting to me that my bird, with his limited history, would have to be taught to eat what we know is a natural food for him, and yet would not hesitate to dive for what we generally accept would be an unnatural food (large animal) for him.

Of course many will have opinions, but I am not looking for the sort of answers I could get from WikiAnswers or Answer-dot-com. I'm really hoping for well-considered opinions influenced by credible sources. I would like to consult those sources myself. I'd like to hear from breeders who keep their birds naturally, in outdoor aviaries, not in artificially lit basements. I want to know how much meat the meat-feeders give, how often, what, and WHY. I want to know the experiences of those who have kept birds for fifty years as well as those who have just started but researched everything they could get their hands on.

If you know something about feeding meat to parrots, speak up. We have a great forum, attended by caring and knowledge-seeking individuals. Simply by being in this place we have evaded a great number of those who are, shall we say, "less concerned with critical thought, facts, and education". Let's have some quality discussion on this topic!

Thank you!
-MissK
Last edited by MissK on Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
-MissK

jmlw7
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by jmlw7 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:13 pm

I have read in numerous places that protein in meat and egg form, even fish, is nutritious in small amounts to parrots. Ive read something like the veggies, grains, legumes and fruit may not cover all of the protein they may want (although what about nuts?), so it is good to help them out every now and then. I've also read something about how some pluck their feathers to gnaw on the protein, primarily in females during mating season.

Anywho, I give our female IRN a roasted chicken bone (the big bone from a small roasted chicken wing), with just a tiny bit of meat left about once every two months or so. She is known to gobble it up all the way up until the marrow is gone. She has nibbled on egg shells a little bit, but doesnt like eggs, tasted tuna and other seafood (lobster I think) and wasnt interested. We havent tried any other meat sources though I've read once or twice somewhere of a parrot who eats their turkey burgers and steak.

I am shocked that thread you quoted above seemed like the birds ate another bird. Well... I guess they do look like dinosaurs - raptors to be more like it, so who knows.

MissK
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by MissK » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:38 pm

The surprising bit to me was that I didn't see parrots as either killers or carrion feeders, which is the conclusion I must draw from the story. I did pm Recio on this thread, so I hope we hear if there is any further information on that or subsequent incidents.

Do you have any particularly laudable sources for me to investigate?

-MissK
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Skyes_crew
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by Skyes_crew » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:16 pm

There are actually quite a few wild parrots that are carrion feeders. And in recent years, out of necessity, parrots that formerly weren't meat eaters are now becoming such. Their homes are being invaded by man. Their food supplies are diminishing and they are learning to redirect their foraging energies. Look up the wild Kea in New Zealand. It's the smartest parrot in the world. Never a meat eater before, but researches have found evidence of them hunting shearwater chicks. I think it may be the same concept with our semi domesticated pets. They eat what is readily available if they see a flockmate eating it (us). Health wise I would take all of the same things into consideration as with any omnivour. Low fat, low cholesterol, high protein. That would translate to lean cuts of white meat, and very small amounts of lean red meat (if there is such a thing lol)

Just my two cents :D well maybe as MissK puts it...my $1.50
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MissK
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by MissK » Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:44 pm

The Kea is fascinating. They seem a bit different from other parrots, and have a history of attacking sheep. I've read differing accounts as to whether they actually cause the death of the sheep by actively biting into it for the fat, thus opening a fatal wound, versus dining on the dead sheep. I've seen the bit about them hunting the Shearwater chicks, and I think it really demonstrates their smarts.

I would love to know what other parrots are known carrion eaters!

For interest, I Googled and selected a few beaks to compare. I realize the differences will be influenced not only by the diet but also by the food-procurement method.

Here is the Kea's beak: http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j15/m ... 9_-hea.jpg

Here is a local predator I'm fond of, the Red Tail Hawk: http://images.fineartamerica.com/images ... rville.jpg

Here is a local carrion eater, the Turkey Buzzard (Vulture): http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qTL-WiIV9XE/T ... iami1a.jpg

And here is our darling, the IRN: http://www.wildbirddirect.com/images/__ ... rakeet.jpg

Last, because of my interest in the Vasa, here is a photo of that beak AND something interesting from a site made by someone who has been keeping one for several years:http://www.avesint.com/images/vasa8-16-04.jpg
https://sites.google.com/site/kawaldie/vasaheadhunting

-MissK
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InTheAir
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by InTheAir » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:02 pm

Kea have a long history of being opportunists when it comes to meat eating. Habitat invaision may be a contributing factor to the occasional sheep munching tendencies some show, but apparently there have been moa bones found that have evidence of Kea damage too, so I'm not sure it's such a recent change. http://www.keaconservation.co.nz/keaend ... flict.html there was something about moa bones on te papa website too. In that harsh climate they need all extra food they can get.

Nila likes to eat mosquitoes, crane flies and daddy longlegs, but doesn't eat cabbage caterpillars and moths he spits them out when he has chomped them.. He has definitely not learnt this from watching us :mrgreen: I'll offer him a grass hopper next time I find one.

I'll check out those beaks after I do some work, it should be good motivation to actually get something done!

MissK
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by MissK » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:13 pm

I guess I'll have to cancel those chocolate covered ants I ordered for your birthday.......

Thanks for introducing me to the Moa - I had not known about them!

-MissK
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Skyes_crew
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by Skyes_crew » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:23 pm

What's wrong with caterpillars... :mrgreen:

I didn't see the age of the documentary I watched on the Kea. It was awhile ago. But I can't imagine it's easy to hunt for food up there.

My birds hate bugs lol. They are scared of them. They flap around like babies if a fly lands on them. :lol:
I am owned by my birds...and I wouldn't have it any other way :D

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MissK
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by MissK » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:04 pm

I had hoped that when I got out of frogs, lizards, and fish that I would not again find myself hunting bugs for pets. Sigh. Live and learn.

I'm going to up Rocky's meat consumption and see what happens.

-MissK
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InTheAir
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by InTheAir » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:58 pm

MissK wrote:I guess I'll have to cancel those chocolate covered ants I ordered for your birthday.......

Thanks for introducing me to the Moa - I had not known about them!

-MissK
Lol, I don't mind if you forget my birthday after all.
Moa are pretty cool.

I just remembered a bad chicken keeping experience I had. A House we rented came with millions of chickens, one of which was a major escape artist. It would always break out of the coup, we got fed up with it and left it freeranging (and digging up my seedlings) for a couple weeks, when we put it back the other chickens pecked it to death. I found it a few hours later and it looked kind of eaten as well... It mostly looked gross, so I didn't do a thorough inspection. Chickens are known to like cooked chicken too.
I guess since even "rational" humans have difficulty passing on available protein, it's not so surprising that animals who's diet is more inclined to be unstable will take the highest protein on offer. I can't really imagine a hunting pack of ringnecks, lol.. But that was said about chimps once too :mrgreen:

As far as our coddled little house pets go, I did find a brand of pellets that had meat byproducts or something like in it. I think it was paswells.

Melissa: I wish he did like caterpillars, I've had a plague of them in my veggie patch. When nila helps in the garden he bites them in half and then wipes his beak. Bubbles the fighter fish eats the little ones though.

clawnz
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by clawnz » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:56 am

I will go with some parrots do eat insects and therefor could need some protein in their diet.
As to which of the parrots should be fed some animal products,I do not have much of a clue.
I also think that they need protein at certain times of year. Like when they are in molt.
Meal worms could be a good option, Prefer live, but guess dead ones will do, as long as they are dehydrated correctly.

Here is a link to Scott Echols Facebook group on animal nutrition. I am sure you will be able to get some advice from the people here.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1393577 ... omments=35

sanjays mummi
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by sanjays mummi » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:40 am

Sanjay will not eat dried mealworms, or any insects. But will eat anything that comes from my plate,so I have to be careful, he likes a morsel of fish too.

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InTheAir
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by InTheAir » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:54 am

sanjays mummi wrote:Sanjay will not eat dried mealworms, or any insects. But will eat anything that comes from my plate,so I have to be careful, he likes a morsel of fish too.
Lol!
Nila also indiscriminately eats anything we are eating. It's so funny, I put a chop bone on this plate once to get him to leave my plate alone and he was instantly scared of going near him own plate. As soon as the bone was removed to my plate again it was fair game!
He has always chomped any insects that come in range, though. He's better than a cork hat, when he sits on a shoulder.

Clawnz: got any non Facebook suggestions, for us less modern types?

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Skyes_crew
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by Skyes_crew » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:52 am

Claire...plant daisies near your vegetable garden. They have pyrethrum in it which is a pesticide occurring naturally. When the heads die on the daisies, clip them off, break them up and till them into your veggie garden. Bye bye caterpillars :D

MissK...what kind of bugs will you hunt? Does Rocky have discriminating tastes? Will you cook them or give them raw :wink:

I have forever thought it odd that some pet birds love meat off a human dinner plate. The first time Skye ran down my arm to steal a bit of pork I was shocked. I placed him back on his perch with his own dinner. But again he came back for my pork. I contributed it to maybe the saltiness since my husband likes his pork salted with sea salt. But I experimented with other meats. I already knew he liked pieces of chicken. But that's common. So I tried beef, he loved it. Turkey, loved it. Bison, loved it. Bacon, he goes insane for spinning in circles. So bad for birds and humans lol. Salmon, tilapia, flounder, cod, you name it, this bird will eat it. BUT....only if I'm eating it with him. If I were to make up a forage basket with any of the above mentioned items, they would be jerky before he would touch them. So in my mini experiment I concluded that for my bird, meat, veggie, fruit, it doesn't matter. It's all about eating with the flock mates. :D
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by JoeysMom » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:04 pm

Joey is not picky at all about what he eats. He loves his pellets, fruit, and veggies, but he also likes meat. So far he has only had chicken and shrimp. But he greatly enjoyed it. :)

I have read many different opinions on meat and parrots. Some people cringe when I tell them my parrots eat turkey or chicken (because of the bird thing). One of my Quaker's (Sam) favorite treats is meat. He loves chicken, turkey, shrimp, scallops, crab, lobster, and fish. I think he would choose to be a carnivore if he could. Since Joey watches Sam eat, I think that he will acquire a similar taste for meat. It is what the flock is eating, so it must be good, right?

Before I had my own birds I used to watch my Aunt's Amazon. She would give her a chicken bone with a little bit of meat on it. That bird would clean that bone right off, and remove any marrow. It always fascinated me how she knew what the good, edible parts were. Did she learn from us? ( I don't eat bone marrow) Or is it something more instinctual?
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clawnz
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by clawnz » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:14 pm

InTheAir wrote:
sanjays mummi wrote:Sanjay will not eat dried mealworms, or any insects. But will eat anything that comes from my plate,so I have to be careful, he likes a morsel of fish too.
Lol!
Nila also indiscriminately eats anything we are eating. It's so funny, I put a chop bone on this plate once to get him to leave my plate alone and he was instantly scared of going near him own plate. As soon as the bone was removed to my plate again it was fair game!
He has always chomped any insects that come in range, though. He's better than a cork hat, when he sits on a shoulder.

Clawnz: got any non Facebook suggestions, for us less modern types?
I will have to get back to you re any other blog sites that discuss Bird Nutrition. I will ask Barbara, it was her that put me on to Scott. when I was talking about the pros and CONS of pellets.

Sanjays: In that case have you tried putting the meals worms on your plate? I am kidding of course.

My Alex are great and seem to like anything I am eating. Lamb, steak, chicken, ham, pork, salmon, crab stick, lasagne.
But on their own. I see Dexter today start with Cockatiel seed mix, then get into the sprouts (Mung beans, Black eyes peas, and Cockatoo seed mix). Then he moved on to the orange, and then the apple. And this was all before 9.30 this morning. Parakeets or Pigs? I swear one day he is going to go pop. Both the Alex know how to eat and no fuss about what goes in the beak.

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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by Skyes_crew » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:32 pm

MissK, I found an article that was posted in the NY times. It addresses meat eating parrots in the wild and even their beaks a bit. Thought you might like to read it.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.h ... 5F468884F9

And this is a parrot diet page that I think sums up just about everything in a parrots diet.

http://www.petparrot.com/ParrotCareDiet.htm

Just as a side note...I am in no way connected to this site. I am not pushing anyone to buy anything lol. I just like the parrot diet article. It's long but good.
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MissK
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by MissK » Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:43 am

I thoroughly enjoyed the article, finding it well worth the effort of downloading and enlarging. :D It puts me in mind of a piece I pulled from Outdoor Life some years ago, on hunting with the Chickenhawk. (I hope I can find that for you.....)

I also liked the website link, and especially loved this line: "In the wild, grain is a natural food for parrots" - I may be wrong, but I don't know of any grain that grows in the rainforest.

-MissK

EDIT: The article, "Chicken Hawking..... at its very best" by Dave Moran seems to have appeared in American Falconry Magazine, volume 25, p 22-27. If anyone can find the text on the internet, please advise! It also appeared in Outdoor Life Magazine quite some time ago, though I have no idea what issue or year. :( It is worth reading for anyone with a even passing interest in Falconry, Hawks, Chickens, Firearms, or Dinner. Those without any familiarity with the terms of falconry should review some basic jargon in advance in order to make the most of this article.
-MissK

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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by sanjays mummi » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:43 am

I'm reminded of that scene in "Gone with the Wind" where mammy tells miz Scarlett to "eat like a little bird", if we ate like our IRN's, we'd be the size of a house!

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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by Skyes_crew » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:10 am

I agree Sanjay :) watching my Alex eat I think I may be as big as two houses. That birds beak is always in a bowl. :lol:
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by Skyes_crew » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:15 am

Ill look for that article MissK. I had a slight passing interest in falconry a few years ago. But it was mostly because I thought a falcon would look cool sitting on my arm :lol: I'm glad I kicked myself before that happened.

That parrot diet article had me laughing at the end with the crazy misconceptions people have.

"Macadamia nuts are a necessity in a hyacinths diet...well since they grow in Hawaii and hyacinths are from South America who's importing the nuts for all the hyacinths."

I got a mental image of a hyacinth with a clipboard at a loading dock signing for a shipment of macadamia nuts :lol:
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MissK
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by MissK » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:20 am

Heh.

Gotta go now. Have a swell day!

-MissK
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InTheAir
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by InTheAir » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:03 pm

hey Missk,
I don't know if you've seen this article http://www.holisticbirds.com/pages/foodpp1002.htm
if you haven't, about halfway through it has some info bugs and meat for parrots.

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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by ellieelectrons » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:36 pm

I've just finished preparing my chop mix for my birds as per Pamela Clark's recipe and she suggests you use beans as protein. She suggests the chop mix be 60% whole grains and beans and 40% vegetables.

Not really an answer to your question about meat, but I'm wondering if you give them enough vegetable protein, I imagine they wouldn't "need" meat protein? I can't imagine they would "need" animal fats?

Ellie.

MissK
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by MissK » Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:35 pm

This is really a good bit of the question for me - are they out there wild, eating meat and we just don't know about it? Think of outmoded beliefs that were de rigeur in their day. Is the non meat eating Ringneck possibly that sort of belief? Or is there someone out there with reliable information about them picking up some kind of animal life that we just haven't heard from yet?

Certainly we can provide them vegetarian protein, especially if we pair those beans with grain. I cannot help my strong suspicion, though, that they are naturall entitled to some meat.

Going off to read that link now.....

-MissK

Additional: Thank you So MUCH for that link! It was a fascinating read for me. I thought some of the connections and conclusions a bit too easily made, but I'm very glad to have read it. It makes a strong case against grains, for sure. Just as great is the list of sources at the bottom. I'll try and explore some of them, too. Thanks again, Claire, really.
-MissK

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InTheAir
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by InTheAir » Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:50 pm

Your welcome.
I think you are right. I have mixed feelings about that article. I need to do more research before I have an opinion. I just liked the fat and protein breakdown for those bugs :P
On the same site i just found this http://www.holisticbirds.com/pages/feeding0202.htm
It's by Pamela Clarke, so it should be better. I just started reading it and came across the word omnivore, so I thought I had better share. I think it may give you some more leads.
I'm not advocating anything I'm linking, I'm just reading up on birdy nutrition today on all sorts of sites and indiscriminately sharing anything I find with references to meat eating.

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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by ellieelectrons » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:21 pm

Just noticed that article was written in 2002, I wonder if she's updated it?

A quote from the 2002 article:
"Dairy products and meats can be fed as sources of complete protein. Parrots need small amounts of protein to supply essential amino acids. Such sources include eggs, chicken, fish and dairy products. When legumes (beans)are fed along with whole grains, the need to feed animal protein is eliminated."

Ellie.

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InTheAir
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by InTheAir » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:34 pm

yeah, I noticed it is a bit old.

I just found out about a type of parrot I've never heard of before! http://www.parrots.org/index.php/encycl ... _parakeet/ You'll like this one, Missk!

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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by MissK » Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:45 pm

Cool, new (for me) bird, AND it also eats carrion. Love how you are supporting my geekiness!

-MissK
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by InTheAir » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:58 pm

MissK wrote:Cool, new (for me) bird, AND it also eats carrion. Love how you are supporting my geekiness!

-MissK
Thanks for reigniting my geeky desire to know how much of a role insects play in wild ringnecks diets. I'm keeping an eye out for any references to parrots and meat for u.
We already do some small scale mosquito larvae farming for our fighter fish :mrgreen: I hope I don't find out that ringnecks are partial to maggots or something gross like that. I'm not sure I'd care that much about Nila eating wild food if that were the case!

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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by MissK » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:10 pm

I'd rather go with earthworm farming!

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InTheAir
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by InTheAir » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:23 pm

Hmmm I've already got a worm farm for my veggie garden. ... That would be easy birdy food

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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by Skyes_crew » Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:29 am

Lets think about this logically....veggie bird poop= not too bad of a smell. Meat bird poop= horrible smell. Not to mention worm guts all over the cage :shock: I think I'll stick with beans and egg as my protein source lol :D
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by InTheAir » Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:31 am

Lol

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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by MissK » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:31 am

EWWWWWWWW, Worm Guts!!!!!!!

Tilapia and Chicken it is!

-MissK
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by MissK » Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:39 am

At the risk of beating a dead horse, here I am again.

This afternoon I presented my suspicious Budgies with some Tilapia. They've never had this before. They've barely ever seen it whizzing by. This pair of birds is not hugely adventurous in the food department (understatement!) - in fact, Riff Raff would have starved if I had not made a second trip to buy her the exact food she had been eating at the pet store during that first week in my house.

I highly doubt wild Budgies, from whom my pair are really, really far separated anyway, are chowing down on fish.

So why did they dive right into it? What is it speaking to them so strongly in Tilapia that even certain types of seeds and all nuts cannot say?

Maybe I, the Queen of the Overthinkers, have too much time on my hands, but this is driving me nuts.

-MissK
-MissK

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Skyes_crew
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by Skyes_crew » Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:58 am

Maybe budgies are distant relatives of a type of sea bird and the smell of tilapia awoke some ancient calling :D
I am owned by my birds...and I wouldn't have it any other way :D

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sanjays mummi
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by sanjays mummi » Tue Aug 06, 2013 2:20 pm

Holistic diet? I tried sprouting seeds, he chucked them overboard. Sanjay would much rather eat birdie junk food! :D

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InTheAir
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by InTheAir » Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:02 pm

It could be something like Omega things? Or some amino acids?
Would they dive into something with palm or linseed oil drizzled on?
If so you could see if they prefer the fish or that I guess..
Or a dead penguin. ..

sanjays mummi
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by sanjays mummi » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:17 pm

Dead penguin? eeooo!, do they have penguins in Asia? :lol:

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Skyes_crew
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Re: Let's talk about meat

Post by Skyes_crew » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:27 pm

Would that be a fairy penguin :lol:

Sanjay...no penguins in Asia...but I heard of an Asian penguin playing for the NHL in Pittsburgh :D
I am owned by my birds...and I wouldn't have it any other way :D

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