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Nutritional advice please

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Reddragon
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Nutritional advice please

Post by Reddragon » Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:20 pm

Hello
I wonder if anybody could help me with a little bit of advice on nutrition for my IRN. When we first had him from the breeder he gave me a bag of bird food which contained a large amount of sunflower seeds and what looked like cat biscuits. Not knowing about feeding parakeets I went out and got a good quality parakeet feed with no sunflower seeds - is it true that sunflower seeds should be only fed as a rare treat?

Initially I would feed him three bowls of fresh fruit portions in the morning and a vegetable portion. Going on the idea of who would want a bowl of vegetables in the morning. Then at lunchtime two fresh portions of veg and two of further fruit. And in the early evening a small measurement of seed with added pistachios, walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds. I then added boiled eggs to his diet. After reading up I now give him a portion of what I call potch.

This is made from roasted sweet potatoes which I then blended into a purée. I steamed 2 sliced carrots, half a diced swede, 1 diced Parsnip, 2 Sticks of celery, 1 leek, 1 courgette, frozen peas, cauliflower, broccoli, and approximately 20 red and green chillis. Once this had softened slightly I added a large bag of Kale. This mix was added to a food processor to roughly chop into a small dice. I added this to the sweet potato and added about 100grams of frozen peas. This is frozen into cubes and he gets about 3 cubes in the morning and at lunchtime ( slightly warmed) and a portion of fruit later in the afternoon and his seed / nut mix.

Does this sound like a healthy diet for him. He loves all types of fruit but especially loves pomegranates and chilli peppers.

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InTheAir
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Re: Nutritional advice please

Post by InTheAir » Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:00 pm

My word that sounds like a lot of food. Does he eat it all?
We give half an icecube of defrosted vegetable chop per bird in the morning. We are lucky if they eat half of that. They also have some pellets from their foraging toys in the morning.

Check out this, it is quite useful for working out a balanced diet http://www.scas.org.au/html/fresh_food_nutrients.html
My avian vet recommends feeding more vegetables than fruit.

Remember that parrots are not people, so it doesn't work to compare our tastes when making a diet for them. I have never met a humans that will hoe through a super hot chilli first thing in the morning, but my parrots will.

I don't feed regular bird seed to my 2 at all. They have pellets, vegetables and very small servings of fruit. We use almonds, the fruit and sometimes peas for training treats.

Reddragon
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Re: Nutritional advice please

Post by Reddragon » Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:20 pm

Hi
He has his head buried in the bowl the moment I serve him. I have had him now for just over 5 weeks initially he would not eat anything other than seed. Now he eats most things. At first I was unsure what size was a portion or even what size to prepare it. I would not give him the same item twice in a day or the next so it was easier with fruit as there seems to be a greater variety available. Now I know what is the right size and how he likes it presented. I would much rather throw a teaspoon of unwanted / uneaten food away than think he might be hungry. I have two bichions dogs who sit by his cage at feeding times to see if there is anything for them. I use pumpkin seeds as a training treat for the bird but have to give one of my bichions one as well each time. Thank you for the link. I am finding a variety of fresh vegetables to give him. I found the darkest almost black kale in the supermarket today and hope to give it to him tomorrow

Melika
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Re: Nutritional advice please

Post by Melika » Mon Feb 15, 2016 6:40 pm

Reddragon wrote:Hi
He has his head buried in the bowl the moment I serve him. I have had him now for just over 5 weeks initially he would not eat anything other than seed. Now he eats most things. At first I was unsure what size was a portion or even what size to prepare it. I would not give him the same item twice in a day or the next so it was easier with fruit as there seems to be a greater variety available. Now I know what is the right size and how he likes it presented. I would much rather throw a teaspoon of unwanted / uneaten food away than think he might be hungry. I have two bichions dogs who sit by his cage at feeding times to see if there is anything for them. I use pumpkin seeds as a training treat for the bird but have to give one of my bichions one as well each time. Thank you for the link. I am finding a variety of fresh vegetables to give him. I found the darkest almost black kale in the supermarket today and hope to give it to him tomorrow

Good job! Getting parrots off of a seed-only diet onto veggies is often one of the hardest things to accomplish. I agree with you, I would rather throw a little bit of food away at the end of the day than not feed enough. When Hane was young (his first few years), he was a PIG. He was never overweight though. It's veggies- hardly any calories so they have to eat a lot!
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pratisha
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Re: Nutritional advice please

Post by pratisha » Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:28 am

My IRN feeds on sunflower seeds, flake seeds and veggies. I have started giving her chillies and fruits but she doesnt complete it totally. she doesnt throw tantrums but she needs a bite of everything we eat includin tea and juices. Giving them a mixed diet is very much required and as advised by her Vet colorful veggies or fruits should be tried once in a while. :D :D :D

sanjays mummi
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Re: Nutritional advice please

Post by sanjays mummi » Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:37 am

Hi, personally I Never feed leeks, as they are members of the Allium family, i.e garlic, onion, etc, which are toxic to birds.

Melika
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Re: Nutritional advice please

Post by Melika » Fri Apr 22, 2016 5:30 pm

sanjays mummi wrote:Hi, personally I Never feed leeks, as they are members of the Allium family, i.e garlic, onion, etc, which are toxic to birds.
I still have not found any evidence for this statement. As I've said before, this is an assumption made within some parrot communities because of toxicities in dogs, cats, and cattle- not avians. It is believed that the structure of the avain cell would protect it from the anemia that dogs, cats, and cattle suffer from when injesting onions or garlic.

In regards to avians, the only thing I know about not feeding onion is specific to chickens because it makes the eggs taste funny. :))
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sanjays mummi
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Re: Nutritional advice please

Post by sanjays mummi » Sat Apr 23, 2016 5:20 am

I'm not willing to take the risk, they kill mice too, "If in doubt Don't", I doubt birds eat alliums in the wild,

Melika
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Re: Nutritional advice please

Post by Melika » Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:10 pm

sanjays mummi wrote:I'm not willing to take the risk, they kill mice too, "If in doubt Don't", I doubt birds eat alliums in the wild,
That's okay, it's your decision to make. I just don't like the blanket statement that 'such-and-such' is toxic when it hasn't been shown to be so- especially when there is evidence against the supposed toxicity. There is so much mythos surrounding parrots in general (especially diet) that the avian community would be better served by not adding to it with unverifiable statements. I myself have made statements that I later learned were wrong.

Here are the current opinions on alliums:

One DVM/DABVP has a similar opinion to yours:
"Because birds have nucleated red blood cells, and mammals do not, it is thought that this somewhat protects them from the affects of Heinz body hemolysis. ... Although I have not seen any scientific studies performed on any avian species, there is the chance that disulfides could also cause this Heinz body hemolytic anemia in birds. For that reason, I feel that is unnecessary and potentially dangerous to feed birds onions, leeks, garlic or chives, as they don't contain any nutrients that are vital for the health of our pet birds that cannot be found in other food items."
http://www.exoticpetvet.net/avian/onions.html


We can see, however, that Carolyn Swicegood, a very highly respected breeder of the Eclectus species (known to be particularly sensitive to diet), encouraged the feeding of some alliums:
"Garlic is helpful in the prevention of illness caused by viral, fungal, and bacterial pathogens. In fact, Garlic contains an impressive number (eighteen to be exact) of anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial substances! Studies have shown activity similar to the antibiotic, chloramphenicol, which is sometimes used to treat parrot illness. Garlic also contains anti-parasitic properties. Treating for parasites with conventional remedies can be harmful to the liver, but garlic kills many intestinal parasites without harming liver tissue. It actually protects the liver from the damage of chemical pollutants in the air, food and water supply. Researchers at the University of Cambridge in England found that garlic juice is as strong as Amphotericin and Nystatin, anti-fungal drugs used to combat a common problem of parrots.

A chemical in garlic called allyl sulfide is showing promise in cancer research. The organic allyl sulfur component of garlic inhibits the cancer process. Studies have shown that the benefits of garlic are not limited to a specific species, a particular tissue, or a specific carcinogen.

Fresh garlic, rather than concentrated forms such as garlic powder, should be offered to parrots. Garlic belongs to a family of plants that can cause anemia in some animals [mammals] if given in large amounts for long periods of time. I can find no evidence that garlic is harmful to parrots but because of the anemia problem with other small animals, I would not feed it in large quantities. One clove from a regular size bulb of garlic (not an entire bulb of many cloves) given two or three times a week is sufficient as a preventive food supplement for parrots, who love the pungent taste. Leave the peeling on so that the birds can unwrap their aromatic and medicinal food gift from Mother Nature."
http://www.birdsnways.com/wisdom/ww56e.htm

Another DVM has an interesting article about food toxicities in general:
"...Parsley has often been reported as toxic in birds, but it has only been shown in ducks and ostriches to cause a sensitivity to the sun. No evidence exists to show this effect in pet birds, and many diets contain small amounts with no harmful effects. Onions were reported in one article as poisonous, although other references to this were not found.

Very often, when birds are found suddenly dead, the food is the first thing blamed, most often because beginning bird owners are slow to recognize the subtle signs of illness in their pets. However, common foods that are normally healthy or at least non-toxic, may be the cause disease or death if the food itself has become contaminated. The most common types of contamination are by pesticides, bacteria and mycotoxins.

Most vegetables, fruits, and produce that we buy in the grocery store have been sprayed with pesticides at some point in their growing cycle. Even organically grown foods may be unscrupulously sprayed by vendors. The best way to prevent toxicoses by pesticides is to thoroughly and completely wash and scrub fresh foods before giving them to your bird. Cases of pesticide poisoning are very difficult to diagnose.

Another, more common cause of contaminated food is bacteria. We know bacteria are ubiquitous (they are found everywhere, no matter how well you clean), but certain conditions predispose very high numbers of bacteria. Foods containing high amounts of water or foods soaked in water (seed, monkey chow) should be fed very carefully to birds. Often soaked foods contain a tremendous number of bacteria that can overwhelm your bird's immune system, in fact water and high water content foods are the number one cause of high bacterial exposure in pet birds.

...Though the list of harmful foods may seem ominous, if clean, well stored foods are fed to birds, they very rarely develop food toxicoses. Any food should be kept in a cool, dry place, preferably in an air-tight container or zip-lock bag. Soft, moist foods or foods soaked in water should generally be discarded after about four hours in the cage. Food items which are not healthy for birds should be removed from their reach. Despite the fact that certain chemicals, such as organophoshates, are much more toxic in birds (these are fairly easily avoided), they appear much less likely to develop food related illnesses than mammals."
http://www.oldworldaviaries.com/text/mi ... coses.html

There is one study I found while digging and making this reply that was highlighted in a blog ( http://bestbirdfoodever.com/home/wp/ind ... -or-leeks/ ) that endeavours to make a strong argument by using a well-done case study done on a dusky-headed conure. But if you read the full study, the vets faithfully point out that there were no Heinz bodies found to indicate Heinz Body Hemolytic Anemia (which has happened in gulls and puffins that have ingested crude oil). The vets believe that the very large amount that the bird was force-fed (the owner force-fed a half clove of garlic along with chicken and tuna evidently in an attempt to treat the conure holistically at home) may have irritated the lining of the crop because it could not be passed, which caused an ulcer and increased the compounds absorbed into the bird's system. They cannot say for sure that it was the garlic at all, but they could show that the bird had anemia. I hope doctors continue to do these case studies when it comes to avian diet.

I also found it interesting that the study points out that, among other things like heavy metal poisoning and parasites, foods from the Brassica family (which includes rutabaga, turnips, kohlrabi, cabbage, collard greens, culiflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and rapeseed) are known to cause hemolytic anemia in birds.

My personal conclusion from this case study is that a parrot is more likely to die from eating broccoli than from having some garlic (unless you force-feed half a clove down your parrot's throat).


As you well know, many sites will list foods as 'toxic' when they are clearly not (when fed in moderate amounts; consider that even water is 'toxic' when too much is ingested)- or simply require a certain amount of ripening or preparation. Unfortunately, most information on the psittacine diet is anecdotal, and not based on scientific studies (we mostly just have case studies like the one above) so that we are having to learn as we go.
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I've been called 'birdbrained' before, but somehow I don't think this is what they meant. say:hah-nay

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