Food Safety

Written by Deb White. Posted in Diet & Nutrition

parrot food safetyOK, so we've made the resolution to feed our feathered friends a well rounded, nutritional diet. What else do we have to worry about?

Toxins are Lurking!

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables need to be washed to remove bacteria as well as pesticide and fungicide residues before feeding them to your parrot.
  • All food must be checked for mold and fungal growth and discarded as necessary. Mold and fungi can be toxic to your bird!
  • Food should be stored in appropriate containers at the appropriate temperature.
  • Fresh foods should be removed from your bird's cage after no longer than 2 hours due to the potential for spoilage and bacterial growth.
  • Use separate bowls for dry vs. wet foods.
  • Keeping food and water dishes away from each other will assist in discouraging your parrot from dipping its food into the water dish.
  • Dishes must be sanitized daily by scrubbing them out with hot, soapy water. This should be supplemented by a disinfecting soak in dilute bleach (1:32) or other bird safe disinfectant for several minutes at least 2-3 times a week.
  • Fresh water must be available at all times. Birds require fresh water at least once a day and sometimes several times a day in a clean dish.
  • If your bird loves to dunk and soak his food, consider using a water bottle to avoid bacterial contamination. (when converting to a water bottle make sure your bird is drinking from it). Note: Bacterial counts double every two hours!
  • If you are serving hot foods, make sure that they are sufficiently cooled to avoid crop burn.

Poisonous/Dangerous Foods

Just as there are foods we should avoid as humans, there are foods that are potentially toxic or dangerous to your birds.

  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Seeds and pits from fruits (apple seeds contain cyanide)
  • mushrooms (many species are potentially toxic)
  • onions (can destroy red blood cells)
  • commercially grown strawberries (extremely high pesticide residues)
  • tomato leaves
  • uncooked beans
  • uncooked eggs

In general, other foods that should be avoided include:

  • salty foods
  • refined sugars
  • fatty foods
  • dairy products (not easily digested)

Please note that the above is not a complete list of potentially toxic items. If in doubt, consult with your avian veterinarian.

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