Pet Bird Grits - Why Your Bird Needs Them
Can You Feed Your Pet Bird Human Food?
Human food is generally bad for cats and dogs but you can certainly supplement your pet bird’s diet with some tasty treats from your plate! In addition to their pellets, seeds or pet bird grits, many species will benefit from tucking into some fruit and veg.
Setting an Example
If you are going to treat your bird to a few extras then you could find that they are initially wary of new foods. If this proves to be the case then literally sharing your meal could be a good idea. In the wild, birds eat what they see the other members of the flock tucking into as this helps them to avoid anything which is toxic. If your bird sees you eating the food, they may be more inclined to try it out.
Foods to Avoid
Some foods, however, should not be offered to pet birds. Fatty foods, fried foods and salty foods should definitely stay off the menu. Chocolate is toxic to birds and must be kept away from them. If they accidently eat chocolate then the symptoms you could witness include disorientation, hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhoea, irregular heartbeat and seizures. Some avocados are also toxic to birds as is caffeine so don’t try to share your coffee and remember that caffeine is an ingredient in many soft drinks!
There is some uncertainly about the toxicity of onions but until further research has been conducted onions should be avoided. Certain seeds and pips may also be toxic to your bird. For instance, apple seeds contain cyanide and so these should be removed before you offer your bird apple. Having said that, birds digest their food rapidly and so accidental ingestion should not prove harmful. Green vegetables are good for birds but may cause them to urinate more due to the moisture content. This can make it appear that they are suffering from diarrhoea.
Birds cannot digest milk as they do not benefit from the necessary lactase in their systems to digest the lactose in dairy products. Many humans are also lactose intolerant. There are products which people can safely take to aid digestion but don’t try these on your bird as galactose is a by-product of lactose digestion and this is toxic to birds.
Whilst some foods are toxic to birds, other contain oxalate which will inhibit the birds’ ability to absorb certain nutrients from their diets. Oxalate acid will prevent birds from absorbing calcium and trace minerals. Foods high in oxalate acid include tea, spinach and rhubarb. If your bird ingests high levels of oxalate acid this may also cause vomiting, diarrhoea, poor blood clotting and convulsions. Low levels may inhibit growth and cause the formation of
When in Doubt Stick to the Pellets, Seed and Grits
So the human diet is rife with problems for birds. You should exercise caution and certainly steer clear of the rhubarb and custard! However, fruit and vegetables provide good nutrients for birds. Parrots in particular will fare well if their diet isn’t wholly seeds. They will receive all of the nutrients they need from a diet of pellets and but will really enjoy some fresh treats as well.