Bird Care Basic: What Not to Feed Your Birds

We all want the best for our pet birds but sometimes we tend to either overdo it or forget some of the bird care basics. We always stick with bird foods that are commercially available and with this we forget that our birds need more nutrients that petstore-bought bird feeds are lacking. We can actually try different kinds of food like fruits, vegetables, grains, and more. It’s not bad to explore the kinds of food to give your birds, but when doing this, it is important you know that these foods are going to beneficial for your pet bird and will not cause them danger.


bird care bad foods not to give

Photo: Steve Guttman | Flickr


Below is the list of the different foods that could be harmful to your pet bird when consumed in big or even small amounts.

Bird Care Reminders on Prohibited Bird Foods

• Chocolate

This food is known to contain theobromine that is poisonous to animals even if given in small amounts. Your bird will experience vomiting and diarrhea. If high amount of chocolate is consumed, they may experience seizure or heart failure.

• Caffeine

This is found in coffee bean and other coffee products. Similar to chocolate, caffeine is poisonous to birds and other animals. Caffeinated products given to birds can lead to cardiac distress or worse, cardiac arrest.

• Milk (and other dairy products)

Milk, cheese, ice cream, and other dairy products could be given to other animals, but not to birds. This is because the birds’ digestive tract is not suitable to absorb and digest such kinds of food. Feeding them with this product may cause severe diarrhea and even death.

• Alchohol

Anything with alcohol content is a big no-no. Well, who would even offer alcohol to their pet birds, right? But just in case you have vodka at home that you might get mistaken for water. Always make sure you get your bird’s drink straight from the faucet.

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There are bread and pastries with alcohol content like the fruitcake, black forest, and other pastries with wine and rum on it. Make sure you don’t give any piece of this food to your pet bird.

• Avocado

Generally, almost all fruits are ideal for pets but the avocado is an exemption. Avocado skin and pit contain substance called persin which is highly poisonous for birds and even to cattles. Even if your bird may require fats in their diet, which avocado is known to contain, it is important that you cross this out from their list of foods to make them safe from persin poisoning. You can offer them sunflowers seeds as source of their fat requirement.

• Apple seeds and some fruit seeds

When you give your birds apple, make sure you remove the seeds from it first, or better if you give them cut apple pieces to make sure seeds are not present anymore. Apple seed is toxic for you pet birds because it produces cyanide (poisonous chemical) from the amygdalin contents of the seed. This same substance can also be found in the seeds of cherries, apricot, peach, plum, pear, nectarine, and greenage.

• Peanuts

Peanuts may contain toxins called Aflatoxin, this can also be found in cereals and other grain products if these are not stored properly or when in prolonged exposure in warm, dark, and damp areas. This toxin is harmful to your bird’s liver. If you are to give peanuts to your pet birds, make sure that it’s fresh and not moldy looking.

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• Onion and Garlic

Onion contains sulfur which can cause rupture of red blood cells or hemolysis in birds. The effect of garlic in birds is also the same as the effect of onion but much more because garlic contains allicin which is extremely bad for birds. Onions and garlic can also cause mouth irritation and infection in your birds’ esophagus and can also cause ulcers.

• Rhubarb, Cabbage, and other leafy greens

These vegetables are known to contain oxalic acid, particularly the rhubarb which has very high content. Oxalic acid consumption in birds can block calcium absorption. Though these foods are not poisonous, calcium is highly important for birds and not absorbing enough of it can lead to fatal avian diseases. Small amounts of these food is okay as there are also important nutrients that they could get from these plants especially from kale.

• Mushrooms

This food can cause digestive problems and liver failure.

• Tomatoes

Acidic for birds and may cause ulcer.

• Salty foods and junk foods

These are known to be bad for human’s health, what more for birds? Proper bird care includes crossing out these foods on your bird’s diet list. Junk foods have many processed chemical contents which could lead to numerous avian diseases.

• Raw meat

This is only given to carnivorous birds. However, it is important that you make sure the meat is fresh because it could easily spoil and attract bacteria.

In proper bird care, it is important that we know the do’s and don’ts, and the what’s okay and what’s not in feeding our pet birds. Healthy and proper diet greatly contributes to achieving the bird’s ideal life span or even beyond.

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