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The Bird's Word

The Bird's Word

Toxic Substances

Posted by Cindy on April 6, 2014 at 4:40 PM

There are many things that humans eat that are excellent for birds, too, but humans must have iron stomachs. Some of the things you eat would kill any poor parrot who tried to share.  Let me warn you about the most dangerous ones. I found a pretty good site on safe and unsafe foods. Check it out!

Avocado: Yes, that includes guacamole, too.  Avocados kill birds. They're especially toxic for African parrots like me. My human wisely won't touch the things. As a joke, she calls them "awfulcados."  Personally, I think that's a truer name than the real one.

Grapes: Years ago, a macaw who ate a grape died as a result, but I personally ate grapes, and I'm obviously still here.  So, is it a matter of ancestry? Macaws are from Central and South America, and African Greys are, well, African. That's possible, but my human came across another theory. The concern, I think, is less the actual grape and more the chemicals they're treated with. I'm not sure, personally, but my human knew the lady whose macaw died from a couple grapes. I like grapes, but not so much that I'd want to risk my life for one.

Caffeine: You humans like to ingest brown drinks that fizz and brown drinks that steam and brown food. All this stuff makes you more awake, more hyper. Birds, however, are quite hyper enough. We don't need chocolate or coffee or tea or soda, and in fact, it can be dangerous for us, so you can enjoy those snacks for yourself.

Fizzy stuff: Birds can mimic you mammals when you belch, but we are too sophisticated to actually be able to burp, so there's no way to let all that fizzy stuff out.  Keep that carbonated nonsense to yourself.

Sugary stuff: That's no good for you humans, either, so don't go offering it to some poor bird who thinks it might be good food.

Fake sugar: How could it possibly be good for us birds? Some of your fake sugars cause seizures in normal humans.  Some started off as a bug poison. You humans eat bug poison?  Gross! Less chemistry, more food.

Fatty foods: That's no good for birds or for humans, but in this case, maybe little amounts would be okay. Just don't overdo it. Some types of birds, like pionuses, have problems with keeping their trim physique in captivity, so for those sorts in particular, less fat is a good thing.

Alcohol: No, we do not become more interesting when drunk. We become dead.  Remember, we're very tiny relative to you humans. We reach toxic levels much faster than you do.

Dairy stuff: Whether its made from cow or goat or some other mammal, we do not have the digestive capacity to break that stuff down, so keep it for your other livestock. We might meow like a cat for fun, but we don't need milk.

Onions: Onions contain a substance that causes red blood cells to fail to do their jobs. We're small. We don't have many to start with.  Cooking the onion only makes it slightly safer. Incidentally, onions and other livestock like dogs?  Also not a good combination.

Apple seeds: We love seeds as a rule, but apple seeds contain cyanide or arsenic or something icky like that. So, if you're giving us apples to chow on, core those things first.

There are other non-foods, but those are the big ones.

Now, I know what's going to happen.  Someone is going to make some comment about how much his uncle's cousin's friend served his parrot an awfulcado, and she lived. Yes, sometimes we all eat stuff we shouldn't but it's still not a good idea. You should check with your veterinarian if you're not sure, but in the meantime, remember my advice when you go grocery shopping for your bird.

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