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Foods That Are Deadly To A Grey

Foods That Are Deadly To A Grey

When parrots were first kept as pets, people thought they only lived a short time. This was in part because most of the soft billed wild birds only lived a few years but also because the parrots they kept died within 10 years or so. This was because the diet these parrots were being fed did not supply the necessary nutrients and the birds basically starved to death very,Foods That Are Deadly To A Grey very slowly. Some succumbed to illness but this was in large part due to the fact that they were malnourished and their bodies couldn’t fight the disease.

Today we know that many of the large parrots can live to be over 100 years of age and even budgies and cockatiels can live to be 20 or more. This is because we now know what to feed our parrots and what to avoid letting them eat.

There are lots of good things to feed your parrot, but there are a few things that you might offer that can kill your beloved feathered friend. The reasons may differ but the results are the same: death.

Foods You Must NEVER Feed Your Parrot

There are only a few things that can actually kill your parrot as far as human food goes. These are:

* Avocado
* Chocolate
* Alcohol
* Seeds of any fruit
* Raw meat
* Uncooked eggs
* Any food that may have mold or may have spoiled (including seeds)

As you can see, this is a very short list.

Foods You Should Limit

This list is a lot longer and contains people foods that won’t kill your parrot quickly. However, over time, these foods will be detrimental to its health. These foods fall into three main categories. Some foods may fall in to several or even all of these categories:

Foods High In Fat

Any food that has a high fat content should be limited. In the wild, parrots eat very little fat; what they do eat is mainly from bugs and other protein sources. Now, this doesn’t mean that you parrot pal can’t have a taste of these foods occasionally. Think of feeding your parrot as if you were feeding a three year old child. You would let a child have a few potato chips even though they are high in fat and salt, but you would limit the quantity. With a parrot, of course, the portions are much, much smaller. If you want to let your parrot have a bite or two of a single potato chip once in a while, there is nothing wrong with this limited quantity. Just do not let it become a habit that every single day the parrot gets potato chips and don’t let the quantity increase over time. Everything in moderation is the practice to be followed for this list.

Examples of these foods are:

* Potato chips
* Vegetables with lots of butter
* Fried foods
* Cream, whipped or liquid
* Cake icing
* Ice cream
* Fatty meat
* Butter sauces and cream soups that contain a lot of butter

Foods High In Salt

Too much salt isn’t good for people or birds. Of course, since parrots are so much smaller, a little bit goes a long way. Some foods can simply be taken out of the food preparation cycle before salt is added to allow the parrot to enjoy a safe serving. If your parrot enjoys cooked veggies and you salt your food, then by all means take some out before adding salt. Crackers can have the salt scraped off before allowing the parrot to have the food. Many foods can be found in unsalted versions that can safely be shared with you parrot. For example, unsalted nuts are fine but eating a lot of salted nuts is not good for your feathered kid.

Some of the foods in this category are:

* Salted potato chips
* Salted corn chips
* Salted nuts
* Salted vegetables or meats
* Many prepared foods such as microwave entrees
* Salted popcorn
* Bacon, ham and other cured meats

Foods High in Sugar

Parrots can become little junk food junkies is allowed. They seem to love sweets and will insist on having a taste. Most foods with sugar are perfectly safe to allow the parrot to have a bite or even two, but limit the quantities to a very small amount and do not allow these foods every day. These are for the rare occasion rather than daily diet.

Examples of these foods include:

* Cakes
* Cookies
* Candy
* Sweetened juices
* Other sweetened drinks
* Sugary cereal
* Ice cream

Everything else that you eat, you can and should share with your parrot. The more different foods your bird eats, the better its health will be, the more vibrant the feather colors and the happier you’ll be. However, use some common sense about feeding people food to parrots.

Fruits and vegetables are very good additions to the diet, preferably raw but if you parrot prefers some things cooked, that is better than not eating the food at all. Eggs, cheese, pasta, rice, potatoes (other than potato chips or French fries), pizza, noodles, bits of meat or fish and other people foods are great for you parrot. Limit the amount of meat to very small amounts because in the wild, parrots do not get a lot of meat-type protein. Some parrots LOVE a bone with bits of meat left on it to chew on and will even eat the marrow out of the bone.

Of course, fruits and vegetables are the best for the parrots and for us. But variety is the spice of life and everyone wants variety including your parrot.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Contributed by Nora Caterino who is a published author for Bird Talk Magazine

Filed under: Care and Feeding, Featured · Tags: , ,

29 Responses to "Foods That Are Deadly To A Grey"

  1. juani says:

    I need some Advice, my 4 year old african grey started to pluck out all his breast and feet feathers. His diet did not change and we change his toys in his cage every month to prevent boredom. What can i do?

  2. Bob says:

    Hi Juani. Many factors can cause a grey to start feather plucking. Our male is a plucker and it started when we were living in a very dry climate. If his diet hasn’t changed (and he eats a well balanced diet) then look at factors such as boredom, low humidity, cigarette smoke or some other odor, a major change in his routine, etc. Unfortunately African Greys are prone to feather plucking so it can be difficult to access what specifically is causing it.

  3. Sam says:

    My grey was plucking for a while. I found that changing his toys and giving him a shower every week helps out alot.

  4. chas says:

    I have had an african grey for 15 years thinking he was a male when he /she laid an egg and is obviously a female is this a usual event after all the years

  5. Joanie says:

    Hi! My mams African grey just died suddenly he was fine the one minute and then he just went to sit in the corner of his cage they took him out and he was dead. all this happend in about 20 min or less? could u plz email me what the problem could be he was on a healthy eating plan… plz

  6. Magdalena says:

    Hi, I am from South Africa, and got my 10week old African Gray today. First time ever. Even though I have no problems, I find your site VERY, VERY helpful, and most informative. Just want to say thank you, and if I need help, at least I will know where to go.

  7. Peggy Taylor says:

    My 4 ur old grey injured herself on a sharp piece of wood she chewed. She had blood in her cage when I got up in the morning. She was not bleeding at that time. I fed her and she was fine. But now she will not talk. Is this pschycological from the injury and what can I do?

  8. Bob says:

    Depending on the injury, she may be in some pain. I would take her to a good Avian Vet and have her looked at. Best Wishes, Bob

  9. Benita says:

    Hi my mothers african grey also plucks out feathers, we took him to the vet
    the vet gave us some calming medicine its a redish colour
    You wil also get it at a pet master
    They say the reason why they do that is because they feel either frustrated, or board, you just put 2-3 drops of the medicine in your birds water and it really worked for my mothers african grey

  10. Bob says:

    Hi Benita, if you could get us a name of the product I’m sure many would appreciate that. Thanks! Bob

  11. Susan says:

    Hi I have a grey 15 years old he has no head feathers is there anything wrong with him.

  12. Bella says:

    Hi, have my Grey for 3 weeks. How many toys should I put in it’s cage. I want to have it sexed but heard it’s painfull for them. I don’t want to cause it pain if not nescesary.

  13. Bob says:

    Hi Bella, number of toys depend on cage size. 2-3 should be fine as long as he can still spread his wings and move around without brushing up against a toy all the time. You should also change them out occasionally…use some old toys he stopped playing with…they will spark a new interest.

  14. shamine says:

    Hi our africangrey is sick and we don’t know what to do.he is messing a lot and he is feverish

  15. Bob says:

    Take him immediately to an AVIAN Vet in your area.

  16. bad says:

    Hi, I hace an african grey for 2 weeks… At night I leav him in the living room and he looks feeling cold there… What is the best temprature I can set the air con for hi..

  17. Bob says:

    A good temp range is 65 to 75 degrees F. You might want to cover him at night also if you aren’t doing that now.


  18. KAREN GRISSOM says:

    My 4 year old African Grey (Sassy) loves to sit in the bathroom with me in the mornings, while i get ready for work. When i attempt to put her back in the cage, she bites my hand. Is she doing this because she doesn’t want back in the cage ? and if so what can i do to stop this ?

  19. Bob says:

    Hi Karen,

    Sassy obviously knows that when you put her up from the bathroom visit time, you are off to work and she doesn’t like it, thus the biting. A side note, use caution with any sprays or hair products with your grey in the near vicinity…they can be deadly.

    You might try changing her (and your) routine to something like getting her out earlier, spending time with her, caging her THEN getting ready for work. See is she is happy with that. Or use the bribe method, put one of her favorite treats in her cage before attempting to cage her, and make a big deal of how good that will be and how she is such a good bird for getting back into her cage, etc, etc. A bit of positive reinforcement.

    Our male started the biting thing when he didn’t want to be caged and his bites are vicious!! We have the scars to prove it. We had to use a perch and made him step up on that in order to cage him. Over time, he decided the out/visit time was worth more then being caged with a perch and he basically stopped biting.

    Greys are so intelligent, the slightest little aggravation to them can result in a severe bite. Generally you can tell when a bite is coming and attempt to stop it, and admonish them NOT to do that. They will get the point.

    All best,

  20. Pierre Diederichs says:

    Can my African Grey eat the seeds inside green beans and if I give my African Grey tomato, must I remove the pips?

  21. Bob says:

    Hi Pierre, tomatoes aren’t good for greys and I would stay away from feeding them. Green beans (string beans) however are fine, including the bean inside. Ours love green beans either cooked or raw, especially fresh from the garden!

    All Best,

  22. Phil says:

    my 31 year old accidently got a very small piece of avocado and but was only able to have a nibble or two of it before i was able to get him to release it, is he in any danger??

  23. Bob says:

    Hi Phil. I would check with an Avian Vet in your area as soon as possible for any recommendations.

  24. Scorpio says:

    hello i bought a congo parrot which has been trimed but i think it has been hurt and they told me before trimming it was talking but till now it didnt talk yet any suggestions or ideas for this situation
    thanks alot in advancd

  25. Bob says:

    Hello Scorpio, you really haven’t provided enough information to address your question. I don’t have a crystal ball 😉

    How old is the bird? How long have you had the bird? What you do mean by “trimmed” and “hurt”?

    I suspect you are talking his wings being clipped. Clipping a greys wings will not affect his speaking, if he was already talking well. He might be quiet for a day due to the sudden change for him, but that’s about it.

  26. Adel says:

    Hi Bob, my African Grey is 14 weeks old, when can i start giving him cooked meat bones with some meat on it? also fish, bacon, ham?



  27. Bob says:

    Hi Adel,
    I wouldn’t feed him ham or bacon…to much salt and fat. Cooked bones (chicken legs), however, are good. Ours really like cooked chicken leg bones. They crack them and eat the marrow inside plus you can leave a bit of leg meat on them as an addition treat. As for fish, we do give our guys a small piece of cooked salmon occasionally. We haven’t tried other kinds of fish, so you may want to ask around or do some research.

  28. Bella says:

    My grey just loves pasta any kind of pata and rice. How often can I give it to him and how much is too much?

  29. Bob says:

    Hi Bella, pasta and rice and you probably know contains starch. So I wouldn’t recommend it as a constant food. Occasionally should be ok. We feed our birds a spoon full of cooked spaghetti noodles or elbow pasta once in a while…about a table spoon. And I certainly wouldn’t feed any flavored packaged or box pasta mix…way to many preservatives and other stuff that might be harmful to your bird. Some people even feed uncooked pasta (the veggie kind) occasionally to their birds as sort of a snack to crack and enjoy.

    There’s a commercial product out there called ‘Crazy Corn’, and if I remember right, it contains some pasta, along with alot of other goodies. You might Google ‘crazy corn for parrots’ and see what pops up.

    All best,