Cut off from their wild environment, domestic birds nonetheless retain their natural diet. It is therefore important to respect it, in order to meet their needs and not cause any deficiency, but also not to poison them. It is essential to avoid feeding your pet birds any food which, if it is harmless to us, turns out to be toxic to them.
Be aware of the implications of captivity
In the wild, birds instinctively know how to choose the foods that suit them and meet their needs. What they have at their disposal is very varied and consists of berries, seeds, fruits and insects.
In nature, animals regulate their diet according to their level of energy expenditure correlated with their level of physical activity, and are able to adapt it according to the period they are going through: moulting, rearing babies etc. In the wild, you will never come across an obese bird!
Obviously, in captivity, the situation is totally different. The level of activity is very different and the instinct is not functioning optimally. The owner of a bird must therefore be attentive to what he feeds it.
Know the needs of your birds and their behavior
It is essential to find out beforehand about the bird (s) kept in order to provide them with appropriate care and food.
Mixes available in stores are not suitable for all birds and some packages specify the species of bird for which they were designed. It is important to know how to read labels anyway. Many industrial mixtures ultimately turn out to be too rich because they include large quantities of rapeseed, similar to rapeseed, niger, flax or sunflower.
The products sold by veterinarians are often more expensive but they are of higher quality. By buying them feed for your birds, you also benefit from tailor-made advice from a professional.
If you want to try the adventure of preparing home-made mixtures to give to your birds, one rule should be remembered: favor the light color. Indeed, the majority of fatty seeds are brown or brown in color. Seeds of canary seed, millet, buckwheat, oatmeal and wheat are among the most “healthy”.
In addition, birds do not blindly eat the mixtures you present them: they naturally go towards what they appreciate the most and therefore gain weight more quickly, leaving aside the seeds which nevertheless contributed to the overall balance of the food. ration. This does not mean that you have to eliminate the fatty seeds. It is simply necessary limit their proportion in the mixture, which will encourage the bird to consume the entire proposed mixture.
A food supplement rich in choline will greatly help to limit the infiltration of fats in the liver: there are synthetic foods but soybean germ, brewer’s yeast, oatmeal or wheat germ are among the natural foods richest in choline .
Foods that are toxic to pet birds
If the homemade composition of a mixture of seeds does not represent any danger for the birds, apart from a possible overdose of fat, it is at the level of the supplements to be given that the risks of introducing toxic foods are to be feared.
Indeed, the seeds being poor in vitamins, they constitute only part of the diet of birds. You should therefore feed your birds fresh fruits and vegetables, but not just any !
Here is the list of the main foods that should be banned from your birds’ diet:
- The seeds (apples, pears and other fruits containing them) must absolutely be removed because they contain cyanide,
- The same goes for the fruit stones, in particular the central almond,
- The skin of fruits and vegetables concentrates pesticides: it is therefore preferable to give peeled fruits and vegetables,
- Raw potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants, which contain solanine,
- Garlic, onion and shallot, which contain sulfur compounds,
- Honey is contraindicated because it may contain spores of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, responsible for botulism,
- Avocado does not contain any substance that is strictly speaking toxic, but is too fatty a food for a bird,
- Chocolate, which contains theobromine, an alkaloid causing digestive, cardiac and nervous disorders in animals,
- All products sweetened with glucose,
- Dairy products, which a bird cannot digest,
- Meat, for the same reason as dairy products.
Raw mushrooms, peanuts, passion fruit, rhubarb, citrus fruits (because of their acidity) should also be banned.
Feeding some of the foods on the above list to your birds probably wouldn’t have occurred to you because they are unsuitable. But for others, you have to stay vigilant because they seem very harmless to us, including for a bird!