Poisonous Foods for Parrots

Avoiding food high in pesticides can also improve your parrot's health.
Avoiding food high in pesticides can also improve your parrot's health. (Image: 2 parrots image by graham tomlin from Fotolia.com)

Sometimes you may wish to feed your parrot something you are eating at meal times. If so, it is important for you to know what is safe for a parrot to eat and what is poisonous. Some plants or fruits should never be fed to your pet. If your bird gets ill, this is usually serious, and you should take it to a vet immediately. Remember to check with your vet in case you are unsure about the effect a certain substance will have on your parrot.

Unsafe Food

Anything with a high fat content is unsuitable, as is anything with high sugar or salt levels. Chocolate, for example, is toxic, as is alcohol or caffeine. Generally, large beans, like kidney, lima or soy, should never be fed raw to a parrot. Once thoroughly cooked, they are safe to use. Curry powder is to be avoided. Garlic is safe in small quantities. Onions in a large amount are toxic, but in small amounts are all right. Mushrooms as a type of fungus can eventually cause liver failure. Remove all green plant parts around the tomato before feeding your bird tomato. The vine and leaves are toxic to parrots.

Unsafe Fruits

Apricot seeds or peach can cause a reaction. This is because there are small amounts of cyanide in the seeds of the rose family, also consisting of apples, cherries and pears. Any part of the avocado -- flesh, skin or seeds -- is poisonous and can cause cardiac problems. Ingestion of mistletoe berries can cause diarrhea, vomiting, breathing difficulties, hallucinations and death. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, but the stalks are safe to eat.

Unsafe Plants

Castor beans from the castor oil plant can cause a decrease in blood pressure and blood glucose. A simultaneous increase in serum hepatic enzymes like AST, ALT and LDH can cause stomach upset with diarrhea, vomiting, trembling and sudden collapse with seizures. Agave in any form such as from the sap or leaves causes immediate burning on skin and oral mucosa irritation. Almond plants or seeds plus almond nuts can cause allergic reactions. Amaryllis, also known as belladonna, causes abdominal pain, drooling, depression and loss of appetite. Azaleas can cause heart failure and coma. Avoid begonia, bleeding heart, caladium and calla lily. Catnip has been shown to produce drowsiness, disorientation and odd behavior. Chinese sacred bamboo is to be avoided too. Chrysanthemum results in vomiting and diarrhea. Daffodil bulbs cause severe gastrointestinal illness. Avoid delphinium, dumb cane, English ivy, philodendron, holly and hydrangea, Jack-in-the-pulpit and jimson weed. Kalanchoe causes anorexia, excessive salivation, cardio-toxic effects and labored respiration. Lantana, milkweed, marijuana and morning glory are poisonous. Oleander can slow the heart rate. Pencil cactus plant is harmful and poisinettia can cause irritation to the stomach lining. Rubber plant produces a loss of coordination in birds, as does the umbrella tree. Shamrock, sweet pea, tulip, weeping fig, yew, yucca and zamioculcas are all to be avoided.

How to Tell if Your Parrot is Poisoned

Droppings that are yellow, brown or black can show internal bleeding. If they are extra runny or firm, this also signals health problems. Respiratory problems may be indicated by birds sitting with their feathers ruffled up. The cere of the bird just above the beak can be red or have discharge around it. Discharge from eyes or cloudy eyes can be a problem. Should you see any of these signs, take your bird to a vet immediately. Other signs can include weight loss, changes in your bird’s voice, open-mouth breathing and tail bobbing.

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