Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ariel the Umbrella Cockatoo Helps Herself to Avocados

It is said just about everywhere that parrots should not eat avocados. I've always been suspicious of this because I believe much of the fear of avocados out there in regards to who should or should not eat it comes more from people's own fear of avocados than from actual studies.

The reason I mention this is because recently, Ariel, our umbrella cockatoo, has decided to eat avocados. We have a basket of them on the kitchen counter and she keeps hopping over and taking a bite. Once she sets her mind on something it's rather difficult to get her to stop.

I never allow our birds to eat avocados because it is better to be safe than sorry. I have never seen wild birds, like crows, eat them. But so far Ariel has taken a couple of bites and hasn't dropped dead, despite eating the skin and the dark green flesh.

So I decided to look up on the Interwebs any information about this. I found this excerpt from The Caique Site:

Avocado. There are studies showing avocado (Persia Americana) is harmful when fed to cockatiels (37, 85) . There are a number of cultivars, and toxicity may be cultivar specific. Clipsham has written about the possible toxicity of avocado in birds (24) noting its toxicity in ostriches (18) . However, Smith noted that feral flocks of parrots in Florida partake of them on a regular basis and a Florida aviculturalist who kept his birds in an old avocado orchard where his birds had access to them never experienced any difficulty (88) . Toxicity may be related to bird size or typical diet with cockatiels and budgerigars being more sensitive because they are smaller and seed eaters (106) . To be safe, though, it is porbably best to avoid feeding your parrot avocado, especially their peel, seeds and branches.

I tried to look up her footnote 88, Smith, G. A. 2000. Dogma. Magazine of the Parrot Society 34:25-26., but didn't find it.

In any case, I'm not going to start feeding her avocados, and I'm not going to allow her to help herself if at all possible, but I"m not going to lose too much sleep over it. I have to admit, my 20 year old birds have eaten all kinds of bad things, so a tiny little bit of avocado probably isn't enough to kill them.

No comments:

Post a Comment