Can birds eat avocado?

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “can birds eat avocado?” We will also discuss what food is toxic to birds and what is the recommended diet for these animals.

Can birds eat avocado?

No, birds can not eat avocados. Although these fruits are delicious, they are extremely toxic to any type of bird, when birds ingest the fruit, leaves, stems, and seed of the avocado it will cause myocardial necrosis, which means that the heart muscle cells will die.

If you have birds as pets, you know they love to eat various fresh foods that you can easily find at your local market, however, not all of the fresh ingredients will be beneficial for these animals. 

Avocados possess an agent called persin, which is found in all parts of this fruit, this compound is responsible for causing death to the heart cells of birds. This phenomenon is known as avocado toxicosis.

What is persin?

Persin is the compound that makes this fruit toxic for different animals, not only for birds. But what is persin exactly? Well, persin is a toxin with fungicidal properties that can be lethal for certain species.

It is present in all parts of the avocado plant, its appearance can be compared to fatty acids. Humans are not affected by the presence of this compound, but it seems like most animals can get intoxicated by this compound. 

It seems like the only animals that could eat avocados without any problem are just a few, some of them are

  • Sloth.
  • Hippopotamus.
  • Armadillos.
  • Elephant.
  • Ferrets.
  • Squirrels.

What animals are the most affected by persin?

Pet birds should never eat avocado because they are extremely sensitive to persin, they will experience sudden death. A similar phenomenon happens with larger animals, like ruminants and horses.  

Cats and dogs are not known for being severely affected by persin, but it is better to prevent it, so whatever you do, do not feed your pets with avocado! 

What is avocado toxicosis?

As we have already discussed, birds should never be fed with avocado as it can have lethal consequences. Avocado toxicosis is the name that this phenomenon receives according to Dr. Susan Muller.

It does not matter if they eat the fruit, leaves, stems, or seed of the avocado. It has been reported that all parts of an avocado tree will exhibit this compound. Even a single gram of avocado can severely affect birds, they will breathe with difficulty, and feather pulling will occur.

The symptoms related to this condition are

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Subcutaneous edema of the neck and pectoral regions.
  • Lethargy.
  • Feather pulling.
  • Sudden death.

Although there is not a specific taste that determines this toxicosis, the signs will let you know. If you want to read more about this subject, click here.

What food is recommended for birds?

You have different options when it comes to the nutrition of your birds, remember that you need to provide them with different nutrients that keep them healthy. Some people might rely on seed mixes, but they do not provide enough nutrients, they need to be supplemented.

Also, parrots are not recommended to be fed with seed mixes. If you do not feed your birds properly, they can gain weight and develop certain conditions, like liver disease.

The diet of your birds should be composed of pellets (50 to 70%) and fresh food (30 to 50%). Ask the veterinarian about what pellets they recommend for your type of bird, and make sure that it does not contain any additives, like sugar.

When it comes to fresh foods, you have different options. Fruits are delicious and birds love them, but they should only constitute 10 to 20% of their diet. It is the same thing for seeds and nuts.

Some examples of fresh food perfect for your birds are:

  • Raw or steamed veggies.
  • Cooked whole grains, like oats and quinoa.
  • Cooked legumes.
  • Raw or soaked nuts and seeds. 

What food is toxic for birds?

Now that you know what your birds can eat, there are a few things that you should avoid giving to them, such as

  • Alcohol. Just do not give alcohol to animals, as a general rule.
  • Avocado. This fruit is known for causing intoxication.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Meat.
  • Onion and garlic.
  • Caffeine. 
  • Dairy products.
  • Chocolate. This product is known for its toxicity to different animals, like dogs and cats.
  • Food with additives, like dyes or preservatives.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “can birds eat avocado?” We have also discussed what is the recommended diet for these animals and what food needs to be avoided.

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Citations

https://papayagorescuehouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AVOCADO-TOXICOSIS-AND-OTHER-FOODS-TOXIC-TO-BIRDS.pdf

https://petkeen.com/can-parrots-eat-avocado/

https://www.greensboroughvets.com.au/stories/interesting-animal-facts/339-avocado-poisoning-in-birds.html

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