Knowing what to feed and what not to feed to your cockatiel can help prevent food poisoning. While there are a variety of foods that can be comfortably fed to cockatiels, there are some foods that you should never feed your tiel. Below is a detailed list of the food that you should avoid.
What cockatiels should not eat? The following foods are toxic to cockatiels and cockatiels should not eat them chocolate, avocado, onions, garlic, spoiled seeds, mushrooms, alcohol, salt, honey, high sodium foods, high sugar foods, caffeine, dried or uncooked beans, rhubarb, Any products that contain xylitol such as some peanut butter. These toxic foods will cause health issues to cockatiels such as liver damage and hypoglycemia.
Cockatiels are highly prone to obesity and iodine deficiency; a poor diet will expose them to this health problem among others.
A poor diet will also lead to malnutrition, diseases that will affect your cockatiel response to weather, and diseases. Make sure your cockatiel has access to commercially made pellets plus about 20-25% of fruits and veggies in its daily diet.
What Foods are Toxic to Cockatiels?
Can cockatiels eat spoiled seeds? You should never spoiled seeds to your cockatiel; they will cause health issues that may end up harming your cockatiel.
If not properly stored bird seeds can go bad, this includes rotting, growing molds, bacteria, and being infested with bugs. When these spoilt seeds are fed to cockatiels they will end up causing diseases.
Refrigerating your cockatiels seeds in moisture-tight papers should extend the life of your bird seeds and keep them fresh longer. If you are in doubt about the freshness of your cockatiels seeds, do not offer these seeds to your pet bird or backyard birds.
Do not get me wrong cockatiels can eat bread, but in small amounts. Small amounts of bread fed to cockatiels will not harm them.
However, feeding bread in large quantities will not benefit your cockatiel since bread have low nutritional value.
The best bread to offer to your cockatiel is whole grain bread. You could apply some xylitol sugar-free peanut butter, suet, and seeds. However, avoid feeding spoilt bread that has mold or is rotten.
Cockatiels love eating fruits, vegetables, and greens. Together they should make up about 20-25% of your cockatiel daily diet. However, the best form of fruits, veggies, and greens are ones that have been grown organically.
Organically grown fruits and vegetables are free from pesticides, herbicides, and other toxic chemicals.
As a result, always wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before feeding your cockatiel. Even small amounts of these toxic substances will accumulate in your cockatiels’ body and lead to breeding issues.
Cockatiels can eat chips, but in very small amounts. Again ensure that the potato chips are homemade and not salted.
Junk foods like chips, cheese puffs, corn chips, and pretzels offer little to no nutritional value to cockatiels and other birds.
They are also loaded with chemicals that will end up harming your cockatiel in the long run. The alarming part about these junk feeds is the fact that their effect is felt over time once these toxic chemicals have accumulated in your cockatiel’s body.
Excess salt is harmful to human beings; the same way feeding your cockatiel any salted food can cause very adverse health effects. While a little salt is just fine, the problem comes in deciding how little should the little be.
Given the small size of the cockatiel, it is very hard to tell how much salt they can tolerate, salt upsets fluid and electrolyte balance in your cockatiel’s body.
This will lead to dehydration, kidney failure and may eventually lead to death.
Can cockatiels drink coffee or tea? The simple answer is no, cockatiels should not drink coffee, tea, and soft drinks, or any other caffeinated drink.
Caffeine is dangerous to cockatiels in the sense that it can increase the heart rate, induce hyperactivity arrhythmias and even result in cardiac arrest in cockatiels. This goes without saying that cockatiels or any other bird should not also eat coffee beans.
That said, cockatiels and other birds can drink a special type of tea known as chamomile tea. Chamomile tea is made from organically grown chamomile flowers and is caffeine-free.
Chamomile tea has been associated with helping to calm your bird, improve sleep quality and help in easing tense muscles and aid in digestion and boost the immune system.
Milk and Dairy products
Can cockatiels drink milk or eat cheese? The simple answer is, cockatiels can drink a little amount of milk and eat cheese.
But the challenge comes when deciding how little the little milk should be. Therefore, avoid feeding milk to your cockatiel since like all birds they are lactose intolerant and excess milk or dairy products can cause diarrhea.
If you have to feed daily products, feed dairy products that have little or no lactose such as cheese and yogurts, still, these dairy products should be fed in moderation.
A small piece of cheese or a little milk may not do any harm to your cockatiel if offered in moderation. Be sure to consult your veterinarian on the amount that is safe for your cockatiel.
Onions and Garlic
Onions and garlic rank on top of the list of vegetables that are not safe to feed to your cockatiel or any other bird whether cooked or raw.
Onions and garlic are loaded with sulfur which causes irritation in the mouth lining of cockatiels, crop, or esophagus. Sulfur can also cause ulcers, induce rupture of the red blood cell leading to anemia.
Garlic also contains a compound known as allicin, a chemical that can cause weakness and anemia in cockatiels.
If you have to spice up your cockatiel’s diet feed hot pepper that is rich in vitamin A which as we discussed on this site is great for coloring your cockatiel.
Fruits pits and apple seeds
Most fruits are safe for cockatiels apart from avocado. Most fruits contain a lot of seeds such as apples and pears just to name a few. Other fruits contain pits such as apricots, cherries, plums, and nectarines.
When offering these fruits to cockatiels always remember to remove the seeds and pits, the pits and seeds contain cyanide that can cause cardiac arrest to a cockatiel.
Other seeds from fruits such as grapes, citrus fruits, pumpkins, tomatoes, squash, melons, pomegranate, and berries are safe for your cockatiel.
Cockatiels are highly prone to obesity, compared to their wild relatives, captive cockatiels do not get time and space to fly around. Therefore, it goes without saying that they will not be able to burn extra calories.
You should therefore avoid a high-fat diet for your cockatiels. As a matter of fact, cockatiels that are fed an all-seed diet are highly susceptible to developing obesity.
Seeds have a high-fat content compared to other nutrients therefore make sure you limit the number of seeds you feed to a cockatiel. A cockatiel fed on commercially made pellets stands a better chance to fight obesity than a cockatiel fed on an all seeds diet.
Xylitol is normally used in making most products that are marked as sugarless, such as gums and peanut butter. While sugarless and xylitol-free peanut butter is a delicacy for a cockatiel, you should avoid any that has xylitol or sugar.
While the effect of xylitol has not been studied in-depth. Xylitol in dogs and other animals causes hypoglycemia and liver damage given that birds have a high metabolism rate and high sensitivity compared to other animals a small amount of toxin can lead to toxic effects very fast.
While most fruits are safe for cockatiels, avocados should never be fed to cockatiels. The avocado plant leaves contain a substance known as persin that protects the plant from fungus.
When consumed by bird’s persin will cause heart damage, weakness, and respiratory difficulties and may even result in death.
Therefore, avoid feeding your cockatiel avocado or any food that has avocado such as guacamole.
Most birds love and enjoy chocolate. But can cockatiels eat chocolate? Cockatiels should not eat chocolate.
Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine that can lead to diarrhea and vomiting, increased heart rate, hyperactivity, induce seizures and tremors, and may even lead to death.
This a little-known substance that is very toxic to birds including cockatiels, while some bird owners know of the toxicity of Teflon.
A few are not aware, there have been reports of pet birds just dropping and dying. Teflon is the substance used in the making of nonstick cookware.
When heated under very high temperatures, Teflon emits microscopic vapors that are highly toxic to cockatiels and all other birds.
Mushrooms are also on the list of foods that are toxic cockatiels; however, mushrooms that can be safely eaten by human beings are not toxic to cockatiels.
When these microscopic vapors are inhaled by birds they cause respiratory complications that can kill your pet bird or wild bird instantly.
What should you do if a cockatiel eats these foods?
If your cockatiel eats these toxic foods, you should consult your veterinarian immediately. They are equipped with the knowledge to deal with such emergencies.
The best advice when feeding cockatiel is to use common sense and do research before feeding, even better you can always consult your veterinarian.
While providing variety of food to your cockatiel will ensure they have a balanced diet. You should be very careful about the kind of food you feed your tiel. Avoid the foods and beverages mentioned in this guide and you and your cockatiel will have a long life together.
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