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#27669 - 06/01/03 02:09 AM chicken and bones - OK?  
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WendyK Offline
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A number of people have mentioned feeding their toos chicken and bones - cooked chicken and cooked bones? I just have this vision of a sharp bone getting stuck (you can NOT feed a dog a cooked bone for this very reason) eek SO - I'd appreciate a clarification here (my Goffins loves all sorts of things and I'm always looking for safe ways to expand his diet. Thanks WendyK

#27670 - 06/01/03 02:25 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Hi - I know I'm out of my forum here, but I couldn't help myself :p
I don't recommend feeding any meats to these guys, Wendy
First, there is a lot of iron in the meat and marrow, second, the protein contains purine amino acids, not well utilized by psittacines (not being natural carnivores) and these purines can cause problems if too much for too long, third, I have seen several cases of esophgeal lacerations from splinters of bones (mostly in macaws, but - can't be too careful), finally, I see birds that eat a lot of meat and they often have higher cholesterol, fat in the serum (lipemia) and sometimes are more hyperactive until the meat is discontinued. Why redesign mother natures plan for them?
Dr. Mike

#27671 - 06/01/03 05:44 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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I'd love to hear about fish as well...Vittorio goes nuts for tuna.
ciao and thanks!
Maria

#27672 - 06/01/03 12:27 PM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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I think fish is also not a pert of their nautural diet, but the benefits of the vitamins and essential oils may outweigh that when giving a SMALL bit here and there - no more than once monthly. I would remind you, though, that they do usually love it. I feel bad giving them a tiny bit of something they love so much that they they then crave and I can't give them a lot!
I had a cockatoo (LSC2) for 25 years that I made the mistake of giving some Pepsi (in the "olden days"). When I realized this was making her very hyper, I quit giving it. Then for the next 15 years until she died of a heart infection, She would go absolutely banannas whenever she caught sight of a Pepsi can! I felt terrible I had given her that craving. They don't forget!
Dr. Mike

#27673 - 06/01/03 02:21 PM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Dr Mike. I have often stated that it was Ok for small pieces of steak or chicken now and then. As most of these birds eat some bugs in the wild and in the case of the Moluccans actually tearing the bark off trees to get at the grubs inside, I don't see a problem with a little "natural" protein now and then. Of course I'm certainly not advocating this on a daily basis. I'm thinking of once or twice a week and TINY portions on the order of a finger tip sized piece.

Naturally, many people are inclined to overfeed anything that their bird likes..like cheese for instance. This is not only spoiling their bird but also dangerous in the long run. People can kill their companions with LOVE as fast as some might with neglect. I hope I've made myself very clear on this issue since day one when we started.

In the meantime, am I off base on this issue the way I've explained it?

#27674 - 06/01/03 06:29 PM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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I'm sure glad you asked about this Jerry..because I have always given my birds a chicken leg (all but a tiny bit of the meat gone) and like you, not on a daily or even weekly basis..but at least twice a month and I was under the impression it wouldnt hurt them and was actually good for them if only given once in a while. Now I'm very confused about this issue.

#27675 - 06/01/03 06:30 PM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Thanks again to all who contributed an answer here - the willingness of people on this list to share their knowledge and experiences is extraordinary - Dr. Mike - when do you sleep <img border="0" alt="[laughing]" title="" src="graemlins/laugh[1].gif" />

#27676 - 06/01/03 07:51 PM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Quote:
I'm sure glad you asked about this Jerry..because I have always given my birds a chicken leg (all but a tiny bit of the meat gone)
I will occassionally do the same thing except with a chicken wing bone or a baby back rib bone with remnants of meat left on. Rico and Shadow love to pick every lttle tidbit off and then they drum the bones on the perch or cage for awhile. IMHO, I think the key is not to overdue and give it as a treat.
RD

#27677 - 06/01/03 09:07 PM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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I have to disagree with you a bit Dr. Mike. I am a firm believer that inorder to understand our birds in captivity we have to understand them in the wild. So I read as many wild bird books pretaining to our birds as possible. In a New Zealand bird watching guide the diet of the Kakariki is described, included in the list of various grasses, fruits, and flowers is carrion ! Yep, dead (sometimes *very* dead) animals. Wild amazons have been seen *fighting* over dead fish. Other species eat grubs and other bugs. Meat is *major* part of the kea diet, and ecelutus parrots apparently need a higher amount of *animal* protien then do most other parrots. (not all parrots are like this, from what I have been reading pionus parrots, especially females, should *not* have more the 3% of their diet as protien, which is why many female pi's just don't do well on a pelleted diet. The protien is too high for them)

That being said... Most parrots shouldn't have meat more then every two weeks. In the wild, even if they wanted to eat meat all day, they just wouldn't have a lot of it available. In most areas of the world they would have a lot of compatition from other, more aggressive, animals for meat.

#27678 - 06/02/03 03:49 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Gloria, I understand your concern but you must understand that some birds are "set up" to eat dead animals... some live animals.. some insects... some only seed..some mostly fruit etc.

I'm thinking that too many people feed their parrots too much cheese..meat.. people food with salt and lots of other bad things. When people see how much their birds enjoy these "forbidden foods" they tend to give them more and more. In other words... they kill them with kindness. A person with self discipline however will offer small amounts of these things now and then and not on any regular basis. I think this is what Dr Mike is referring to.

#27679 - 06/02/03 05:24 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Well, looks like I opened a can of (protein) worms here. I will tell you that I am here (on this board) to share what I see on my side of the exam table with you so that you may have the knowledge available to prevent possible problems in your birds (as I KNOW you are anxious to do). I am here to tell you that I have seen ALL of these problems, and I see them OFTEN. It breaks my heart each time I have to explain to an owner that the problem their bird is experiencing probably could have been prevented. Frankly, I was really hoping this forum would allow me to actually help loving owners of these captive animals to prevent the problems I see, both medical and behavioral, simply by sharing the experiences I and my colleagues have become used to seeing so often &#8211; BEFORE it is too late for them.
I will first list the problems I see in birds that are fed animal proteins (and fats, for that matter) &#8220;too much for too long&#8221; (the words I used in my original caution to Wendy) : 1) high cholesterol levels that lead to hepatic lipidosis, fat embolic strokes, and atherosclerosis, 2) excess fat deposition in the abdominal cavity that compromises air sac capacity, leading to chronic hypoxia which leads to heart failure, neurological disorders, bumblefoot, abdominal hernias, reproductive tract failure (abdominal crowding by fat is one of several factors that is often involved in egg-binding), and, combined with over-clipped wings &#8211; potentially fatal injuries from falling and landing hard. 3) a greatly increased risk of both articular and visceral gout &#8211; after all, that protein must be broken down and metabolized and those components that are not used or stored must be excreted in the form of uric acid, the end metabolite of protein metabolism in birds) and if there is an excess, then over time it often builds up &#8211; slowly but surely, in the bloodstream and then begins to deposit in joints and on the serosal surfaces of organs like the heart and liver. (I can guarantee you DO NOT want to end up with a bird with gout &#8211; it is a horrible, slow, painful way to live, then after months of treatment, finally die) 4) measurable (by observation of amount of time awake and active versus asleep and resting) increase in hyperactivity and nervous behavior that exasperates any anxiety-associated behavior disorders such as separation anxiety, phobias, excessive dependency (which often leads to excessive screaming). These problems are not the kind of problems that develop quickly, like consuming a toxin that acts rapidly or being exposed to a virus like Pacheco's that also kills quickly. These are problems that develop slowly, insidiously over time. The bird is often able to compensate for the slowly changing metabolism. They are endowed by nature with a very strong instinct to hide minor flaws in metabolism caused by slowly progressive disease (in order to avoid predation and flock shunning), so by the time symptoms manifest themselves &#8211; usually when a threshold of tolerability to the developing abnormality is approached and then some &#8220;stress factor&#8221;, like the famous &#8220;draft&#8221; is all it takes to cause sudden decompensation and rapid decline in health &#8211; often leading to death. This is really no different than a person who has been developing heart disease for months or years. The body slowly compensates for the gradual decline in physiologic function without having outward symptoms until they also reach a threshold beyond which the body can no longer tolerate. The person has a sudden heart attack, then wonders how he could have missed the signs. Usually, there simply were no signs, or those that were there got blamed on benign possibilities. But that artery didn't become blocked overnight, I assure you.

Yes, Gloria, I am well aware that various species have been observed in the wild to be eating items that contain animal protein, but allow me to remind you of several other facts about birds in the wild: 1) In the wild state, these birds are free to do the job that nature designed them to do &#8211; namely reproduce. In the process of achieving that goal in the wild, they must expend a great deal of energy in the following ways: they must spend a lot of time flying, back and forth from roosting territories to nesting territories and back again. Short-distance flights are a large part of their day. They go from tree to tree and tree to ground and back again. Flying is involved in a large part of their activities, including acquiring, marking (which involves constant physical presence at different spots peripheral to their territory), and holding territories (which involves a lot of displaying and chasing intruders). They usually must move their territories seasonally (not migration, but territory range-shifting). They must avoid and chase predators. The male must go back and forth from the nest to feeding areas and back many times during the process of raising babies. They burn a LOT of calories in this very BIRD activity. Next, the females must first store, then release a great deal of energy in the actual reproductive process. It takes a lot of protein and cholesterol to build those eggs. It takes a lot of energy to produce them. It then takes a lot of energy to raise and fledge babies.
Please honestly imagine the comparison in energy consumption in the wild state versus the relatively sedentary captive state.
Now, I know all of you are consciously trying to take the responsibility to provide a life as safe, as free from stress, anxiety and disease as is humanly possible for your beloved birds. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be here, typing my fingers to the bone. I am painfully aware of the explosion of information that has become available about how to best accomplish that goal. I am also aware that it is frustratingly obvious that much of the information that is out there is conflicting &#8211; especially when it comes to the two most complex issues of diet and behavior. You have probably noticed that I advocate doing things as naturally as possible. Indeed, my entire philosophy regarding behavior revolves around learning their natural behavior and figuring out the best way to understand them and designing our management strategies for captivity around that understanding, rather than arrogantly trying to force them to learn our &#8220;language&#8221;, then try to reinvent what mother nature has developed for them and convert them into &#8220;winged humans&#8221;. When it comes to diet, we would be very negligent not to pay attention to the information and data that has accumulated regarding medical problems that are seen frequently as a result of diets that prove to be incompatible over time with the rest of the management strategies we tend to employ in the act of keeping them captive. These strategies include, but are not limited to imprinting them (which teaches them we are their flock and that a human will ultimately be their mate), allowing them to expend only a fraction of the energy they are designed for, and feeding them diets that are extrapolated from an observed wild diet that nature has provided for them to be able to perform their wild activities. I maintain that in order to ultimately arrive at the most nutritionally safe and healthy diet for them, we must look beyond &#8220;what we see them eating in the wild&#8221;, to include an intelligent modification of that &#8220;wild&#8221; diet to suit the compromised life we FORCE them to live in captivity. Those modifications are well within their natural adaptability. For example &#8211; if they sometimes eat animal protein and fat in the wild, is that because this is an absolute requirement? I think not. It is simply a way for them to boost their energy intake as needed to allow for the WILD activities they must participate in. Activities that we CANNOT reproduce in our captive circumstances, unless of course we manage them as some of the large, well funded zoos do, with HUGE, protected biosphere-like captive environments and absolute MINIMAL interference by humans. Face it &#8211; none of us can do that for our pets. We can't even come close. Now, if you are willing to concede that large amounts of animal protein and fat are likely to cause problems and you feel that you can justify small amounts infrequently because they &#8220;like&#8221; it, consider this: most of you who feed small amounts infrequently will probably agree that they do seem to like it &#8211; very much. So much so that they jump on it and eat it ravenously when given the chance. They like it so much, in fact that they will usually eat way too much if given the chance and run a much higher risk of developing the medical problems I have described above (I repeat &#8211; I and my colleagues see the problems every day &#8211; they are not rare, they are very common). That, in my humble opinion, means they often begin to CRAVE it (like my LSC2 I have told about who craved Pepsi and never forgot &#8211; even years after discontinuing the practice of allowing her to have some, she would go BALLISTIC any time she saw a Pepsi can). Knowing that they are already subject to a certain amount of stress in their captive life (can you believe for a second that a bird would self mutilate if there were no stress in his being?), how can you knowingly contribute yet another stress by introducing a craving into his life by feeding only a small amount of an item that you ADMIT that you believe is not safe to feed a lot of BY SAYING you only feed it monthly and in small portions. Isn't that a form of teasing? Isn't that a form of CRUELTY?

Regarding some of the &#8220;facts&#8221; that are propagated in the so called &#8220;literature&#8221; you quote, I would really love to see the pionus (or any other species) that can actually survive, let alone thrive on a STARVATION diet consisting of only 3% protein. I think this has to be a typo. This is absolutely ludicrous. Trust me, (or, if not &#8211; at least look into the nutritional literature that is backed by solid data and sound conclusions based on meticulously scrutinized scientific study &#8211; carefully) we do have A LOT of good data to show that this low level of protein is not compatible to the development or maintenance of life for any bird. I empathize with anyone faced with trying to sort out what is good information from what is rubbish. It is not an easy task. Use common sense as a starting point. All grains have at least 9% protein. How could you even feed them a total level of 3%? There are a lot of claims out there that are based on conjecture. Look at the Manna diet &#8211; I would be very interested, for example to see it actually analyzed for protein and fat composition on a dry-matter basis. I think you might be surprised at the levels &#8211; keep in mind that plants are made of protein, too. The statement that APPERANTLY, eclectus need a higher amount of animal protein that other parrots is, IMO a conclusion based on partial observation which does not account for 1) all the eclectus that are observed eating fruit and green vegetable matter as a large potion of their diet in the wild, 2) the known fact that, physiologically, a fruit eater or a vegetable eater is not designed the same as a carnivore. They are different in many anatomical and physiological ways, from the length of their GI, to the types and amounts of digestive enzymes they produce, to the types and concentrations of uptake receptors in the mucosal lining of their small intestine, to the very nature of the behavior patterns they display as a flock (in the case of vegetarians, or lone existence in the case of most carnivores), or 3) all the eclectus in captivity over many years that are measurably healthy and successful reproductively while eating a diet that contains no animal protein. They may, indeed supplement their wild diet with animal protein and fat occasionally either out of a desperate attempt to catch up nutritionally when availability of their more natural diet is low (availability does vary with season and weather in a given ecosystem, or niche), or to boost energy in times of REAL need, as I described above. Its not a matter of just not always having animal protein available, it's a matter of specific NEED. Need based on unavailability of the normal diet at times, or need for more energy at times.

OK, that being said and off my chest, I'll tell you what I tell my clients: A small amount of chicken or other item of animal protein or fat given infrequently will probably not cause the serious health or behavior problems I listed above, but please do not fool yourself into believing it is necessary to their nutritional health based on extrapolated observations of what they are seen to eat in the wild. They are not in the wild. They are in captivity, being prevented from being what nature intended them to be &#8211; wild. If you didn't agree with that, deep in your heart, I doubt you would be on this board.

I'm on your side &#8211; really
Dr. Mike (PS I rarely sleep much - I'm on a mission) smile

#27680 - 06/02/03 05:48 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Just a quick PS
Jerry has an excellent point that many people tend to give more of anything to their birds when they observe them "enjoying" the item a lot - this is probably what contributes the most to the majority of the medical problems I described
Thanks Jerry!
smile

#27681 - 06/02/03 11:50 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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OK, now you have my brain thinking.. only for a minute though or it'll go into over load and shut down.

Lets say I do feed my birds meat, wouldn't proper vet care catch the problem in my birds diet long before it becomes such a major health problem?

That's assuming I have a FULL work up.

If so, then how often should a bird see a vet for the full work up?

Currently, any new birds entering my home are screened for PBFD, Polyoma and Clamydia. Then they get fecals, CBC and a full chem. panel.

On the first anniversary, I repeat the fecals, CBC and chem. panels. On the second anniversary I do the same only I usually just get a basic chem. panel and sometimes add something in based on the species of bird and it's tendancy towards a particular problem. At least every 5 years I get a full chem. panel again.

Is this sufficient to catch a diet related issue?

#27682 - 06/02/03 09:17 PM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Quote:
I found a veggie cheddar cheese (no hormones added or antibiotics) for them to have a snack of their "cheddar" when I have mine. I give shrimp (3 salad shrimps to M2, 2 ea. to the ekkie, RB2, 1 to the sun conure, 1 split between 2 budgies) 2 times a week. Should I stop this ? What about hard boiled eggs (no breeding) should I stop this also ?
Hi M2Mom
Now theres a great idea about the veggie cheddar! I have to admit I am still a little on the fence with the shrimp, though. I'll put it this way - I wouldn't feed shrimp to my guys! The egg is another story - IF there is NEED (nutritional deficiencies due to disease, egg production - whether actually "breeding" or not - a stubborn (but temporary, as you work to teach them to accept) lack of acceptance of an otherwise balanced diet, etc.) for increased protein and cholesterol, it is my opinion that mashed hard-boiled egg is appropriate and natural. If unsure of the need, at least limit the amount of yolk and give the white. Please have at least cholesterol checked every 6 months if feeding regular amounts of egg.
I think that treats that are made of ingredients like the veggie cheddar are fine and very appropriate – way to go! I suspect there are many other things like this out there on the shelves for people - I have seen "puffs" made of carrots. Check around and let us know what you find!
I also think that most of the breakfast cereals, like Cherrios, any of the “chex brothers” (wheat chex, rice chex, corn chex, etc.) are also great treats. Also, many of the “puffed” cereals and treats that are not excessively salted or sugared are often enjoyed by our charges. Thanks for this suggestion!
Dr. Mike smile

#27683 - 06/02/03 09:24 PM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Hi Donna,
I can tell that you are very responsibly attentive to your bird’s needs and I commend you for the monitoring protocols you employ - good for you! I always tell my clients that the frequency and amount of detail needed in routine checkups should be judged based on several factors: 1) whether there is any exposure to unknown (untested) birds, - if the bird is boarded, for example, or if a new bird is acquired without thorough incoming testing, as another example, then a full set of infectious disease diagnostics should be performed. 2) if the bird has known metabolic problems that need to be monitored, 3) in general, the older the bird, the more detailed the routine exams should be.
In the case of wanting to check for diet-related problems coming up, remember that these can sometimes be subtle at first, but, in general, a chemistry panel (including cholesterol, liver enzymes, bile acids, uric acid, and serum condition - lipemia test) yearly for most birds, and every 6 months if the bird is reproductively active or otherwise at higher risk would be appropriate. Also, in all cases, an x-ray every 3 - 4 years for medium to low risk birds, and annually for high-risk birds is not a bad idea to check bone density and organ size and density, as well.
Thanks for the question – I think that one cannot be too careful, especially since we haven’t really arrived at the “ideal” level of knowledge about this very complex issue of “what’s best” for nutritional soundness and "proper" CAPTIVE diet for various species and individual circumstances.
Dr. Mike smile

#27684 - 06/03/03 12:17 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Humm, I had been wondering about the whole bone and meat thing for a while. I have been giving my more active birds the ocsonal sliver of meat, no more than a taste realy, as too many of the meats available regularily are too laced with chemicals I would rather not feed my bird. I had also wondered about dealing with chicken bones in paticular. I have seen too many dogs rushed to the vet, only to die from a sharp shard of bone that thay swallowed accsidently. I actualy never gave my dog bones because of that, I felt it safer to give him other chew toys.
But, really, what I wanted to say was thanks for the heads up, you more or less have said that I am doing allright.

Kibbe.

#27685 - 06/03/03 04:27 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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hey you guys - be nice to Dr. Mike - he's not getting enough shut eye! :rolleyes:

#27686 - 06/03/03 07:09 PM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Thank you Dr. Mike for such a detailed response, I have always given my larger birds a chicken leg on occassion, thinking it WAS good for them and they love to get into the marrow of the bone. I will now limit this to only once in a while not twice a month as I have always done in the past. (now will you come to my house and explain to my BIRDS why they cant have their chicken legs anymore? LOL)

#27687 - 06/03/03 11:32 PM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Hi M2Mom
How ingenius!!
THIS is the way to think !
I’m impressed with your creativeness – how about a cookbook? Keep dreaming this stuff up and share with us! How about one for Mona – try getting some 100% soyburger, add in a tiny bit of chicken bullion broth for flavor, then sculpt little "legs" for those little leg fans of yours. If you bake them till crisp, then cool, they might just go for them. Of course, you'll probably have to eat some in front of them to convince them these new legs are OK! I’d love to come over and “explain” things to them, but they really should hear it from their mom!
Dr. Mike laugh

#27688 - 06/04/03 01:08 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Dr. Mike, I guess my problem is that I have seen quite a few birds, (admitidly mostly budgies, cockatiels, and canaries) that were overwieght because they *weren't* getting enough protien. They were usually on a seed, or a seed-and-greens, diet and were gorging on the seed to "make up" for the protien they weren't getting. Generally the addition of hardboiled egg once a week was enough to get them to slim down. Most of the avian experts in my area, including the vets, recomend chicken every two weeks, and since those were the folks I learned from...

#27689 - 06/07/03 06:51 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Hi Gloria
I can tell you want only the best for your birds, and I don't blame you for being skeptical and wanting to stick with what seems to work. I am just going to put a non-judgemental "bug in your ear":
I submit that just maybe, there is/are other reasons for the birds you have seen to become obese "gorging on seeds" to have become that way. I can tell you, that from a physiological standpoint, feeding overweight birds that tend to otherwise overeat high-fat items regular high animal protein items like chicken is actually acting as an appetite suppressant. This does tend to "balance out" the "binges" of the high fat foods, but at what cost? Not only do these animal protein meals have potential for the kinds of long-term damage I described above, but also, there is even more potential for damage by allowing them to binge on the high-fat regular diets, then getting them to "slim down" using the high protein meals. Granted, in the long run, these birds have less stored fat in their bodies, but if you were to simply limit the amount of seed or time they have the seed available to them, and offer them alternatives to balance their seed diet, such as low-fat things like rice, greens , sprouts, cereals made from rice and other lowfat grains (or even pellets), you might be able to solve the problem more naturally, rather than rely on "old, tried and true" nutritional "fixes" that may have consequences in and of themselves. Have you tied the Dr. Beex Birdkakes? Most of these guys love them - Mona just posted (under "diet") about them along with the site where you can get them. If your birds ate these regularly, they probably would consume less seed, have less fat to burn, and not need the chicken to supress their appetite. Now I know this is sometimes easier said than done. You have to teach the birds to eat these other items. If they accept you as a flock member, this isn't too hard - just eat the items in front of them - a lot. If they are not, then try to get at least one of them to accept the items, then let him "show" the others how to eat them.
I really am not trying to be annoying, just helpful.

#27690 - 06/07/03 10:51 PM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Hi Dr. Mike,

Thank you for enlightenment on the topic of the meat. I too have given my cockatoo chicken bones with a little meat on it. I am glad that I keep it as a treat for her. I have noticed that she usually seems to want this kind of treat around the fall so I figured it has something to do with her going into mating mode.

I was wondering if you can recommend any type of a vitamin supplement for my birds. They currently have zoopreem pellets in their cages at all times (except when they are on the floor <img border="0" alt="[laughing]" title="" src="graemlins/laugh[1].gif" /> ) and I do cook for them. However, I am concerned that since they are so picky they might not be getting everything they need, especially my grey (calcium). They tend to like the rice and pasta, chick peas, kidney beans, and a few other things in the mix, as well as whatever I am eating (chinese, italian, hamburger I know I know bad me). But like most "kids" they tend to pick and choose. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

....Mich

#27691 - 06/07/03 11:45 PM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Dr. Mike Offline
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Hi Mich
Actually, it sounds like you are doing a good job for them - I'll stay off your back about the tiny bits of meat wink
Since you cook for them, why not just take some pellets, grind them up and mix some of the powder into whatever they are eating? this usually works well. Also, try soyburger - I wasn't kidding - they usually love it and it is healthier for them than beef. I think that, in general, a vitamin supplement is a poor excuse for a bad diet (unless there is an identified need, like recovery from illness, etc). You are not feeding a bad diet, so I wouldn't worry about adding to it with a vitamin supplement. Some of those vitamins can actually be toxic in high doses, anyway (Vit D3, esp). As for the calcium, any dark green leafy veggie, like collards, romaine, chickory, parsley, spinach, etc. will supply lots of it. Try cooking (steamed or boiled) it and mixing it with the cooked food you now give (If you blend all this, it will be too homogeneous for them to select any certain ingredients). You can also take a cuttlebone, scrape some calcium powder (excellent source of calcium carbonate) off and mix it in with the soft, wet items you now give. Be creative (you seem to be good at that, from your description). Also, remember that the pellets are already fortified with the trace minerals and vitamins, like D, A, E, etc. that they need, so just getting some of them into the bird is plenty. Have you ever baked cornbread for them? You can add a lot of fun stuff into this. Shortly before it is done baking, pull it out of the oven and insert wads of steamed or boiled leafy veggies (only one idea, you can put pellet powder and all kinds of other things in these). Try the Dr. Beex Birdkakes Mona mentioned recently under Diet - they are also very healthy. Relax - you are doing great.
Dr. Mike smile

#27692 - 06/08/03 07:06 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Thanks for the tips Dr. Mike. I will try the cornbread and crushing the pellets. My grandmother had a killer recipe that they love so I will use it as my base. I had not thought to add other stuff to it so we will see what happens. I have found an all natural veggie burger pattie that I do buy sometimes when I am in the mood for a healthy burger - they seem to think it is ok. I will quit worrying about the vitamins then. I live in the middle of nowhere and do not really have a certified avian vet available, although there is one in town who has dealt with birds for a long time. The nearest one is at least 40-60 miles away so I try to keep my girls as healthy as possible.

#27693 - 06/08/03 01:55 PM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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What do people think of soy and soy milk as protein source? All my birds are offered soy milk each day or warm heated soy "meats".

I used to do the well cooked poultry/meat thing but then I got thinking... I wouldn't eat ape, monkey, or chimp meat so I didn't want my birds eating chicken or turkey. Cannibalism in a way to me. Eggs too.

#27694 - 06/08/03 03:19 PM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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I am also curious to hear from others about their opinions of soy products and whether their birds like them - all of the ones I have questioned (owners, that is), and all the birds I have fed soy to seem to agree - they usually do like it. Keep in mind that all protein is just made up of amino acids. There are only a limited number of them in existence. Plants have protein that just doesn't share ALL of its amino acids with animal protein. Animal-based protein just doesn't share all of its amino acids with plant protein. Most of the make-up of amino acids are common to both. Animals that are "designed" to be herbivores do not need the amino acids that are unique to animal protein - that's the only difference. The term "protein" is not an animal-based exclusive term. Soybeans are a great source of plant-based protein.
Dr. Mike smile

#27695 - 06/08/03 05:46 PM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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I'm a pesco-vegetarian (I eat fish) and (amongst a lot of other 'healthy' stuff) our family does eat soy and rice products in our house. Faith and Echo (M2 & ekkie), look to see what we're eating and then enjoy those products right along side of us. As Jerry pointed out earlier, if they don't like it today, offer it tomorrow, they may change their minds.

We use vegan cheese (tastes like Velveeta) and our birds sit right along side of us with a chunk in their feet, some smeared in their beaks (which they promptly rub on my hair -- sigh....) and enjoy it. Soy/veggie burgers are good too. You can also get soy/veggie bacon, sausage, turkey, bologna, etc. even soy taco meat, if you need more "meat" in your diet. Most of this is available in larger grocery stores too, not just health food stores anymore.

Faith and Echo like soy beans too. We've tried lots of 'soy' products and they seem to enjoy it. Our health food store also carries a millet seed bread that is made without wheat flour, yeast or sugar that is a nice little treat on occasion. M2 Mom came up with the suggestion of using almond butter instead of peanut butter, and my girls LOVE it!

I think a lot of it is how we approach it. We enjoy our meals and there's lots of 'yum-yum' going on and of course our babies want whatever we've got.

We're watching Faith and Echo carefully, and there doesn't seem to be any adverse reaction to anything they've eaten.

We have a holistic vet that we go to and he's been wonderful about coming up with alternative diets for our dogs and cats. For instance, we don't use dry food for our dogs or cats any more, we make our own using turkey or chicken chubb, rice, veggies, and supplements, which we prepare fresh every day. Interestingly enough, when we took our dogs and cats off of dry food after we introduced their new food, we found they're more active now and display less behavioral issues. Whether it's the fresh food every day, or the fact that we're spending more time with our pets (they know when we're cooking their breakfast), I don't know. But I do know, it's working for us.

Did I go off topic??? Sorry.... Soy beans and their products work and are enjoyed by my family, my whole family.

#27696 - 06/09/03 05:29 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Mine also like chick peas, roasted and then ground up into hummus and spread on crackers....

...the things I do for my kiddos positively amazes me sometime <img border="0" alt="[laughing]" title="" src="graemlins/laugh[1].gif" />

#27697 - 02/10/05 03:42 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Bringing to top for all the new people...this should answer some questions and misconceptions.

#27698 - 08/29/06 01:59 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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I discovered by researching Stosh's leg band that he was a wild caught 'Too imported around 1984 which puts him at no less than 22 years old. I rescued him about 8 months ago. I just finally took him to an avian vet for a complete exam and was told he had elevated liver enzymes and some budding yeast in his stool. I really didn't have enough time or forethought to ask about it. Is it possible that eating meats or cheese that could have caused the elevated liver enzymes? Stosh goes crazy for meat treats..... the drumettes off the chicken wings, nibbling the leftover meat off of lamb chop bones, fresh fish raw/ sushi etc. I don't give it to him but once a week or so but geez did I do some kind of damage to liver? The avian vet didn't suggest repeating it any time soon so maybe it wasn't that bad?

Marin

#27699 - 08/29/06 03:03 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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i'm glad you were able to get the background info on stosh through his band. this is easier with imported birds than it is with domestic bred. (crazy, but true!) don't have answers to your liver enzymes question, but i'm sure this was probably already an issue when he came to you. use the diet forum for advice on diet, and ask the vet what he/she recommends to correct the problem. i'm sure others with similar experiences can be of help to you. good luck!

#27700 - 08/29/06 06:27 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Marin, I don't have a lot of help for you either. I have had some enzyme questions crop up and have discussed some of it with our vet. Enzymes can be very useful in the right hands but, as it was explained to me, many things can cause variations in enzymes; mainly stress or localized soft tissue damage.

I think a concerned vet would be more interested in bile acids if he/she was seriously concerned about liver function. It seems to be a more reliable indicator but has specific testing requirements like fasting. If you have a good avian vet that doesn't seem too concerned, maybe there is no need for you to be.

Here is a paper on avian testing technique and analysis. It's somewhat technical but if you are interested, you can get some information and explanations. The enzyme section starts on page 53. The bile acids section follows it. Sometimes these things can give you a starting point when talking to your vet.

http://www.californiaavianlaboratory.com/bldpanedff.pdf

As you can see, Dr. Doolan's not a believer in much meat! wink

#27701 - 08/30/06 02:02 AM Re: chicken and bones - OK?  
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Charlie,
Thanks for the awesome article. It is a great reference. I am a Nurse-Practitioner so the technical aspect of it was no problem. Now I have to go find the lab results. If I am remembering correctly, only the AST was elevated to around the 200 mark but the rest of the chem profile was normal. I need to read all the info again when I find the print ot and write down some questions for the vet. I took Stosh to Dr Sam Backos in Deerfield Beach, FL. I have heard good things about him so hopefully he will be available to answer my questions. He didn't seem overly concerned about that level and he only suggested a nutrition complex- liver to add to his water.

Marin

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