With so many different bird feeds available, how do you know which one is best for your bird? We hear and read a lot about what our birds’ meals should include. However, we seldom hear what we don’t want to hear in it. Some of these potentially dangerous ingredients may be found in practically every meal on the market.
Ethoxyquin, BHA, and BHT – Would you feed your bird a rubber stabilizer or a pesticide? Certainly not! However, ethoxyquin is precisely that. Monsanto Industrial Chemical Company developed it in the 1950s as a stabilizer for animal feed crops such as alfalfa and grasses. When the permission was obtained, pet food was not even considered. Ethoxyquin is also utilized as a rubber anti-degradation agent.
It has only been permitted by the FDA for use as a food ingredient in the manufacturing of paprika, chili powder, and ground chili. It is not authorized as a human food preservative and has been shown to cause liver damage and breeding difficulties in dogs. Is it present in your bird’s food? If you want to learn more about ethoxyquin, go visit www.parrothouse.com/ethox.html and read Alicia McWatters’ “Investigative Report on Ethoxyquin.” BHT and BHA are both in the same class.
Menadione – Menadione, a vitamin K source, is another addition that makes my hair stand on end. On his German website, the manufacturer includes a “safety sheet.” It is stated there that the individual handling the menadione must wear protective clothing, gloves, a mask, and glasses. If it comes into touch with the skin or the eyes, or if it is breathed, seek medical attention immediately. If consumed, it may induce skin irritation (plucking of feathers?). It is hazardous, should not be administered to newborns, and should NOT be used to treat vitamin K insufficiency, according to the Merck Manual (www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual/section1/chapter3/3i.htm). I couldn’t locate any dog or cat food without it, and just a few types of bird food. The new way is to “fortify” the seeds with vitamins, and voilà, menadione is back.
Artificial vitamins are vitamins that are added to pellets, seeds, and other bird feeds. The majority of them are not vitamins, but rather a synthetic version of a natural vitamin. Ascorbic acid, for example, is not the whole of Vitamin C. It’s merely a little portion of it. There is scientific evidence that fake vitamin components do not have the same impact as natural vitamin components. However, our products may still display Vitamin C and indicate ascorbic acid.
Sucrose – Why is sucrose, which is refined sugar, included in most pellets and a variety of other parrot foods? I thought it was common knowledge that sugar weakens the immune system, encourages candida, and may even cause infections, diabetes, and other problems.
Artificial Colors and Flavors – I don’t even look at items that seem to contain artificial colors. If I find artificial colors or flavors on the label, I immediately return the goods to the shelf.
Choosing food is simple – instead of focusing on what I want in my bird food, I start with what I don’t want, and the list narrows to a few goods. Is it safe or dangerous? There is simply no reason to be concerned when there are bird feeds available that do not include any of these ingredients.
Remember that it is up to you to decide what is best for your bird, and you must do your own study and create your own judgments. In the information era, there is a troubling inclination to jump on the newest bandwagon regarding nearly everything. “What would my bird choose?” you may wonder.
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