Poisonous Foods for Parrots

by Rob Hainer, Demand Media
    His perch isn't food, but he still might chew on it.

    His perch isn't food, but he still might chew on it.

    Parrots tend to taste something first, then worry about it later. Taste helps them explore the world around them. But some everyday items in your home could mean trouble for your feathered friend. Sharing food with your parrot helps you bond, but remember that he can't eat everything you can.

    Fruits and Vegetables

    What's good for you isn't always good for your parrot. Take avocado, for example. Eating any part of an avocado, including the meat or a leaf, can make your parrot sick, and excess amounts can kill him.
    You should also keep your parrot away from fruit seeds such as apple, cherry, nectarine, peach, pear and apricot seeds, although he can eat the fruit. Avoid alfalfa sprouts, and don't give him raw beans -- stick to cooked ones.

    Other Foods

    If you're feeding your parrot at the table with your family or if he's looking to score a little treat, make sure chocolate's not on your list -- it's toxic to parrots. So is any kind of alcohol. Garlic can be harmful as well as leading to bad breath.
    Salt isn't good for your bird; it would cause disrupt his water levels and lead to excessive thirst. Onions and mushrooms are okay in small doses, but keep the portions small and infrequent.
    Milk might do your body good, but it can wreak havoc on your parrot's system, so avoid all dairy products. Yes, this also means cheese. Even if he seems to need an energy boost, keep him out of your coffee and soda, as caffeine and carbonation aren't good for him.

    Plants

    Watch your parrot like a hawk when you let him out of his cage in a room with houseplants -- many are toxic. You might not feed him the leaves on purpose, but he could hop around and snag a snack when you're not looking.
    So many houseplants are toxic that it's best not to let your parrot near any of them, just in case. Some of the most poisonous are hydrangea, begonia, bleeding heart, peace lily, caladium, different varieties of philodendron, schefflera, shamrock and ivy varieties.

    Wood

    You might not consider your parrot's perch part of his diet, but it's common for parrots to chew on their wooden perches when they're bored or sick. The perches you buy at retail stores are usually made of safe wood varieties that have been treated to remove dangerous chemicals such as pesticides.
    Don't just grab a branch off a tree in your yard -- you might grab wood that's naturally poisonous to your bird or covered in dangerous insecticides or fertilizers. Stay away from branches from oak, pine, yew, peach and cherry trees.

    About the Author

    Rob Hainer began writing and editing for newspapers in 1992. He began his career as a photojournalist in the Army, and studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He worked as a copy editor and reporter at "The Marietta Daily Journal," the "Spartanburg Herald-Journal" and the "New Haven Register."

    Photo Credits

    • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images