Should other legumes be avoided in your bird’s diet

Yellow nape amazon parrot taking off from tree
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We have a 10 year old Yellow Nape Amazon. He is a constant source of entertainment and wonder. He eats several fresh foods regularly and also enjoys Roudybush medium pellets. One of his?her favorite activities is to tear into a fresh pepper hanging from a spike in the cage. Anything from Hatch, to Jalapeño, to Poblano and even an occasional Habenero is fair game. The seeds are evidently the main ingredient of interest but some of the flesh is consumed too. She?he also enjoys opening boxes, keyed chests, and other foraging devices. A fresh peanut is a treat about once a week which is spotted immediately when it is removed from the freezer. Another food that is enjoyed is English peas which she?he removes from the shell and then peels before eating.

Several months back you gave a list of fresh foods which were to be avoided which included fresh lima beans. We had been feeding him?her small baby limas for some time. What is the basis for not including this legume in a bird’s diet? Should other legumes also be avoided? Can they be used occasionally?

John and Trulah Monroe

Hello John & Trulah

Here’s the original post

other legumes should not be avoided but the comment you are looking for is:


RE: LIMA BEANS: This is where it’s safer than sorry. Lima beans contain a cyanogenic glycoside called ‘phaseolunatin’. Beans which are grown in the US contain less than 0.01% which does not cause a problem. There is a variety of small black lima beans grown in Puerto Rico which contain 0.3% and have been known to cause death in both humans and livestock.

The International Bird Carrier Caper & Paperwork Avalanche

cockatiel on hand wearing leather cap while hand is drawing airplane

A couple months ago we talked about the how to’s of traveling with your bird. the physical portion of terrestrial travel doesn’t change whether you’re traveling in town or across the country.

You can travel with your bird by air or by car. We talked about Disaster preparation with your bird. Here’s a great page that outlines what you need to do and lists a whole bunch of pet friendly hotels and motels which dovetails with our talk about travel today.

Read moreThe International Bird Carrier Caper & Paperwork Avalanche

What to do About My Cockatiels Cloudy Eyes?

Close up Cockatiel face
G’morning Mitch,
I love to read your Sunday Birdie Brunch and look forward to receiving it each week.
Dusty is just about 3 years old. She is active, interactive, alert, happy, healthy and sees the vet at least once a year. We feed her Kaytee ‘Healthy Support Diet’ food for cockatiels mixed with Vita Prima ‘sunscription’ conure formula. Both are seeds and pellets. We put 2 drops of vitamins in her water in the morning with plain water during the day and evening. 
Recently, I’ve noticed her eyes are some what cloudy, which is a concern. I don’t know the cause or what to do. Is it possible that with her feedings and water she’s getting too much fortified foods with vitamins? Her behavior is the above stated. Her beak, claws and feathers are fine. Please advise with your great knowledge. I thank you in advance for your advice and hope to hear from you at your earliest convenience. Dusty is very special!!!!!!
Sharon….and Dusty too.
Hi Sharon
Thank you for the kind words. The cloudy eyes should be a red flag and may or may not be caused by a bacterial infection but a trip to the vet is probably in order – best of luck
Thank you for your caring advice, which made us go to our vet immediately- the very next day (yesterday). Our vet checked Dusty’s eyes and said it’s probably an eye infection inside the eyes, causing the cloudiness. We told her the exact info. we told you. She checked Dusty’s heart, temp., lungs and weight = all good.
She asked if Dusty is eating a pellet diet, as that’s what the vet wants. We told her pellets are mixed in with her seeds but she doesn’t eat the pellets.
Our vet put a drop of Tobramycin Ophthalmic Solution .3% into each eye and gave the same to us to do the same, once a day. We have to go back on Monday, 8/25 for her to re-examine Dusty and she told us to come in right away if we have trouble putting the drops in or if there’s a negative change in Dusty.
Thank you again! Dusty thanks you too.
I’m hoping to write to next Monday with great news of healing.
Have a super day,
Glad to hear Dusty is on the mend 🙂

Your Bird’s Beak – What You Didn’t Know

lovebird on man's shoulder beaking woman's finger

First, a little semantic housekeeping in these modern times of ornithology. The term beak & bill can be used interchangeably – or so I’m told.

Our new economical bird nail trimmer  has become very popular once caged bird keepers realized how easy it was to trim their own birds nails while saving money at the same time.

From time to time we do have people asking about trimming their bird beaks because they appear to be a little too long or may exhibit a “bump”.

Read moreYour Bird’s Beak – What You Didn’t Know

Your Bird is Bleeding or Oil Soaked – Now What?

Let’s circle back to first aid. Now that you’ve taken the time to build your own bird first aid kit, it’s important to remember the basics. Once you’ve assembled all the tools for your bird first aid kit you should wash them with antibacterial soap or clean them with a steam cleaner and then wrap them in washcloths prior to storage. This will help reduce the chance of bacteria possibly promoting a zootonic disease (diseases passed from humans to animals and vice versa).


I’m sure many of you seen the “mayhem” commercial by Allstate which does a nice job of bringing what disasters could befall you on any given day, into plain mental sight. Let’s discuss some mayhem your bird “may” encounter in it’s lifetime, measured in decades. 



Please keep in mind, we’re giving you the tools to perform bird first aid, not avian surgery. If your bird suffers a broken bone or severe burn, an emergency vet visit is in order. If you can fix things – fix things, like broken blood feathers. But if the bird is to end up at the vet use this information to stabilize the animal, make sure the injury is stabilized. Then get the bird toweled,warmed, crated and go!


Blood Feathers – the most common bird first aid issue you will encounter.

A bird can bleed to death from a single broken blood feather. One thing you’ll want to know how to deal with in your bird’s lifetime is a broken blood feather. There’s too many feathers and they come back on a regular basis, not to break occasionally – I guarantee it will happen to your bird in it’s lifetime. It’s a simple fix, learn how to fix a blood feather here.

Note: There is new information on handling broken blood feathers. It is now considered that not all broken blood feathers need pulling, the thought is that pulling them out can cause more trouble than leaving them in, IF, they can be stopped from continued bleeding. Packing the broken feather stub with cornstarch, flour or kwik stop clotting gel and seeing if this halts it before pursuing pulling it out may be all that is needed. The broken feather may clot and can be left alone unless it contues to bleed or the bird picks at it.


Bleeding of any kind

We’d much rather see you gently grind a bird’s toenails with an electric nail trimmer rather than clipping them. Just 15 or 20 drops of blood, about a teaspoon, represents approximately 10% of an average size cockatiel’s total blood volume in their system. Some kwik stop clotting gel is very effective in stopping a bleeding bird’s nail while providing soothing antiseptic relief. If you don’t have any on hand go to the pantry and get some cornstarch or go into the bathroom, grab a bar of soap and drag the bleeding nail across the bar soap. The latter two solutions will stop the bleeding but not reduce the pain.


Cross species bites

These can be devastating for a bird and I talk about a cockatiel that I had many, many years ago getting attacked by one of my dogs and surviving – here. Dog and cat bites to your bird can cause infection from even small puncture wounds or worse yet, major internal injuries and multiple bone fractures. IF you feel the bird can be saved, do the drill – stabilize the bird, make sure the injury is stabilized and get the bird toweled,warmed, crated and get to the vet!


Fractured or broken bones

We talked about broken bones and stabilizing the bird prior to seeking veterinary help, a couple of weeks ago. I want to touch on some other points. There are so many ways, in or out of the cage, a bird can break a bone, I’m amazed it doesn’t happen more often. Wing feathers get caught in cage bars. Toes get caught in the crack of an un-inspected wood toy. You forget to notice the bird on the top of the bathroom cabinet door when you close it. Sometimes you’re part of the trauma, sometimes you have to be a detective.


If you see a bird’s wing drooping or your bird can’t move it’s wing, you’re probably dealing with a broken wing bone. If a leg looks like is in a position that’s not normal or the leg is swollen or bruised, you’re probably dealing with a broken leg bone. Know what you’re dealing with so you know how to deal with it. Learn how to deal with broken bird bones here


Once again the possibilities are endless, from a failed air-conditioner to a bird left in a hot car while you’re running errands to and from the vet. What is your bird’s temperature comfort range? If you’re comfortable, your bird’s comfortable, if you’re hot, your bird’s hot.


Pedialyte, a pediatric oral electrolyte solution administered with an eye-dropper is ideal for bird re-hydration. Gatorade works too. A teaspoon of salt in a pint of water will work in a pinch. Mist entire bird with water. Reduce the heat if at all possible with an air conditioner.



Dinner cooking on the stove, hot soup or frying chicken are potential bird burn targets. Water based burns should be misted with cool water or the bird should be simply placed under a faucet with cool running water. For foot and leg burns, dip the extremity into a cup of ice water. Use a topical antibiotic cream, nothing with grease, especially things like butter. Anything greasy will retain heat in the burn wound.


Conversely if you’re dealing with a bird who has sustained a grease burn start with cornstarch to wick the oil away from the birds body and then run the bird under cold water.


Chemical or acid burns – think toilet bowl cleaner – flush the bird with cold water and then apply a mixture of baking soda and water as a light paste.


Alkali burns on birds from household cleaners that contain things like ammonia should be treated with running water and then vinegar to neutralize the chemical.


If your bird burnt its beak while chewing on the electrical cord that it’s been nibbling on for the past two months, you’re on your own. We haven’t figured out how to treat mouth burns.


My all-time favorite scenario is that you are bird smart enough to make sure your bird is not the kitchen while you cook. With dinner over, your bird is back in the kitchen with you, helping you wash dishes on your shoulder and expecting a sink bath.

While you’re thinking about how much fun the bath is going to be in just a few minutes, your bird decides that it wants to bathe now. In less than 1.5 seconds it hops off your shoulder (who needs flight feathers?), lands on the cool edge of the pot on the stove and plunges its head into the very cool sauce pan of oil that you used to fry tonight’s chicken thinking it’s just another place to bathe. Let’s allow that visual to sink in for a moment.


You will not panic because you read these newsletters weekly. You will calmly grab and towel your bird. Start by getting the oil out of the nares (nose or nasal passages) mouth and eyes with a moist Q-tip. Then clear a compartment in the sink, fill it with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Original Dawn Detergent is the oil removing soap of choice. They use it during oil spill clean ups with wild birds.


Keep washing the bird, moving soapy water in the direction of the feather growth. Keep dipping the bird in and out of the water, then rinse and repeat. Not a bad idea to use a blow dryer on low when the oil is gone and even if it’s in the summer get that winter cage heater warmed up so the area around the cage is in the upper 80s until your feathered fluff ball is a fluff ball again. They will need to do some heavy preening for awhile to get their feathers back to normal.
Squawk at you next week
written by Mitch Rezman
approved by Catherine Tobsing



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Catherine Tobsing   Mitch Rezman



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