One of the biggest struggles of any pet owner is to be happily munching away on your favorite food without having your pet stare longingly at your every bite. The struggle also includes not giving in to their pleading looks because you know that human food may not always be safe for your pet, so you don’t want to offer them anything before doing your research.
Try refusing to offer your parrot your food. It’s near impossible, especially if they’re perched up on your shoulder and try to peck in a bite. You might have noticed that your parrot shows a keen interest in the nuts you eat. You probably are aware of the fact that while nuts are a nice and healthy snack, there are some drawbacks that are associated with eating too many nuts. This probably has led you to conclude that perhaps not all nuts are safe to bed to your parrot.
What about almonds in particular? Almonds are a popular nut with a whole lot of nutrition packed in them. At least for humans. Thus, the question, can parrot eat almonds?
Read on to find out whether or not this nut is safe for your feathered friend.
Parrots and Almonds:
The good news is that almonds are safe to be given to your parrot. Almost all of the nuts we eat are considered to be safe enough to be given as a snack to our birds!
However, there are certain restrictions that come attached to feeding your parrot almonds, and these restrictions are extremely important to know because if not adhered to, it can be a fatal health mistake that could have easily been avoided, and no one wants harm to reach their pets.
So, what are these restrictions then?
Sweet vs. Bitter Almonds:
One thing you must always make sure of when feeding your parrot almonds is to give them sweet almonds. It would be best if you avoided bitter almonds at all costs.
Bitter almonds can be toxic and fatal is eaten by your parrot. This is mainly because they contain a substance known as Hydrogen Cyanide, which is known to be fatal to your parrot’s health. Hydrogen Cyanide can even be fatal for us humans too!
How can we avoid eating and giving our parrots bitter almonds? The good news is that because bitter almonds can be toxic, they are hardly available in stores. So, when you go out and buy a packet of almonds, it is more likely than not that it is a pack of the safe kind of almonds: the sweet ones.
How many can bitter almonds kill my parrot?
When you read the word “cyanide,” the first thing that must have popped up in your mind must have been poison, and that is what it is. Raw or bitter almonds contain Glycoside Amygdalin, which is a substance that turns into Hydrogen cyanide. The same hydrogen cyanide was used in gas chambers during the Nazi era!
That probably puts things into perspective about how dangerous this substance is. It takes about 100-200mg of the cyanide to kill a human being, which roughly translates to 10 bitter almonds. Imagine if it takes 10 to kill us, it will take much less to destroy our precious birds. They are smaller and more fragile than us! So, if you happen across an almond tree, think twice before you start picking and eating the almonds.
Feeding parrots almonds:
Store-bought almonds come in different forms and in different sizes, which might lead to a bit of confusion as to which ones should be given to our feathered friends.
Does it matter if the almonds are shelled or unshelled? It makes no difference if they are shelled or unshelled; it is completely up to you.
Was it chopped or whole? Another decision left up to personal preference. Though some might argue, it is best to chop them to avoid the nut from becoming a choking hazard.
Almond health sheet:
As mentioned before, almonds are not only safe to be given to parrots but are healthy too!
This nut contains a high level of fat, but the good kind of fat. More specifically, they contain Omega 3 fatty acids, which are of utmost importance to your parrot’s health and even more so for domesticated parrots.
Omega 3 fatty acids are especially essential in preventing an avian disease known as atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of your bird’s arteries. This can be a result of a poor diet, which is rich in cholesterol and fat, or from lack of daily exercise.
Omega 3 fatty acids work by reducing the formation of plaque and by preventing blood vessels from becoming inflamed and this, in turn, prevents the disease from affecting your parrot.
What happens when you give your parrot too many almonds?
Our pets are very different from us, and these differences are especially important to keep in mind when it comes to food. Foods that are healthy for us might not be for our birds. Let’s put things into perspective. One grape to a cockatiel parrot is akin to almost 400 grapes to a human! The same goes for nuts. What might constitute a small amount in our eyes might be too many for our birds.
Although almonds contain good fats, the fats are only good in moderation. Too much fat in your parrots’ diet can lead to an unhealthy amount of weight gain as well as a condition known as Hepatic Lipidosis. This illness affects your parrot’s liver to the point of damaged liver functioning, which in turn can lead to death.
Thus, to avoid this risk, the most amount of almonds that can be offered to your bird are 1 to 3 only, and that too as a treat. Almonds should not make a staple part of their diet.
Almonds are safe to be included in your parrot’s diet just as long as it is done in moderation.