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Can a cockatiel eat cereal and oatmeal? I saw in a few bird…

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can a cockatiel eat cereal...
can a cockatiel eat cereal and oatmeal? I saw in a few bird forums that they worry about cockatiels and iron but my bird store isn't worried about that. Is iron ok in food for cockatiels?
Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Bird
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8/7/2017
Bird Specialist: Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist replied 8 months ago
Anna
Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 11,810
Experience: Have owned and/or raised parakeets, finches, cockatiels, and poultry over a period of thirty years.
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Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with over 40 years of experience keeping birds. I just want to let you know I'm working on some information for you now, and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. I appreciate your patience.
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Bird Specialist: Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist replied 8 months ago
Thank you for waiting. I believe you have been reading about iron storage disease. Birds in the parrot family are prone to that, in some cases, it is genetic, but too much iron in the diet is the main concern. But, your cockatiel does need some iron in order to prevent anemia from developing, so we have to strike a balance. Never give any food that has extra iron added. Many cereals - both hot and cold- do, especially those that are fortified to meet humans' minimum daily requirements. Oatmeal is naturally high in iron. When iron rich foods are combined with vitamin C, they are even more risky. Again, supplemented foods are the ones most likely to contain both iron and vitamin C. Besides cereal, many baby foods, juices, and breads are fortified. You may also want to avoid lentils, as they naturally have a high iron content.Iron storage disease does not usually cause any symptoms until it is too late,so it's best to avoid high iron foods to begin with. Your bird store may not be concerned because this disease is not extremely common. Birds that are fed a wide variety of foods are not at high risk. If you have more concerns, just let me know. I hope this information helps.Anna
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
the oatmeal is ok? she just gets a small amount
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
why is vitamin C with high iron risky?
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
what percentage of iron is high?
Bird Specialist: Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist replied 8 months ago
Vitamin C causes the body to take up more of the iron. There is no certain percentage considered high because those percentages are based on human needs. Any food that provides even 1% of the human requirement would be high for birds.
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Bird Specialist: Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist replied 8 months ago
Oatmeal is pretty high in natural iron. I would only use small amounts as a rare treat, not an every day food.
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
how many times a week for the oatmeal?
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
what are some signs of iron storage disease?
Bird Specialist: Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist replied 8 months ago
Small amounts of oatmeal twice a week should be fine.There usually are no symptoms of iron storage disease until the bird is near death. Symptoms at that point include labored breathing, swollen abdomen, and paralysis.
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
cockatiels get this? Or more toucans and such
Bird Specialist: Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist replied 8 months ago
Cockatiels are in the parrot family, and all parrot family birds can get it. However, it isn't common. Just feed a balanced diet, using a good pelleted food, supplemented with healthy fresh foods. Unless you feed a lot of high iron foods, it is highly unlikely your cockatiel will get this. You can read more about it here:http://www.petmd.com/bird/conditions/digestive/c_bd_Iron_Storage_Disease
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
what are some high iron foods? I do feed pellets and seed and veggies and people food
Bird Specialist: Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist replied 8 months ago
High iron foods are the ones I named above: fortified cereals and breads, baby food, juice, and lentils. Medium high foods like oatmeal can be fed sometimes. Most fruits and vegetables are fine.Birds should only be fed small amounts of seed. More birds die from fatty liver disease than anything else. Feeding a lot of seeds is the main cause. A diet high in seeds also leads to more cancer and heart disease. A few seeds each day are fine, but the main diet should be pellets, along with fruits and vegetables.
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I heard pellets can cause gout? How much percentage in pellets
Bird Specialist: Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist replied 8 months ago
Well balanced pellets don't cause gout. Gout is the result of uric acid accumulating in the joints. In most cases that is due to a defect in the body that causes improper metabolism of foods. Extremely high levels of protein can be a factor in birds that are prone to the condition. High quality pellets, such as Harrison's will have the proper amount of protein.There is no percentage of pellets to feed. That's because the various foods we give don't all have the same mass. For example, if we were going to feed 50% pellets and 50% fruit, you would either be feeding huge amounts of pellets, resulting in an obese bird, or tiny amounts of fruit.I think you are worrying too much about details that aren't important. Worrying a lot makes it so we can't enjoy our pets. I woukd just put the pellets in your bird's food bowl. She/he will eat what they need. Most birds don't overeat unless they are bored. Feed some fruit or vegetable each day. Give the bird a few seeds each day and the oatmeal twice a week.I'm a worrier about my pets, too, so I know how it can consume your life. I had to learn to just give them a good diet, an enriched environment, and proper veterinary care, and then just relax and enjoy them.
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
what are some other good people foods? eggs? Rice? Pasta?
Bird Specialist: Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist replied 8 months ago
Eggs are good, but not very day- a couple times a week .Cooked pasta is ok if it's whole grain. Cooked brown rice is also fine. You can use some cooked beans (not lentils). The key to using human foods is to provide lots of variety, and not use any one food over and over.
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
of course, I do variety. I don't give the same everyday except for the pellets and seed. thank you
Bird Specialist: Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist replied 8 months ago
You're very welcome. It sounds like you have a good feeding plan, then.
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