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Animal Protein & Exotic Birds

Warning: Graphic Video

I have often mentioned that exotic birds consume meat from dead carcasses in the wild…in fact I included this information in my book “You Can’t Take the Rainforest Out of the Bird” -I don’t think many of us give much thought to those words when we read them. The old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” definitely holds true in this video I have been given permission to share with you.

Video courtesy of Kelly Agoniya

Do we realize that many parrots will actually capture rodents both in the wild and in their caged aviaries if they have the chance? They will.

I have often read in forums and chat groups that we shouldn’t be feeding our parrots animal protein because it causes atherosclerosis. I’m here to tell you that I believe very differently. I believe we have literally been starving our birds of the very nutrition their bodies crave in order to thrive! In fact I believe in the wild exotic birds consume a lot more animal protein than we can begin to imagine.

In all of the wildness the forests offer to exotic birds there are all kinds of creatures from grubs, insects, and all things we would consider creepy, crawly. Big furry exotic animals aren’t the only wild animals in the forest, there are also rodents scurrying up and down the trees parrots live in. Why wouldn’t parrots take advantage of all of these as nutritional protein sources? They would. It only makes good, common sense.

In the clinical research I have been conducting for feather destroyers I have learned that one of the main nutrients contributing to overall cessation of feather destruction engagement is indeed animal protein and animal fat. While adding animal protein and animal fat is not the end-all in feather destruction, these nutrients certainly do contribute to overall healing.

Having said all of this I would never, never feed raw meat from the butcher or grocery store to any of my birds. Nor would I obtain feeder mice from a pet store like those used to feed reptiles. I don’t believe our companion birds have the necessary gut flora to ward off any potential harmful bacteria or parasites that may be present in meat obtained from commercial sources. Wild birds, or birds that have been reared receiving their parents’ gut flora and lots of natural living enzymes and “dirt” from the outdoors containing all of the natural bacteria that helps develop natural antibodies within a bird’s gut flora and overall system…now that’s a different story. Such a bird can fight off harmful pathogens. “Domestic” birds are often void of healthy bacteria, one reason why so many of our birds are of ill-health and engage in feather destruction. Kelly, who was gracious to share her video with all us cares for her birds in such a natural manner that her birds are the absolute picture of natural and wild health! And yet, when I see Kelly interact with her birds they still show her the love and affection we all desire “domestic” birds to give us. Her companion birds receive the luscious delicacies Nature has to offer on a regular and consistent basis and her birds’ overall health, vitality and vibrancy of their plumage shows it! Kelly’s flock has the natural gut flora to handle raw meat because Kelly knows to make sure to feed the foods Nature provides as naturally occurring foodstuffs for her magnificent creatures.

I do think this raises a lot more questions than it answers regarding the animal protein and fat levels we, as an avian community have been feeding to our companion birds. While we do know that parrots are primarily frugivores/herbivores we also know they do consume meat in the wild from dead carcasses because field researches have witnessed and reported such incidences. Researchers have also reported parrots consuming snails and mollusks, also a kind of “meat.” Does this require that we classify parrots as “opportunistic carnivores?” Of course in the wild all sources of meat are raw in the wild, not cooked. I would not feed cooked meat to a bird due to the fact that cooking meat raises the “amines” in meat; a type of histamine that introduces carcinogens potentially causing cancer or least of all introducing food sensitivities or allergies. Captive birds having very sensitive systems definitely do not need any source of food introduced that could introduce potential carcinogens or food sensitivities. In addition, cooking foods destroys the naturally occurring digestive enzymes, naturally occurring amino acids (proteins), naturally occurring fatty acids (Omega 3s) and many of the naturally occurring vitamins (especially the delicate water soluble vitamins). What is left after the meat is cooked? Not much. Plus cooking causes the fiber in the meat tissue to become tougher making it more difficult to break down and digest. Since parrots have a very short and narrow digest tract this clues us in on the fact that Nature intended these creatures to digest and metabolize their foods very quickly. Cooked meat does not break down and metabolize quickly. Even raw meat breaks down slower than some plant matter, for instance fruit pectin and the hemicellulose in tender greens and young bark found in the mid-canopy of the forests where birds perch. So you can be sure that when a bird consumes meat in the wild they will find a secluded place to savor their precious delicacy to allow their digestive tract the time required to break down tough muscle tissue while they enjoy a siesta!

Let me state clearly now that I do not endorse offering raw or cooked bones to our birds. First of all raw bones may contain the same harmful bacteria as raw meat I mentioned above. Cooked bones can splinter off and become impacted in a bird’s crop, much like any piece of wood that has been processed or treated – the reason I do not endorse using wood from the hardware store or wood blocks sold from bird stores. I only endorse untreated wood, (safe bird) branches from trees and natural foraging items like coconut shells, sea grass, raffia, grapevine, etc.

Well then, how do we get “animal protein” into our captive birds’ systems to meet their intrinsic needs for animal protein and animal fat? –If you will take notice, in the video the “head” of the mouse, where the brain is, is the first part consumed by the Cockatoo. Why is this? Probably due to the fact that the brain in any animal consists mostly of “fat.” I have found in my clinical research that feather destroyers are severely depleted of fat, specifically saturated fat. However, due to the long term and sustained injuries their digestive tracts have endured the walls of their digestive tracts are unable to absorb vital nutrients including dietary fats. –I will be addressing this issue in my “Mutilation Syndrome Program™” that will be getting underway the end of March/beginning of April 2016 at This class is already filled and we are now at maximum capacity; we are not accepting any additional enrollments.

Scientific analysis have shown that meal worms retain their nutritional properties when dried. (I have provided the references in my avian nutrition book.) In addition we can slightly steam mollusks and they do not become tough like other kinds of meat sources. Mollusks may be a better source of meat for African Greys due to the fact that this species of parrots do not produce the digestive enzyme known as “chitinase” required to break down chitin, the exoskeleton of meal worms and other insects. (I suspect this fact may hold true for the Macaw species as well – at least to some extent.) While African Greys can consume a small amount of meal worms, when they consume a high amount their droppings become too loose because their system cannot handle too much chitin in their system. Much like “cellulose” flowing through any parrot’s digestive tract. Parrots do not produce “cellulase” the digestive enzyme required to break down cellulose found in botanically classified vegetables, nor do they have a “cecum” the tiny organ necessary required to liquefy cellulose for reabsorption into the metabolic system.

In addition, we can feed other sources of animal protein in the form of animal protein powders. I will be delving into this idea in my “food combining workshops” later this year at: UN-Workshops…Empowering YOU! where I take the myths out of decades of un-truths and misinformation regarding feeding our beloved companion birds.

Parrots definitely have the pH in their digestive tract to break down the muscle tissue of meat. The normal pH of a parrot’s digestive tract is about 2.0 to 3.2 so breaking down the tissue of meat is not the problem, but the quality of the meat source in regards to the meat being free of pathogens is of prime concern for captive birds.

Folks we need to take our heads out of the cages we have been keeping our brains in and begin understanding that the bodily systems of parrots are not the systems of humans. Their bodies operate on much higher metabolisms than ours do, their blood glucose level is much higher than ours, their digestive tracts are much shorter and narrower than ours and they require a much different amino acid profile and much different fiber content due to their lack of ceca than we do. Knowing and understanding this very vital information will help us feed our feathered companion friends much better allowing them to thrive in our home environments. Feeding our companions the way Nature intended will allow us to enjoy their company a lot longer without invasive illnesses cutting their sweet lives short robbing precious time we have to share with them.

©3.13.16  Machelle Pacion   Passion Tree House LLC    All Rights Reserved

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