Many of you have heard me say we don’t claim our Origins Wild Diets are total and complete daily diets; we believe you should be feeding some amount of fresh foods along with our artisinal morsels. We strongly stand by our suggestion. Let me explain.
BALANCE & VARIETY
First of all here at Origins Wild Diets we don’t believe any commercial bird food company is capable of formulating a total and complete diet for any exotic bird. No one knows exactly what any species requires to thrive in the wild, let alone in captivity; for any company to claim they know is ludicrous. The best any of us can do is to feed a “balanced” diet based on all of the centuries of years of animal research performed before us. That research includes mounds and mounds of human nutritional research. We now have a solid understanding of what “balanced nutrition” is, and yet even that changes with new medical science research information always coming to the table.
For instance, fairly recently medical science reported that all living creatures require higher amounts of magnesium in the diet for calcium to be properly absorbed, not just Vitamin D. If there is not enough magnesium calcium will cling to the sides of arteries causing or adding to cardiovascular disease. Calcium will also collect in all soft tissue and potentially cause or add to all kinds of soft tissue disorders like arthritis and fibromyalgia, it will also cause or add to kidney stones. One of the quickest ways to chelate or break down kidney stones caused by calcium is to increase magnesium intake. The “balance” of nutrients in any given diet is almost more important than the actual number of ingredients in any given diet. Yet, it is still very important to provide a wide variety of ingredients in our birds’ diets to ensure we are offering a wide variety of nutrients. Although we need to make sure the nutrients in their overall diet is balanced ensuring that under- or over- supplementation is not occurring on the broad scale.
If the ingredients used contain all of the basic nutrients for life and the formulator knows how to balance those nutrients for maximum use the living creature can survive. However, and this is the caveat to my statement, the ingredients used must be somewhat symbiotic to the species of the animal for the animal to thrive. In other words Nature places certain species in regions where the foods are best suited for their digestive tracts and the ability for their bodies to metabolize the foods of those regions. Would you take a fish out of water and expect it to breathe air? Much the same principle applies to the kinds of foods we feed our pets. We don’t often think of it this way, but we need to begin doing so. Such is the raw movement among so many who believe in the more natural approach to feeding their pets.
FRESH & RAW
So where does feeding “fresh” come in with feeding Origins Wild Diet foods? “Fresh” is obviously “raw”, but Origins Wild Diet artisinal morsels are also “raw” even though it is dehydrated. The typical commercial bird food is not raw; it is processed under high heat (160 degrees F or more). In other words most commercial bird foods are literally cooked. The typical commercial bird food is also mechanically extruded or pressed. Both of these practices depletes almost all original nutrition from pellets. This is why synthetic vitamins are added back in via an economical carrier oil, usually corn, sunflower or canola, all high in pro-inflammatory Omega 6s especially if they are not high-oleic oils. Origins Wild Diet morsels are different; they are not cooked using high heat; they are gently dehydrated under 115 degrees F retaining the original digestive enzymes, amino acids (protein), fatty acids (Omegas – even the Omega 3s), and the original vitamins and minerals. Origins Wild Diet morsels are not mechanically extruded or pressed. We use no cheap carrier oils; all dietary oils used are for the purpose of adding healthy Omegas. OWDs are literally considered “raw” by legal definition, but we still believe you need to add “fresh” to your bird’s diet. Why?
In the wild birds consume fresh foods all the time. These fresh food are “moist” foods. The natural, intrinsic moisture in foods literally drives nutrition deep into the cells. This is why so many birds “dunk” their dry foods before and while eating! Mystery solved. Besides, dry food scratches the digestive tract as it passes through. I’ve talked about this endlessly in my posts and in my book “You Can’t Take the Rainforest Out of the Bird.” Parrots have a very unique digestive tract, one we all need to understand a lot better. When we constantly feed dry foods like dried out “dry mixed seed” and foods high in insoluble “cellulose” found in botanically classified vegetables, we are damaging their unique digestive tract. By damaging their digestive tract small tears and scars are created. Bacteria begins entering through these tears entering their blood stream traveling throughout their body, even to their brain. It is quite possible that even the Avian Borna Virus, which lays wait in the digestive tract of almost all animals (the Borna Virus is millions of years old and has mutated to the avian species – it’s not a new virus) can enter the blood stream and travel to their brain through tears in their digestive tract all from feeding an all seed diet or a diet excessively high in cellulose! I hope I have your attention.
While it is perfectly fine to feed Origins Wild Diet morsels, which retain a lot of moisture during gentle dehydration and considered “raw” by legal definition, you still should be offering about ¼ of your bird’s diet as fresh food. But what kind of foods should you feed to stay within that “species-specific” list of foods, keeping the diet at least similar to what your bird might consume in the wild?
FRESH FOODS TO FEED
At the top of the list is always organic mango, then papaya (try to find papaya from Mexico or Brazil. Papaya from Hawaii is almost always GMO). Green organic bananas (green bananas help provide pre-biotics for the digestive tract), plantains, pineapple, mangosteen, rambutan, guava, passion fruit, Inca Berries, Jack Fruit, figs. Then go for the tender greens high in “hemicellulose”, a soluble fiber like cilantro, parsley and young dandelion greens and young arugula. Try to feed only limited amounts of berries for their antioxidant values, but not too many because they are high fructose. Stay away from domestic fruit for the same reason: they are high in fructose. In their indigenous wild many of the fruits parrots consume are very low in fructose.
“Veggie-like” fruit you can feed: Bell pepper, all peppers, okra, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, squash, and pumpkin. Keep in mind that all peppers as well as eggplant and tomatoes belong to the nightshade family which contains an alkaloid known as “solanine.” This alkaloid can be inflammatory causing muscle pain, digestive problems, arthritis and other problems. Alkaloids can also act as a diuretic which can cause a loss of Vitamin B12. Squash and pumpkin are all high in starch which once ingested turn to sugar, so go easy on these fruits. And always remember that all of these foods are high in salicylates and histamines which trigger feather destroyers. If you have a feather destroyer you probably want to stick with the mango, papaya and green banana along with the cilantro and parsley as you bird’s fresh foods.
Seeds, legumes and species-specific grains you sprout yourself are good fresh foods to feed as well. These not only contain moisture, but they also contain naturally occurring digestive enzymes and are reported to contain higher levels of plant protein and many of the original vitamins and minerals. This is why we use sprouted seeds, legumes and grains in our Origins Wild Diet foods, albeit our sprouted items are dehydrated. In addition we use a proprietary method of sprouting which increases the nutritional profile of the sprouts we add to our OWDs.
We need to get back to basics when feeding our exotic birds. Nature has it right. We must learn from Nature. We can’t teach Nature anything, but we certainly can learn from Nature! Following the rules of Nature we must try to imitate what Nature feeds these magnificent creatures in the wild. Just because we bring them into our homes doesn’t mean they need an entire different diet! No, too much change stressed their entire homeostasis and this is why we are seeing human-like illnesses in our beloved feathered companions. Instead we need to retain as many things about the wild-at-heart lifestyles that are buried deep within their DNA as we possibly can, even their diet – especially their diet if they are to thrive in an artificial environment! The food they consume is their first defense against physical illness and disease, even against emotional and mental stress. Let’s not feed them like humans, but instead like the exotic creatures Nature created them to be.
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