Benifits of Plants for Parrots


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  • See Celation Pesto recipe in What happened to my Peanut & PL Cookbook.
  • See How to build a Cageoller article
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  • Kim & Oliver’s story
  • Benifits of Plants for Parrots

    1. 1. Benefits of Plants for ParrotsA Phoenix Landing PresentationBy Laura Ford
    2. 2. Disclaimer:Although I have researched the information in this presentation, andbelieve all information is accurate, and would personally offer any ofthe mentioned plants or materials to my own birds, you areresponsible for the correct identification of, and the assurance of theabsences of pesticides, chemical fertilizers or herbicides on anyplants, or branches you give your parrot.The information in this presentation has not been evaluated by theFood and Drug Administration, nor anyveterinarian. All information, including any product or techniquementioned, is for educational purposesonly. None of the information is intended to diagnose, treat, orprescribe for any disease.Always supervise your parrot when giving her any new item.Always trust your own judgment, if I present information that youfeel uncomfortable with, by all means don’t do it!With that said let’s get on with the fun!
    3. 3. The Parrot / Plant ConnectionParrots have evolved to have a lifeintimately intertwined with plants.Imagine for a moment the life of a wildparrot. They hatch in a nest cavity inside atree lined with soft leaves, herbs ormosses or grasses. Or perhaps in a nestmade of intertwined twigs andleaves, herbs and grasses. The parentsmay have chosen plants to line the nestthat repel insects or parasites, or that killmold, fungus, bacteria or viruses, takingadvantage of the many medicinalqualities of plants. Or maybe they choosehighly aromatic plants to disguise thearoma of their young from ever presentpredators.
    4. 4. The Parrot / Plant ConnectionWild Parrot parents feed their young a variety of plants, and plant parts, not justfruit, nuts and seeds, but leaves, flowers, and even tree bark!Research by Dr Brightsmith of scarlet macaw chicks crop samples, “…it wasdetermined that they contained seeds, wood or bark, fruit pulp, insect larvae…”
    5. 5. The Parrot / Plant ConnectionAs a young parrot grows it learns from its parents what plants are safe toeat, perhaps even what plants can medically treat illness or discomfort.But parrots not only eat plants, they perch on them, play in them, hide inthem, sleep in them, and mate in them.
    6. 6. The Parrot / Plant ConnectionFor all that plants give to parrots, the parrots give back to the plants too. Wildparrots not only carry and distribute the seeds of plants from one area toanother, but they provide fertilizer in the form of uneaten dropped plantmaterials, their fecal dropping, and finally when their lives end, their own bodies.
    7. 7. Parrot / Plant Connection SeveredWe have brought still biologically wildparrots into our homes to live withus, placed them in a metal cage withconcrete and plastic perches, give themtoys made of plastic and other syntheticmaterials, feed them serialized pelletsmade from ingredients they wouldrarely if ever have encountered in thewild, or worse yet, dead nutrientdepleted seeds.The fact they survive at all is atestament to their amazing adaptability.But it should be considered that the lostconnection with the plant world may, inpart, be one of the reasons forbehavioral and physical problems withmany captive parrots today.
    8. 8. Parrot / Plant Connection RebuiltAlthough we can never replicate the relationship free parrots have to theplants they live with in the jungle, forest, or savanna, it is our obligation, toour companion parrots to find ways to provide them with as many naturalplants materials and foods as possible, to enhance both their physical andmental health.
    9. 9. Nutritional and Medicinal BenefitsPlants provide vitamins, minerals, protein, micro nutrients, traceelements, and live enzymes. There is more to the nutritional benefits of wholelive plants, that is not yet fully understood, and can not be replicated in apellet.Many plants have the ability to support the immune system, fightinfection, cleanse the body of toxins, relieve pain and depression, oftenwithout the dangerous side effects of synthetic medicines.
    10. 10. Nutritional and Medicinal BenefitsAstragalus powerful immune booster especially for diseases of intestinal tract orrespiratory systemCayenne Power stops bleeding and relieves painCherries & Celery Seed reduce uric acid, which can lead to painful goutComfrey sooths inflamed mucous membrane and can improve respiratoryfunction, speeds healing of bone fracturesElderberry is anti-inflammatory and anti-viral, especially good for birds with sinusinfectionsGarlic is a powerful antibiotic, anti-fungal, anti-parasite, flushes lead and zinc fromthe body (also is a powerful anti-coagulant)Goldenseal Root has antiseptic properties that treats and prevents skininfections, helps heal the liver, fights the growth of tumors, killssalmonella, chlamydia, and giardiaHawthorn Berry is excellent for treating heart issues, especially in older oroverweight birds, it lowers blood pressure and strengthens heartbeatMilk Thistle Seed helps support and repair the liver, including fatty liver diseaseand damage due to lead and zinc poisoning
    11. 11. Nutritional and Medicinal BenefitsOlive Leaf is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic an anti-viral, fights yeastinfectionsPassion Flower and Valerian Root are both calming and relaxingSlippery Elm Bark heals mucus membrane of the crop and digestivesystem, relieves both diarrhea and constipationThyme lowers cholesterol and relieves sinus congestionTurmeric protects the liver and reduces inflammationWhite Willow Bark is anti-inflammatory and reduces painThis is just a sampling of plants medicinal qualities that can be used withparrots, for any aliment there are natural treatments that can help.Plant based medicines come in many forms, driedherbs, teas, tinctures, extracts, oils, essences, and homeopathic remedies.Remember that most modern pharmaceutical medicines were originally derivedfrom plants.
    12. 12. Climbing, chewing and shredding plants provide both physical and mentalstimulation, that can help alleviate undesirable behaviors such as screaming orfeather picking.Physical and Emotional Benefits
    13. 13. Plants are natural air filters, removing pollutants from the environment andconverting carbon dioxide into oxygen, and helping to maintain humidity levels.Both in the home and in the landscape, plants absorb and buffer sound.Environmental Benefits
    14. 14. Why Grow Your Own?Freshness -Vitamins and nutrient values found in freshvegetables and other produce steadily decline as soon asthey are harvested. In some vegetables their vitamincontent may be depleted as much as half, only minutes afterbeing cut (harvested) and up to 70% or more by the timeyou see them at your grocery store.Organic -You have choice over type of soilused, fertilizers, weed & pest control.Variety -There are far more varieties of a given plant availablein a nursery or garden center that are available in a grocerystore or even most farmer’s markets.There are even more varieties of a given plant available togrow from seed than can be found as plants in a nursery orgarden center.
    15. 15. Garden in a PotIf you don’t have the timeor the space for a biggarden, consider creating acontainer garden. Bychoosing and a variety oftextures and shades ofhealthy greens, mixing in afewvegetables, berries, herbsand some edibleflowers, you can have acontainer garden that isdelicious, nutritious andbeautiful.
    16. 16. Choose A ContainerAs large as possible.Bird safe finish, if the bird is going to have access tothe container. Plastics or unglazed terracotta.Powder coated steel frames, with coco fiber liningare becoming very popular and are an attractiveand safe choice.Avoid glazed terracotta, as many glazes containheavy metals and other toxic substances.
    17. 17. Soil SelectionOrganicMade specifically for containers (NOT garden soil)
    18. 18. Fertilizer selectionOrganicGranular, time releasedLiquid, fish, seaweed
    19. 19. The PlantsWhenever possible choose Organically grownseeds or plants.Gently remove the soil from the roots of nonorganic plants, and replant in organic soil, wait atleast 30 days before offering to your parrot.Avoid plants that have been treated withpesticides or chemical fertilizers.(Pesticides and chemical fertilizers do dissipateover time, somewhere between 90 days and 1year. So you don’t necessarily need to rule outconventionally grown plants)
    20. 20. Greens & VeggiesKale – leaves, stems, flowers and seed podsLowers risk of heart disease, stroke, andcataracts, anticancer compounds, immunesystem stimulant. Vitamins C and E, betacarotene, calcium, potassium, manganese, iron. Among highest sources of chlorophyll.
    21. 21. Mustard Greens – leaves, stems, flowers and seedpodsVitamin A,C,E,K and calcium, magnesium, folicacid, beta carotene, anti-inflammatory, good forheart health, reduces cholesterolCabbages (all varieties including Chinese)-leaves, stems, flowers and seed podsVitamin A, high in calcium, good for the digestivesystem.
    22. 22. Broccoli, Broccoli Rabb, Rapinni–leaves, stem, crowns, flowersAntioxidant, antibacterial. Vitamins A and C.The leaves are actually the most nutritiouspart of the plant.
    23. 23. Arugula – leaves, stems, flowers, seedpodsVitamins A and C,foliate, calcium, andmagnesium.Swiss Chard – leaves and stemsVitamins A and calcium.
    24. 24. Celery – stalks, leaves, flowers, seedsSupports kidneys, helpful in treatment ofgout, rheumatism, and arthritis, istranquilizing, aids in treatment of depression.Celery detoxifies the body, stimulates thenervous system and mineralizes the body.Vitamins A, C, and B-complex, Carotenes, folicacid, potassium, calcium, iron.
    25. 25. Peas – stems, leaves, flowers, podsVitamin A & C, phosphorus, thiamin, niacinSweet Potato - leaves and roots (tubers)Beta catotene, Vitamins A, C, B6, helps to stabilize blood sugarlevels and to lower insulin resistanceSweet potatoes are among the best sources of beta carotene, whichcan assist with the regeneration of feathers, but ironically somebirds have an allergic reaction, which can actually contribute tofeather plucking behavior.(NOT regular potato, which is toxic!)
    26. 26. Beets – leaves and rootCleansing to kidneys, regeneration of livercells, increase oxygen in the blood, supportformation of new blood cells, normalizebody’s pH. Vitamins A andC, niacin, biotin, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, betaine, betacynin, betacarotene, leucine, tyrosine.
    27. 27. Carrots – greens, roots, flowers & seedsBeta carotene vitamin A, B,C,D,Ecalcium, potassium, thiamine, folicacid, and magnesium. Cholesterol-lowering, rematerializing and sedativeproperties.Purple carrots (usually orange inside)have even more beta carotene than theirorange cousins, full of powerfulantioxidants that help prevent heartdisease by slowing blood clotting and aregood anti inflammatory agents. BlackCarrots contain antioxidant properties, aswell as inhibitors of LDL (the bad)cholesterol, anti-bacterial and fungicidalproperties.
    28. 28. Carrot tops are rich inprotein, potassium , high invitamin K, which is lacking in thecarrot itself, outstanding source ofchlorophyll, the green pigmentthat studies have. Chlorophyllcontains cleansing properties thatpurify the blood, lymphnodes, and adrenal glands, shownto combat the growth of tumors.They have antiseptic qualities, andare also diuretic and can helptreat kidney disease and edema.Oil made from seed can helpcontrol scalp itchiness andprovides essential nutrients forhair(feather?) growth.
    29. 29. Radishes – Greens, roots, flowers, seedpodsVitamin C, beneficial for symptoms ofcolds, flu, fever, cough, respiratoryproblems, and digestive disorders.Turnips – Greens and roots,Vitamin A, Beta-carotene, vitaminC, vitamin E, vitaminB6, folate, copper, calcium. Assist withtreatment of arthritis andatherosclerosis, lowers cholesterol.Parsnips – Greens and roots,Vitamin B, folic acid, potassium, lowerscholesterol
    30. 30. Herbs & WeedsBasil – leaves and flowersMosquito repellant.Antimicrobial, antibacterial, fungicidal. Soothesitchy skin. Liverdecongestant. Balancesblood sugar.
    31. 31. Chickweed -leaves, flowersand seedsChickweed contains high amounts of Vitamins A,C, Bcomplex, betacarotene, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, coumarins (soothes the vascular system),and genistein(cancer fighting compound)Chickweed is known for its anti-inflammatoryproperties and used to treat arthritis, is a fat & proteinmetabolizer, boosts the immune system, promotescardio vascular health, and relieves bronchitis. A teamade with the stems and leaves can be used as anastringent, to relieve itching, and promote wound
    32. 32. One of the nicest thingsabout chickweed is that itgrows in cold weather, so itwill be abundant in yourgarden when little else isgrowing, and the birds arecraving fresh picked greens.
    33. 33. Cilantro – leaves, stems, flowers andseedsRemoves heavy metals, lead andaluminum from the body.Antiviral, antibacterial.Seeds are also known as the spiceCorianderParsley – leaves and stemsIncreases resistance to infectionsand diseases. Anti-cancercompounds. Blood builder. VitaminsA and C, iron and chlorophyll.
    34. 34. Dandelions are exceptionally high in calcium, have more betacarotene than carrots, more iron than spinach, are very high inpotassium, contain abundant amounts of Vit. A, C, D, K, B-complex, as well asbiotin, inositol, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and 15% protein.The Latin name, Taraxacum officinale, literally means “disorderremedy”. Today, in India, dandelions are grown commercially fortheir medicinal value. Dandelions leaves and roots are one ofthe most effective detoxifying herbs, especially for supporting theliver. The flowers contain luteolin, an antioxidant. The leaves area good diuretic that does not deplete the body ofpotassium, helps relieve joint pain, reduces uric acid, reducescholesterol, benefit the treatment of high blood pressure andcongestive heart failure, flushes bacteria from the bladder, andassists in treatment of yeast infections. The roots reduceinflammation and help balance enzymes for better digestion. Thedandelion seeds contain an antibiotic that is a great treatment forlung infections.Dandelion tea soothes skin irritationDandelion – leaves, flowers, seeds, root
    35. 35. Fennel – leaves, stems, flowers, andseedsDigestive aid, cold and flu remedy.Peppermint – leaves, stems andflowersStimulates nerves. Oxygen toblood stream. Digestive aid.Vitamins A andC, magnesium, potassium, niacin,copper, iodine, iron.
    36. 36. The roots, leaves and seeds of the plantain plant contain powerful anti-toxins. The leaves and seeds reduce LDL cholesterol &triglycerides, supports the kidneys, sooth the mucous membrane of therespiratory tract, reduce inflammation, promote wound healing, speed upcell regeneration, and areantibacterial, antimicrobial, antihemorrhagic, astringent, antiseptic, anddecongestive. A tea made with the leaves can help treat and prevent cropinfections, and relieve sinus congestion. Juice from the leaves is usedexternally to promote healing of wound and smooth skin irritation (goodfor feather pluckers).Plantain – leaves, flowers & seedsAntimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antihemorrhagic, antitoxic.Promotes healing and cell regeneration. Soothes and softensskin, reducing feather plucking. Soothes respiratory tract.Helps prevent crop infections. Beta carotene, vitamins C andK, calcium. Plantain is very high in beta carotene, VitC, K, calcium and assorted minerals, and is a good source oflinoleic acid,Omega3.
    37. 37. Purslane – leaves, stems, flowers and seed podsPurslane is one of the richest sources of alpha-linolenicacid, Omega3. It also contains high amounts of Vitamin C, betacarotene, magnesium and potassium.Purslane supports heart and liver health, has been used as aremedy for arthritis & inflammation, lowers bold pressure,cholesterol and blood “stickiness”, helps support the respiratorysystem, and is good for diabetics because it helps regulate bloodsugar.(Use in moderation though, as purslane in high in oxalic acids.)
    38. 38. Stimulates circulatory system, strengtheningnerves and heart.Anti-cancer compounds. Antibacterial.Soothing to the lungs.Rosemary – leaves, stems andflowersRed Clover – leaves and flowersanti-inflammatory, diuretic and antispasmodicproperties and is also well known as a cleansingherb for skin complaints, including eczema andpsoriasis. Its ability to improve lymphfunctioning and reduce lymphatic swellingshelps to purify and detox the system.
    39. 39. FlowersCalendula - flowersSoothing and regenerative to the skin. Anti-inflammatory, astringent, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral. Healswounds, cuts, scrapes, rashes, beestings, burns, and bruises by stimulating whiteblood cells. Carotene, iodine, and manganese.
    40. 40. Chamomile –flowers, leaves, stemsSoothing to the digestivesystem. Rejuvenates skin.Decreases feather plucking.Relaxing for nervous birds.Decreases night thrashing.Marigolds – flowers, seedsRepels insects.Carotene, Vitamin A. (LemonGem and Tangerine Gemhave the bestflavor, although all varietiesare edible.)
    41. 41. Nasturtiums – leaves andflowersSupports respiratory systemPansies, Violas, Violets – leaves and flowersSoothes itchy skin. Supports and strengthenscapillary heath. Helps treat and prevent glaucoma.
    42. 42. Roses – leaves, flowers and hipsThe aroma of the rose is know torelieve depression and anxiety.Rose Hips arehigh in Vitamin Cand B complex.
    43. 43. Purple Cone Flower / EchinaceaLeaves, flowers, roots, seedsFamous for it’s immune boostingpower, the roots are the mostmedicinal part of the plant.Rose of Sharon – leaves,branches, flowers
    44. 44. Butterfly BushLeaves, flowers, branchesChicoryLeaves, stems, flowers
    45. 45. Some other SAFE flowers are;African Daisy, Baby’sBreath, BachelorButtons, Begonia, Carnations, Dahlia, Daylily, Gardenia, Honeysuckle, Impatiens, Lilac, PassionFlower, PetuniaSome TOXIC flowers are;Buttercup, CallaLily, Clematis, Daffodil, Foxglove,Heliotrope, Hyacinth, Hydrangea, Iris, Lantana, Larkspur, Lily-of-the-Valley, Lupine, MorningGlory, Peony, Primrose, SweetPeaNEVER give flowers from a Floristto your Parrot!!!!
    46. 46. Berries & FruitMany berries are a good (and yummy) source of alpha-linolenic acid, Omega 3, as well a VitaminsCommercially available berries are high on thepesticide list, so growing your own is the safest choice.Strawberries can easily be tucked into a mixed plantcontainer garden, or grown alone in a hanging basketor strawberry jar.Shrub type fruits, like blueberries, and dwarf varietyfruit trees, can be grown in containers too. (Some fruitsrequire more than one plant for proper pollination. Besure to research your variety.)
    47. 47. Neem TreeLeaves, Twigs& BarkAntibacterial, Antifungal, Anti-Inflammatory, Antiviral, Antioxidant, Anti-Cancer, boosts the immune system, supports liverhealth, vitamins A, C and EIn tropical regions, can grow to 40 ft., but can be grownas a house plant in more temperate areas.
    48. 48. All of the plants we’ve discussed so fargrow best outdoors in full sunlight, sohow to we get the plants and the parrotstogether?
    49. 49. Bring the plants to the parrots.
    50. 50. Bring the plants to the parrots.Bring the container garden into thehouse for brief foraging sessions.
    51. 51. Bring the plants to the parrots.Harvest some plants and add to food bowl, stainless foraging basket, use in your“Chop” mix, or as packaging for other food.
    52. 52. Bring the plants to the parrots.Weave whole greensthrough cage bars.
    53. 53. Bring the plants to the parrots.Use whole orlarge chunksof veggiesand hang onskewers.
    54. 54. Bring the plants to the parrots.Gather an assortment ofgreens, veggies, herbs and flowers toform a “bouquet”. Ziptie together andattach to cage.
    55. 55. Bring the plants to the parrots.Larger bouquets canbe made with tree andshrub branches, forthe more eagerchewers.
    56. 56. Bring the plants to the parrots.Add branches to existing playstands or build playstands out oftree or shrub branches.
    57. 57. Bring the plants to the parrots.
    58. 58. Bring the plants to the parrots.Use branches to make naturalperches. Customize perchesfor parrots with special needs.Drill holes in perches to addextra leaves.
    59. 59. Remember that parrots enjoystripping the bark from branches.Bring the plants to the parrots.
    60. 60. Some SAFE varieties of trees and shrubsAsh, Apple, Aspen, Bamboo, Beech, Birch, ButterflyBush, Cottonwood, Crabapple, Dogwood, Grapevine, Lilac, Magnolia, Mulberry, Pear, Poplar,Sassafras, SweetGum, Sycamore, Viburnum, WillowSome TOXIC Varieties of trees and shrubsApricot, Azalea, Black Locust, BoxElder, Cedar, Cherry, Hemlock, Holly, Hydrangea, Juniper, Laurel, MountainLaurel, Nectarine, Oak, Peach, Privet, Rhodode
    61. 61. Bring the parrots to the plants.If you’re lucky enough to have the money and the space to buy or build an aviary, the plants canbe kept inside the aviary and available when the birds come outside. And provide shelter andshade from weather.
    62. 62. Bring the parrots to the plants.Bring you parrot outside in a travel cage, or better yet, make your own Cageoller, which canbe easily move around the yard for a variety of plant chewing experiences.
    63. 63. Bring the parrots to the plants.Bring you parrot outside in a travel cage, or better yet, make your own Cageoller, which canbe easily move around the yard for a variety of plant chewing experiences.
    64. 64. Bring the parrots to the plants.Bring you parrot outside in a travel cage, or better yet, make your own Cageoller, which canbe easily move around the yard for a variety of plant chewing experiences.
    65. 65. In the LandscapeAs you make changes to the landscape in youryard, trees, shrubs,flower beds andwindow boxes,consider choosingparrot safe plants,and incorporate moreedible plants.You will be amazedat the abundance,variety and beauty of these plants.
    66. 66. HouseplantsSafety First! Please make sure that all plants inyour house are safe. If you find that you haveplants that are on the toxic list, or that you areunsure of, give them to a friend or neighborwithout inquisitive parrots in their home.Always use organic potting soil.Use parrot safe containers.Never use pesticides, or chemical fertilizers.Keep soil covered with plastic mesh or riverrock, if your bird has a tendency to dig in the soil.Mix some GSE into watering solution to inhibitthe growth of fungus in the soil.
    67. 67. Scarlet & DracaenaConure with Jade
    68. 68. Some common SAFE houseplants;ALOE, African Violet, Asparagus Fern, BostonFern, Bromeliads, Coleus, Norfolk Island Pine,Prayer Plant, Schefflera, Spider Plant, Staghornfern, Swedish Ivy, Wandering Jew.Some common TOXIC houseplants;Amaryllis, Dieffenbachia, Philodendron,Poinsettia
    69. 69. ALOE is a houseplant that every parrot ownershould have a least one of.Aloe contains powerful pain relievers, anti-inflammatory compounds, relievesitchiness, soothes the digestive tract, healsabscesses, cysts, killsE.Coli, fungus, mycobacterium, strep and staphinfections, salmonella, treats respiratoryinfections, yeast infections, and parasites.
    70. 70. A Note On Mixed ToxicityAs you start to research and offer more plants to yourparrots, please be aware of the issue of mixed toxicity.That is, some part of a plant is safe, even beneficial &nutritious, other parts are toxic.Some examples of this are tomatoes andpotatoes, members of the nightshade family, whosefoliage is deadly.Elderberries flowers and fruit are safe and helpstimulate the immune system, but the branches andleaves are poisonous.Honeysuckle branches, leaves and flowers are verysafe, the dark colored berries, however, are toxic.
    71. 71. ResourcesBooksHolistic Care For Birds, A Manual of Wellness an Healing, by DavidMcCluggage DVM, and Pamela HigdonA Guide to a Naturally Healthy Bird, by Alicia McWatters PhD“What Happened to My Peanuts?” a Holistic Approach to Parrot Nutrition byGundrun MaybaumToxic & Safe Plant list
    72. 72. ResourcesSites with Info on Aviaries for Seeds Plants
    73. 73. ResourcesSites and Groups to learn more about plants and their benefits to parrotshttp://www.landofvos.com on how to build a cageoller, In the files sections of Facebook Group TheParrot’s WorkshopI!/groups/206228222832350/207657642689408/Or at for more great ideasContact Laura at or