are tomatoes safe for birds

Daily I can have up to 100 wild birds patiently waiting for their sprouts to be sprinkled at their designated feeding area. These wild ones eagerly swoop down and within minutes the meager scattering of sprout remnants has been devoured. However, I’ve noticed these same birds leave the fruits on my annual tomato plants completely alone. Now since the wild birds leave tomatoes alone, perhaps with their ability to self medicate and self nourish (see ‘The Holistic Parrot’ in issues # 134 and # 135 of Parrots magazine) they naturally recognize that members of the nightshade family should best be left alone.

Are tomatoes safe for parrots to eat? There are several areas to consider regarding this. One concern I’ve read about is that tomatoes are too acidic for parrots. However, I wonder more about feeding parrots a food from the nightshade family. Let’s give you some of the highlights of what my research uncovered.

The nightshade, or potato, family of flowering plants contains approximately 2,500 species. Many of these plants are economically important. Some are common food items while others are used in making pharmaceutical drugs. Among the most well known are the tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), potato (Solanum tuberosum), eggplant (S. melongena), garden (or capsicum) pepper (Capsicum annuum and C. frutescens), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), deadly nightshade – the source of belladonna (Atropa belladonna), the poisonous jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) and poisonous nightshades (S. nigrum, and S. dulcamara). Many garden ornamentals are also in this family.

Plants in the nightshade family are known for containing a diverse range of alkaloids. The value these alkaloids have in making pharmaceutical drugs is also a key reason that they cause adverse reactions in the individuals who consume them.

Of particular interest are the glycoalkaloids and steroidal alkaloids. According to the “Handbook of Food Toxicology” (SS Deshpande) and an article in the “Journal of Neurological and Orthopedic Medical Surgery” (NF Childers, PhD and MS Margoles, MD), these compounds have been identified in adversely effecting the function of nerves and muscles, the digestive system and have been seen to compromise joint function. Many of these alkaloids can result in muscle twitching, trembling, paralyzed breathing, or convulsions. The nightshades have also been seen to cause the destruction of red blood cells in vitro (in laboratory apparatus).

Many members of the nightshade family contain the very active metabolite of vitamin D3 (1a25 dihydroxycholecalciferol).(4) As we learned in this column (‘The Holistic Parrot’ in Parrots magazine, issue # 159) when excess amounts of this vitamin are consumed the tissues absorb too much calcium. This results in calcinosis (abnormal deposits of calcium) in soft tissues, ligaments, and tendons, with mineralization in walls of major arteries and veins, and osteopetrosis (an increase in bone density) and related pathologies.

So the jury is in! And it seems none of us, especially our parrots, should be eating foods from the nightshade family – raw or cooked.

Over the years, since I first wrote this blog post in 2011, some people have commented that tomatoes contain high levels of the antioxidants lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. There are other foods, that are healthier for your parrots to eat that contain these three antioxidants. And if you’re interested in feeding antioxidant rich foods for your bird’s improved health, you may want to learn more about our sprouting blends: Best Bird Food Ever! If so, please read: ‘Why Our Sprouting Blends are the Best for Your Birds’.

For all the details about feeding tomatoes to your birds see the complete published version of ‘The Holistic Parrot’ column that appeared in the June 2011, # 161 issue of Parrots magazine.

Read an account of the report by an avian veterinarian who determined that tomatoes had caused stomach ulcers in a cockatoo.

Find out about the chemical components in tomatoes that can harm the digestive tract and other areas of the body?

Does cooking diminish the harmful effects of foods in the nightshade family, or is this just wishful thinking?

Was this blog helpful? Do you have any other questions about this topic? We welcome your comments.

Every day, I witness as many as one hundred wild birds patiently waiting for their sprouts to be scattered at their allotted feeding spot. These untamed ones descend with great anticipation, and in a matter of minutes, the scant remnants of sprouts are completely consumed. But I’ve noticed that these same birds completely ignore the fruits on my annual tomato plants. Now since the wild birds leave tomatoes alone, perhaps with their ability to self medicate and self nourish (see ‘The Holistic Parrot’ in issues # 134 and # 135 of Parrots magazine) they naturally recognize that members of the nightshade family should best be left alone.

There are a few things to think about when deciding whether or not tomatoes are safe for parrots to eat. I’ve read that parrots shouldn’t eat tomatoes because they are too acidic. But I’m more unsure about giving parrots anything in the nightshade family. Let me share with you some of the most important findings from my investigation.

For all the details about feeding tomatoes to your birds see the complete published version of ‘The Holistic Parrot’ column that appeared in the June 2011, # 161 issue of Parrots magazine.

There are about 2,500 species of flowering plants in the nightshade, or potato, family. Many of these plants are economically important. Some are staple foods, while others are ingredients in prescription medications. The most well-known are the potato (Solanum tuberosum), eggplant (S. aubergine), and tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum). melongena), garden (or capsicum) pepper (Capsicum annuum and C. poisonous jimsonweed (Datura stramonium), deadly nightshades (Spatha belladonna), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), dead nightshades (S nigrum, and S. dulcamara). Many garden ornamentals are also in this family.

Since I originally published this blog post in 2011, some people have noted that tomatoes are a good source of the antioxidants lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. These three antioxidants are also present in other foods that are better for your parrots to eat. Additionally, you might be interested in learning more about our sprouting blends—the Best Bird Food Ever—by reading “Why Our Sprouting Blends are the Best for Your Birds.” If you’re interested in providing antioxidant-rich foods for your bird’s improved health.

Nemetz stated, “It’s a one in a million chance” that your birds will have serious issues if they are fed tomatoes. However, there are better foods out there, so I’d prefer not to take the chance. ”.

In light of the recent salmonella outbreak on tomatoes, the editors at BeChewy decided to examine this specific fruit and its effects on your birds.

“There are more nutrient-dense foods available, like leafy greens, which birds can eat and chew, stimulating their minds,” the speaker stated.

Generally speaking, Jill Patt, DVM, of Alta Mesa Animal Hospital in Arizona, advises against giving tomatoes to birds.

He once encountered a cockatoo that was extremely sensitive to the acid in tomatoes and would vomit blood a few days after consuming one. After closely examining the bird’s diet, it was determined that the tomato was the root cause of its stomach ulcers. After the tomato was taken out, the bird stopped getting sick.

FAQ

Are tomatoes safe for wild birds?

“Tomatoes are an acidic fruit,” said Larry Nemetz, DVM, of the Bird Clinic in Orange County, California. He does not recommend, at any time, feeding birds raw tomatoes (including cherry tomatoes) because of their acidity.

Are tomato plants toxic to birds?

Tomato Leaves: Tomatoes, like potatoes and other nightshades, have a tasty fruit that is fine when used as a treat for your bird. The stems vines, and leaves, however, are highly toxic to your pet.

What to do if birds eat your tomatoes?

If birds are a problem, cover your plants with bird netting or harvest the fruit in the pink stage and ripen them inside. Bird netting also works well to protect fruit crops, such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and figs, from bird damage and is available from nurseries or feed stores.

Do red birds eat tomatoes?

The reader’s problem, cardinals pecking tomatoes, is something often seen in a dry period or season.