• Welcome to Avian Avenue! To view our forum with less advertisments please register with us.
    Memberships are free and it will just take a moment. Click here

Are these veggies actually bad for parrots? Zupreem better than TOPS?

Plumosi

Moving in
Joined
9/27/21
Messages
5
Real Name
Lindsey
This is going to be a long one, sorry. So Sunday was a bad day. My Amazon parrot, Joey, had a blood feather in the morning, my sports team lost, and the IRS sent me a letter telling me I owe them MORE money. Serenity now!!

Fortunately, Joey's blood feather clotted by itself, and although it was scary, it wasn't serious. Still, I took him to the vet today as a precaution (they aren't open on Sundays). I also was fairly sure he had a respiratory infection since I heard him sneezing multiple times on Saturday night.

To be completely honest, Joey didn't use to have the best diet (mostly seed and fruit-based). I kick myself constantly over this, but I can't change the past. All I can do is my best for him going forward. About a year and a half ago, I changed his diet completely after reading up about how a pet parrot's diet needs to be different than a wild parrot's. I ended up opting to give him a vegetable/grain/legume chop in the morning and pellets in the evening. For the chop, I used the BirdTricks seasonal cookbook which claims to be veterinarian approved.

As a side note, I know a lot of people don't hold BirdTricks in high regard, but as far as I can tell, it's only related to their selling training materials. I haven't read anything bad about their feeding system.

For the pellet, I emailed the people at BirdTricks for a suggestion. I should mention, that I do not live in the US. My options on what pellets to feed and the avian vets available to me are limited. Anyway, I was recommended TOPS. After switching Joey over to this diet I felt like I was making good choices for him. I also saw visual evidence that this was the case. Once he started molting, it was obvious that the new feathers were so much brighter than the old ones. He also seemed to be more energetic and would eat more.

So today Joey had his vet visit. She confirmed that the blood feather was not serious and that he did indeed have a respiratory infection for which he will be given antibiotics. The vet asked me what Joey was fed, and I told her that I gave him a vegetable chop in the morning and TOPS pellets in the evening. Here's where things get interesting:

She told me that parrots should not be fed the following: spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, chard, avocados, and citrus fruits. The last two, I never fed, but regarding the first four, I was really stunned. She mentioned that they can prevent calcium absorption. Of course, when I got home, I googled it and did find that spinach can in fact do this. However, I couldn't find anything negative about the other three veggies.

She also told me that they do NOT recommend TOPS pellets. Instead, she suggested Kaytee or Zupreem. Frankly, I was very surprised by this response as well. I'd always read that both those brands were high in sugars and were overall less nutritious. The ingredient list on the TOPS pellets just looks better in my opinion. I was probably going to have to switch to a new pellet brand anyway because TOPS isn't available for the moment in my area. The brand I was considering is Mazuri. Again, they said they don't recommend it, that it was too high in fat contents. But ... don't they feed these pellets at Zoos in the U.S.??? So much conflicting information.

My parents feel that they recommended Zupreem because it's the brand that they sell. I felt it might be the case (and it worked because I bought some), but darn, I would really hate for that to be true. If I can't trust the veterinarian then who can I trust? No matter how much material I read off the internet, I did not go to veterinary school. I will never know more than they do. And the thing is, some of the things she observed in Joey made me wonder if his diet still isn't good enough. As she examined him, she noted that he had a lot of down feathers. According to her, it's because his current diet doesn't afford the necessary nutrition to produce higher quality feathers. Even before the vet visit, I had wondered about the down feathers and if the amount he had was normal. So Zupreem is going to provide the necessary nutrition and his feathers will be even better? Those things look like fruity pebbles! I wanna eat them!

I'm really trying to do my best for my feathered friend, but with so much conflicting information I just feel like I keep coming up short.

Has anyone heard anything negative about feeding spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, or chard? Has your vet ever given a negative opinion about TOPS or Mazuri?

I feel so overwhelmed right now. Thanks for allowing me to vent.
 

Mizzely

Lil Monsters Bird Toys
Super Moderator
Vendor
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Avenue Concierge
TAILGATING
Cutest Bird Ever!!!
Banner Hoarder
Joined
8/9/11
Messages
40,141
Location
Northern Mitten Michigan
Real Name
Shawna [she/her]
TOPS is not vitamin fortified which is why many vets do not recommend them. Zupreem and Kaytee actually have a lot of research behind them. I can't speak to Kaytee, but Zupreem is only 3% sugar... certainly not loaded and if you eat some you'll see it's about as sweet as cardboard. It's readily eaten by many birds and is cheaper and easier to find for many people, so it's an easy sell. Zupreem is what I feed. I will never feed TOPS personally. I need a pellet that has D3 added, and TOPS has a very low amount.

There are lots of vitamin fortified pellets. If I had my way, my bird would be eating Harrison's... But he won't touch it. Hagen Tropican and Roudybush are two others that are good. Mazuri is just fine also :)

Bodies largely don't care about ingredients. They care about nutrients. It doesn't really have a preference for how it gets those most of the time.

As for the dark leafy greens, all of them contain some amount of oxalic acid, which restricts calcium absorption. You can get around this by lightly steaming greens before offering them.

As for citrus, it's okay in small amounts, but increases iron absorption, which can lead to iron storage disease in some species.
 

Zara

♥❀Livin´ in Lovebird Land❀☼
Super Moderator
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Avenue Concierge
TAILGATING
Cutest Bird Ever!!!
Joined
1/8/18
Messages
31,541
Location
Reino de España
She told me that parrots should not be fed the following: spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, chard, avocados, and citrus fruits. The last two, I never fed, but regarding the first four, I was really stunned. She mentioned that they can prevent calcium absorption.
Avocados are toxic.
Chard and spinach should be fed in moderation, as your vet said, they impede calcium absorbtion when feed in large amounts.
With chop, variety is key :)

I feed broccoli with other veggies. I have given my birds chard in the past, small amounts im the chop. My birds weren´t fans of cauliflower, I cooked it before serving cold.
 

Plumosi

Moving in
Joined
9/27/21
Messages
5
Real Name
Lindsey
TOPS is not vitamin fortified which is why many vets do not recommend them.
Thanks for replying. What you say about vitamin fortification makes sense. I have heard good things about Harrison's but unfortunately, it's not available in my area. I'll look for the other brands you mention if it doesn't work out with Zupreem. So far he hasn't seemed thrilled, but it's only the first day.
 

Plumosi

Moving in
Joined
9/27/21
Messages
5
Real Name
Lindsey
Avocados are toxic.
Chard and spinach should be fed in moderation, as your vet said, they impede calcium absorbtion when feed in large amounts.
With chop, variety is key :)

I feed broccoli with other veggies. I have given my birds chard in the past, small amounts im the chop. My birds weren´t fans of cauliflower, I cooked it before serving cold.
Yes, I would never feed avocado or eggplant.

The chop I make has a lot of vegetable diversity and the spinach, chard, and broccoli would only be a small percent of the whole, so I think I might be okay there. What I will do going forward is make sure I only use one option in the chop. Thanks for the helpful response.
 
Top