Although we all try very hard to feed our birds the best possible foods, there are times when they may get into something which we didn't plan on them eating. We may even feed them something because we didn't KNOW it was dangerous. This article is dedicated to Elaine and Steve's bird, Zazu, in hopes that other pet cockatiel owners will learn what they wish they had known from the information it contains.

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

Avoid completely; consumption can lead to brain damage and death. Inhalation of ethanol should also be avoided as this can also cause intoxication and death.

AVOCADO

Avoid completely; consumption is known to have caused death within hours.

CAFFEINE

Includes caffeinated beverages, coffee grounds, and tea bags or iced tea crystals. See symptoms and treatment below under chocolate.

CHOCOLATE

Avoid completely; consumption of small quantities can cause rapid onset of hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhea, heartbeat irregularities, seizures, and death. The active ingredients causing problems are theophylline and caffeine; the higher the concentration in the chocolate, the more rapid the progression. Usually, the less sugar present in the chocolate, the higher the concentration of toxic active ingredients. If you suspect your bird has ingested chocolate, administer 1 cc of Pepto Bismol and rush your bird to an avian veterinarian.

FAT

Avoid feeding high fat foods; excess fat over time can cause fatty liver disease, obesity, diarrhea and oily feather texture. Excess fat in the diet can also interfere with the absorbtion of other nutrients, such as calcium.

RHUBARB LEAVES

Avoid completely; consumption will cause death.

SALT

Consumption can cause excess drinking and urinating, depression, neurologic hyperactivity, tremors, and death. When necropsied, birds with excessive consumption of salt have a great deal of fluid buildup in the brain and are hemorrhaging.

Remember, a bird eating one potato chip with salt is comparable to our eating 50 chips!