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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-26-2009, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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Lactose-Free Products?

Now, I know that any dairy product isn't safe for birds, other than small amounts of plain yogurt, but are lactose-free products safe?

I recently discovered most of my health problems, including sinus problems and knee pain, are because I'm lactose-intolerant Sounds crazy, but true! So now I drink almond-milk, some soy-milk, and have dairy-free everything. Obviously the dairy-free ice cream is a no-no (much to Goober's dismay ) but how about the almond and soy milk?

Tofu is bird-safe, and that's soy based, so I'm assuming unsweetened, unflavored soy milk is safe, it's the almond milk I'm not sure about. Almonds are safe so... can they have some? They have tasted it before I could stop them, so I want to make sure they're ok to have some before I drink it around them again



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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-26-2009, 08:21 PM


 
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I am not convinced about lactose and birds. Small amounts of cheese seem to be ok and I had a cockatiel that loved cheese. Most Lorikeet mixes contain either Skim or Full Cream Milk and this doesn't cause any problems. And for years in England budgie breeders have given their breeding pairs with young bread soaked in full milk served in finger drawers which has also caused no problems and helped produce good large healthy offspring. I also had an Alexandrine who absolutely loved ice cream.

I tend to steer clear of Soy Products. Soy meal must be heat treated to kill the hormone as this can be toxic to birds. Soy is also too high in protein for birds at around 50%, birds can only tolerate about 20% protein. Too high a protein that is not used will go to fat. Also you have to look at the fact that in America soy is one of the main grain crops that has been genetically modified and I believe this is a very dangerous practice. They are talking about allowing genetically modified grains to be grown in Australia and I am not happy about this at all.

I would think that the occassional sip of Almond Milk would be safe for birds but like anything else given in extreme moderation. Like the almond nut it should be given sparingly. Mine love almonds in the shell but only get one every now and then. Some of my birds like the occassional sip of an alcoholic beverage like beer, white wine or whiskey and coke. They are never allowed more than one or two sips and not on a regular basis but on special occassions, like getting their beaks into it behind my back.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-26-2009, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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That's about what I figured - safe in moderation, like everything else. Thanks for the clarification! I didn't know the milk was safe - I've always been told they're lactose intolerant, but, as with so many things involving parrots, I'm sure it's something that is still being researched and not set into stone. Thanks!



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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-26-2009, 09:40 PM


 
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Jenny very little research has actually been done on birds and their dietry needs. About 12 years ago I was involved with suppling Lorikeets (they needed to be hand raised) to a University in Melbourne where a girl was doing her thesis on the protein levels that lories could cope with. They needed birds that were easy to handle as they had to be weighed on a daily basis. There were 6 birds needed all on different diets. The findings where that like nearly all birds Lorikeets could only handle 20% protein any extra went to fat. As a result of that 10 years ago I started developing my own lorikeet mix. The majority at the time were based on High Protein Rice Cereal. I found that this cereal was too high in protein and also contained too much iron for lorikeets. Their system cannot handle too much iron. I based my mix then on fruit cereals that are basically Rice Cereal with a combination of various cereals and dehydrated ground fruit like Banana, Mango, Apple and Pear. Banana was one of the important ones as it is high in Potassium, Phosphorous and Magnesium which is lacking in a birds normal diet. It is very difficult to get them to eat a banana as it is not sweet when they lick it. By using the lower protein rice cereals when you added everything else it brought the protein level down to about 19% which is fine for the birds. I show my birds and for the first few years of using my mix I was unbeaten in one of the biggest shows in Sydney with the Lorikeets, one year I had 4 birds in the class and got all 4 top places, with another 3 or 4 birds placing after me. It wasn't until about 2 years after others were using my mix that I got some competition and others were getting up in the places as well as me.

My mix was very loosely based on the diet developed by one of the worlds experts on Australian Lorikeets and he actually developed the first artificial formula for them over 30 years ago. But he used High Protein as well. I spent about 12 months researching and testing before I really started making it and settling on a formula. One of the biggest differences to my mix and others on the market is that I use Brewers Yeast in my formula (only one other uses it and she was head of Wildlife Nutrition at Bronx Zoo for 10 years) (I think she was the same girl who did the thesis on the diet at the University). She also uses Milk Powder in her Lorikeet food as do I and the mix that mine was very loosely based on. It is still one of the best sources of protein in the world. It is usable and easily digestible. You will always get the percentage that cannot use it like you.

I use brewers yeast as it is the closest we have to natural yeast in the wild of which the highest sourse is actually flower pollen. It contains the whole of the Vitamin B Complex Group which controls the Central Nervous System, Immune System and the Reproductive System. Plus it is also very high in other vitamins and minerals.

In the wild many birds eat fruit that is over ripe and actually starting to ferment, these fruits also contain a high amount of yeast (the stuff that produces alcohol). One species of bird that is like this is the Alexandrine. I have tried them with fruit that we consider ripe and they have been indiferent to it, but let it really ripen and they just demolish it.

I also use my Lorikeet Mix as a dry powder with my seed eating birds particularly when they have young in the nest. They eat stacks of it and literally cram the babies full of it. Consequently I tend often to get bigger stronger babies right from the start. I have also found that many seed eating birds in the wild eat pollen and nectar especially during their breeding cycle. These are birds people don't consider as nectar or pollen feeding birds. My mother used to complain that every year her Grevillia's would come into beautiful flower and within a couple of days the King Parrots would strike and literally demolish the flowers on her plants.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-27-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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Very interesting, Kate . I think the jury is still out on the lactose intolerant speculation too. My guys love cereals, (sugar free of course) but they really prefer them softened with milk, .They're always stealing from my brekky dish, they even try to lick the milk left in the bottom of the dish. My halfmoon LOVES a nice little wedge of cheddar cheese, his eyes flash and he's in 7th heaven. I also give them almond slices, in moderation, just like everything else. I have never seen any ill effects of them having dairy products, in fact, my vet says they're very healthy, in great feather, and their blood work is great ( they just went for their checkups last Friday), so I believe their dietary needs are being met. I also use brewers yeast powder, wheat grass powder, and crushed oyster shells, I alternate them, sprinkling them on top of their daily veggie mash. I really don't believe giving them milk is going to harm them, unless it's a problem with your particular bird. We all know milk is a great source of calcium, let them have a little treat
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