Calcium Rich Food for Birds

By Lauren Corona

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All birds need plenty of calcium in their diets, as it facilitates bone formation and normal nerve, brain and muscle function. However, laying females need an especially high amount to form their eggs, the shells of which are almost pure calcium carbonate. Pet birds easily can become deficient in this mineral, so it's important to feed them calcium rich foods.

Greens

Leafy green vegetables are a calcium-filled addition to your bird's diet. Vegetables such as kale, cabbage, mustard greens, broccoli, dandelion greens, bokchoy, parsley, collard greens and rapini are especially high in calcium. Although spinach, beet greens and chard are calcium rich, they're not the best choice to feed your bird. Their high oxalic acid levels may inhibit the amount of calcium that can be absorbed.

Beans

Beans are another good source of calcium to feed your bird. Kidney beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, black beans and soybeans are all suitable and readily available options. It's important that you only feed them to your bird when cooked, as raw beans are slightly toxic and can cause stomach upsets or even visceral gout in birds. Uncooked beans also contain enzyme inhibitors that could decrease the ability of your bird's body to utilize certain substances, thus causing nutritional deficiencies.

Fruits

Although fruit shouldn't make up the majority of your bird's diet -- as it's too high in sugar -- certain fruits are a good way to get him some extra calcium. Most birds think of fruit as a treat and are unlikely to pass up on the offer. Dried fruits, such as apricots, raisins and figs are especially high in calcium. Other calcium rich contenders include fresh strawberries and oranges.

Nuts and Seeds

Some nuts and seeds are just brimming with calcium. Try to feed your bird sesame seeds or tahini, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds as a calcium rich treat. Nuts and seeds are high in fat so, like fruit, they shouldn't make up the bulk of your bird's diet or he may become overweight. However, this doesn't mean he can't enjoy some nuts and seeds as part of a balanced diet.

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