There was mention in the last issue of Eclectus Forum that apple seeds contain cyanide. This information was questioned by one individual who feeds apple seeds to his Eclectus, so I traced the information to a list of foods containing cyanide by Gillian Willis.She explains: ” Sorry if I have confused you…. The body can detoxify small amounts of cyanide without any problems. It is only when the detoxifying enzymes are overwhelmed that cyanide toxicity results .”
I have read in many bird care books that apple seeds can cause toxicity, but there is certainly room for disagreement with regard to diet in Eclectus.
I have chosen to error on the side of safety by not giving my Eclectus apple seeds, or other foods that may cause cyanide or cause other types of toxicity.
Thanks Gillian for the explanation.
There has also been some debate lately about the safety of feeding onions to our birds. Gillian has written that onions contain n-propyl disulfide and that ingestion of LARGE amounts of raw or cooked onions in some animal species can cause toxicity from this chemical which denatures hemoglobin leading to destruction of red blood cells. This causes anemia, weakness, jaundice, bloody urine and eventually death 1- 6 days after the ingestion. Cattle appear to be more susceptible than other species, but dogs, horses and rabbits are also susceptible. I am not aware of reports of toxicity in the avian species.
Feeding a bird SMALL amounts of onion either raw or cooked is unlikely to cause toxicity.